The Breakfast Bar — What to Order

Breakfast buffets have become standard fare in most hotels. At some you may be able to order a cooked-to-order omelet, while at others the choice is limited to juice, rolls, cereal, and coffee. Here’s how to make the most of the breakfast bar without getting the excess calories and fat:

Go easy on the juice. Use a small glass for fruit juice, which is higher in calories and naturally-occurring sugar than whole fruit. Vegetable juices like tomato are lower in calories, but high in salt.

Look for a high-fiber breakfast cereal. If the choices are relatively slim, a low-sugar cereal with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving with skim or one percent milk and a piece of fresh fruit like a banana make a healthy, satisfying breakfast. Regular “Toasted Oats” (not the sugar-added varieties) is a good option and available at most breakfast buffets. Better yet, go for a hot cereal like oatmeal.

Maximize your options. If the restaurant has an omelet station, ask that it be loaded up with veggies like mushrooms, onions, and spinach and go easy on, or skip, the cheese and meat. You’ll start your day with a serving or two of vegetables (high in fiber and nutrients), plus protein from the eggs. Many people think egg whites are better, but egg yolks contain nutrients you miss out on when you limit yourself to egg whites. Another option when ordering an omelet is to request one full egg, and egg whites for the rest.

Skip the breads and bagels. You’ll find few whole grains at breakfast bars, so pass on the bagels, white toast, croissants, doughnuts, and other sweet breads altogether. They’re high in calories, low in fiber, and may set you up for a blood sugar crash later in the morning.

Stock up for later. Slip portable fruit like a banana, an apple, and a box of high-fiber cereal into your bag or briefcase to fill out your healthy snacking stash for later if you have no other food on hand.

Just say no to (or limit) … bacon and sausage. Sure it may smell delicious, but it’s all too easy to go overboard on these fat-laden, salty meats. Skip them altogether, or allow yourself one piece and savor it.

Look for ways to “veg out and fruit up.It’s easier to find fruit than vegetables at breakfast, but a bowl of seasonal fresh fruit like melon or strawberries will provide plenty of fiber and vitamins to start off your morning.