5 Tips For Being A Great Dinner Guest While Following A Specific Diet
Many kids growing up in the 80’s and 90’s knew these four food groups – pizza, soda, Dunkaroos and everything else. As we all got older and wiser (but hopefully not too wise for our own good), many of us began to recognize the impact that food could have on our overall state of health.
Once you’ve discovered a way of eating that works for you, it’s tough to compromise by eating lower quality foods. Sometimes however, you’re faced with a situation where you aren’t left with much choice.
When your friends invite you over for dinner, you’d love to say yes but your mind immediately begins to send shockwaves of panic throughout your body as it envisions the potential menu. So you say no. But you can’t say no every single time, nor do you really want to. So you eventually say yes. The next question is, how do you get through the meal?
While you know that the menu likely won’t consist of organic spinach, steamed kale, rainbow chard, sautéed Kabocha squash and 100% grass-fed bison, you don’t want to offend close friends by leaving your plate untouched. Anyone who cares about their eating habits and overall health has been in this position at a point.
So how can you go about accepting dinner invites without offending anyone or anything (i.e. your gut)? Thankfully, Aviva Romm M.D. has been in this position herself, and has come up with a few tips that leave everyone happy.
1) Give Advanced Notice
Nobody wants to be “that person” who has to be planned around as the difficult one, but you should consider giving polite, advanced notice concerning your dietary restrictions and needs. It’s nice (not to mention festive!) to share a meal together, which is why you want to explicitly outline beforehand any foods or ingredients that cause you trouble, as well as those that are okay. By doing so, you’re being considerate to everyone, including yourself.
2) Bring a Healthy Dish or Two
Sharing works both ways, meaning that you can ask the host if it’s alright for you to bring your own prepared dish(es). Be sure to ask what dishes are going to be served and fit your food(s) in with the theme of the meal as best you can. You’ll still be honoring your hosts while helping them make the feast memorable. Besides, having your food served at any function is an excellent conversation starter.
Eat something before you visit the gathering. If you’re half-full on foods that suit you, you’re less likely to overeat and cause yourself, as well as the hosts, trouble during or after the meal. Nibble before you quibble.
4) Bring Digestive Enzymes
So, you’ve decided to not raise a fuss about your dietary choices? Kudos to you, but don’t do so unarmed. It’s always a wise choice to carry digestive enzymes that will help you survive a potentially unexpected food making its way into your belly. Consider them a preventive first aid kit for your stomach.
5) Be Unapologetic but Kind
Remember that your health issues are your problem, but they’re not your fault. Focus on that thought and feel shameless in expressing to others who offer you tempting foods to sample, “I’d love to try that but my health won’t allow for it.”
Stay true to yourself and you’re guaranteed to get respect from everyone present by being so honest and brave. It might even get people to reconsider what they’re eating. If you do get criticized or poked fun at for your dietary restrictions, just remember that it’s simply a reflection of someone else’s inadequacies, and that it has nothing to do with you, personally.
There’s no need to fire back or even defend yourself, as being healthy and eating healthily is above any reproach. Choosing what and when to eat will help you achieve the best version of yourself. So go be with people and don’t stress over the details too much. There’s always a way to make it work, if you so desire.