Eating Healthy Under Pressure

Comfort is often found in the food we grew up with as a child. I have fond memories of camping in the mountains with hot dogs and s’mores over the fire, pizza at parties with soft drinks, and the decadent desserts we enjoyed as a family. Unfortunately, these foods are what contributed to me getting sick.

After making what many people viewed as a drastic change in my eating, I started bringing my own food to parties and family gatherings. Raw pizza with plenty of green salad and fruit graced my plate as I noticed weird looks from others at the table. Occasionally someone got up the nerve to ask what I was eating, making looks and comments of disgust after finding out. This hurt my feelings as I took their words to heart and I began withdrawing from these events to avoid feeling uncomfortable.

Not long afterward, however, I realized this was only hurting me so I decided not to allow their comments or actions determine what I ate and how I felt. As I took care of myself, I became more confident and healthy and others took notice.

Friends and family asked me different questions with genuine interest. These were perfect opportunities for me to help educate them about the reasons I decided to eat more raw foods and the many benefits I received because of it. Sometimes they asked if they could taste my food followed by a request for the recipes. I was elated and appreciated their authenticity.

Many people struggle in social situations because they have different nutritional needs due to food allergies and ill health. If this is you, here are some great tips to help you navigate the occasion with ease.

TIPS FOR THE GUEST:

  1. Eat before you go so you are full and can enjoy socializing without worrying about the food.
  2. Position yourself in a different part of the room away from the food as you talk.
  3. Bring something to share with everyone that your family or friends love. Be ready to share the recipe.
  4. Choose larger amounts of the foods you can have like the salads, fruit, vegetables, etc. and skip what you’ll regret later.
  5. Go early to help the host prepare the food and politely ask if you can leave the croutons on the side of the salad instead of putting them in, for example.
  6. If the host takes extra care to make something special for you, be sure to thank them and show your appreciation for their extra attention to detail.
  7. Put your thick skin on and don’t worry about what other people say about your food. Realize that many people aren’t trying to be insensitive, they genuinely want to understand your situation. Educate them about it and be open, honest and kind in your replies.
  8. If you are the parent of a child with special food needs, bring something for them to eat and/or share to ease the burden of the host.
  9. Teach your child to be polite and not make a big deal about what they can’t eat or don’t like. They can decline what is being offered and thank the host for their hospitality.
  10. Keep your conversation about a variety of different topics other than just food. Be interesting and genuinely interested in others.

TIPS FOR THE HOST:

If you are the host of the event, you may want to prepare ahead with the following suggestions.

  1. On the invitations…(read the rest of the story)

Originally published on Utah Valley Health and Wellness

Written by:Wendy Thueson

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