Slow-Carb Diet Tips: Managing Dinner Out With Friends

Dinner out with friendsIt’s inevitable.

You finally get a hold of your habits, you’re making good strides, you’ve finally been able to stick to the plan for the first time in a long time. And then someone invites you over for dinner, and it’s not on your “free” day. What do you do?

Do you freak out? Do you decide to take a break from the plan? Do you tell them you can’t make it?

We all have been in situations that make us feel awkward because of our decision to live a healthier, fitter lifestyle. Not too long ago, I had one in my own family!

We usually have family dinners on Sundays. I had just started following 4HB, and dinner that night was going to include a delicious potatoey-cheezy-cornflakey casserole. I absolutely adore that stuff! But it doesn’t fit in my new lifestyle on most days. We were going to be 10 adults, and the recipe my mom asked me to make serves 12. She asked for a recipe and a half. I had to decide how I would handle it. I’ll tell you what I did in a second.

Getting out of sticky situations

Here are a few other situations that tend to arise and my suggestions on how to handle them.

1. Eating Out With Coworkers
Most of us don’t realize it, but there’s a growing shift in attention towards gluten-free needs. Most restaurants, especially chains, will have a gluten-free menu that you can ask for. There should be many options there that you’ll be able to eat and still stay on plan.

In the event there’s not, though, take some time before you go to check out their menu online. I’ve found for myself if I already decide what I’m going to eat before I get there, it’s a lot easier not to yield to temptation once I’m there. It’s even better if I tell someone who’s going that knows about my health efforts what I want to eat so there’s some accountability.

2. Covered Dish Suppers
It’s kind of obvious: take your own dish! You won’t need to take a protein – they’ll usually be there already. You could steam some broccoli or maybe broil some asparagus with a good garlic oil. If you think you might have a hard time finding a legume, make a 5 bean bean salad. Taking your own dishes ensures you’ll have something to eat!

3. Invited to a Friend’s House
When someone invites you for dinner, where you have no control over the menu, offer to bring a side! That way at least you’re guaranteed of something healthy. On the random chance that they ask you what you’d like, suggest something slow-carb friendly. As a worst case scenario, if you think you won’t be able to eat anything, say you can’t make it but invite them over on the weekend when you can control the menu.

4. Birthday Parties
Sometimes you just have to say “no thanks.” If you’re with people who really care about you, explaining that you don’t want a piece of cake will be enough. The good news about most Americans being overweight is that they’re all generally familiar with dieting so they won’t be surprised. For a fun exercise, count how many people say, “I really shouldn’t be eating this!” And then they go back for seconds.

You get the idea.

Some of these examples are probably a bit exaggerated, but the point of this thought exercise was to convince all of us that if we really want to find good options, we can. Sometimes it might be more difficult than others, but I really believe there’s always a choice.

Then again there may be a time or two that you only have two choices: cheat or go hungry. If you’re able to plan ahead, eat something before you go. Otherwise, cheat or go hungry, and don’t feel bad about it. Just don’t make a habit of cheating when you haven’t planned the cheating.

How I handled the awkward family situation…

For our family dinner, I tried explaining that we don’t need to eat more than one serving each. I wasn’t going to be eating any myself, and we should start trying to eat better. I ended up making the amount she wanted, but not without talking about it at dinner. The irony is that nearly all of us that were around that table should be eating healthier. I was sort of surprised at the flack I got. I almost felt wrong for suggesting it. But I maintained and didn’t eat the potatoes. I also passed on the cherry pie that followed dinner. Now I just need to work on consistency.

The Slow-Carb Planner Is Available Thursday!

I’m finally ready to take this thing live! On Thursday there will be a post (and an email) announcing the service and explaining exactly what you’ll get when you sign up. The service isn’t for everyone, but if it’s for you, you’ll love it.

This is the second in a series I’ve putting together over the past couple weeks leading up to the launch of my slow-carb meal planner. With these posts, you’ll be able to do it all yourself. But if you’d prefer that I do it for you, stay tuned for the launch announcement!

Part 1: Make Shopping Easier
Part 2: Make Cooking Easier
Part 3: How To Plan Your Own Meals

photo credit: robotpolisher

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