Break out your stretchy pants; it's National Buffet Day!

Today is National Buffet Day.

I donít know about you, but having a day dedicated to eating as much as you can in one sitting, the days after most of us resolved to lose weight, is wrong. (Ironically, January is also National Diet Month.)

I do plan to celebrate today. Itís my kidsí last day of winter break, so I am taking a longer lunch hour so we can visit the Iowa City Public Library and have lunch at the Bread Garden Market. Rotisserie chicken and a cup of soup seems like the best way to celebrate the day, and stick to my ĎEat healthierí resolution.

Here are some healthy ways to approach buffet eating today and all year long:

Do your research: Before you even think about grabbing a plate, take a walk around the table. Check out all the offerings so you can plan accordingly.

Pick up a smaller plate: Instead of looking for the biggest plate at the event, choose a salad or a dessert plate. Studies have shown that smaller plates lead to weight loss.

Think appetizers: You can have a little bit of everything if you stick to the little bit part. One bite of several desserts wonít derail your diet, as long as itís only one bite.

This is not a competition: There's no need to pile your plate sky high from the get-go. Start off with something lighter at the beginning, like soup or salad, and move to the appropriate course from there. But don't be confused! Healthy portion control is always important.

Break for it: A lengthy break in the middle of your meal will give your body a little room to digest. When half the food on your plate is gone, put down your fork, breathe deep, and take stock of how you're feeling. During this allotted break time, take note of what how much you've eaten, your hunger level, and your emotional state.

Remember to hydrate: Forgo soda for water instead. Youíll feel less full and sleepy at your desk, which we all need after holiday vacations.

The year is full of food holidays. Iím going to try my best to celebrate most of them throughout 2013 (I missed Bloody Mary Day yesterday, but since Iím not a fan of tomato juice or celery, Iím willing to bet I wouldnít like it), check out a foodie who spent 2011 honoring each food holiday with photos, recipes and fun food facts:

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