Social Eating

With Easter and Passover coming up, a lot of us are trying to figure out how to enjoy large family meals and stay close to our diets.  My immediate family has become used to my odd habits.  Many times I get asked if I can eat something as opposed to “here take this, it’s great”.  When it is a larger gathering, there are usually several healthy options and it is up to me to keep the deserts and other things off of the plate.  Everyone is there to enjoy the time together and catch up on everyone’s lives.  Eating is secondary.  Every family has its traditions and by all means you should take part.  A few bites of Grandma’s famous _____, is OK.  Do not feel guilty the rest of the day.  The four glasses of wine at a Passover Seder meal…well enjoy.  The important things are to celebrate the occasion and the family and friends that are gathered.  That being said, here are some of my tricks.  Please share your own.

  • Take a dish of something that is on your diet with you.  Not only can you enjoy it but there are likely other people there that will appreciate having a healthy option.
  • Workout before you go.  Today is actually National Walking Day.  Do not depend on working out after the meal.  You will be tired and it may be late.  That is a dangerous combination that kills many plans to work out.
  • Drink a couple glasses of water before you go or when you get there.  I have heard that you should eat before going.  However, I always feel like I am eating an extra meal.  Like grocery shopping, it is not smart to show up starving.

  • Be prepared to explain to relatives/friends that you have begun eating a certain way and that you feel great.  They may be interested in what you are doing and ask about it.  Of course, they may be happy that there is one more piece of cake for them!  Whatever the case, social and family gatherings are NOT the place to look for converts.  Only preach to those who want the sermon.
  • For more specialized diets that include allergies and food sensitivities:  If you feel that the meal will not have anything that you can enjoy or are worried about what ingredients may be in some of the dishes, it may be a good idea to call the host and explain your situation.  “I am really looking forward to coming and seeing everyone.  Thank you so much for hosting.  I am concerned that there may not be any gluten free/dairy free/vegan foods there.  Is there something that I can bring or do you think that there will be dishes that I can eat.”  Something like that.  They are friends and family, don’t be afraid to let them in on your concerns.  It is far better than making up an excuse to skip out.

If you are still looking for more ideas you can search ‘diet and social settings’ or maybe someone will reply with some tricks that they use.  Thanks for stopping by and remember to have fun!

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6 thoughts on “Social Eating

  1. Brilliant post, I was reading in Men’s Health magazine that being social helps your heart aswell. There was a study a while ago, I think I read about it in an economics-related book, that people in one City had lower heart disease than those anywhere else, something to do with them all stopping and chatting with each other when they leave their homes.

    Although I’m a man, I enjoy your posts. Keep up the great writing 🙂

    • Thanks! Great info too. Being social and making connections with people is an important part of being a ‘heathy’ person. Wether it is an office lunch or hanging out with friends, we have to figure out how to balance our health regime and living a full life.

  2. I can understand the point of your family asking you if it’s ok for you to eat this or that. My son is now asking me “Is that on your diet?”. I really don’t like that word. I explain that I am trying to eat healthy and no that those donuts are not on my diet and are not healthy. I am usually a bit more foregiving when it comes to cheating but I am in a contest to lose weight for the next few weeks and I don’t want to blow it now.

  3. I’m gluten-free, and I used to get a lot of guff from family for not eating bread, cake, etc. at parties. I felt bad saying no at first, but then I realized that I shouldn’t feel guilty about it because it’s my body, and they shouldn’t force me to eat certain things when there are so many other choices I could have. They are more accepting now, but they still think I’m not having a good time if I can’t eat all the foods and desserts.

    I love how you noted that eating should be secondary, though; I will definitely mention something like that next time they question if I’m having a good time because of what I’m eating.

    • Hopefully they will start to really get it. It seems like we have been conditioned to think of fat and sugary foods as a good time. Gluten is tough. Most diabetics I know are able to eat more sugar than anyone I know who is gluten free can consume gluten.

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