When Dinner Parties Are Caloric Land Mines

I have a friend who is highly allergic to mustard.  She carries around an epi-pen just in case she inadvertently eats something that has mustard, mustard powder, seeds, or anything remotely mustard-like in it. And when she goes to restaurants or the homes of friends, she tells them about her allergyand they work around it. The same thing should hold true for those of us who are trying assiduously to reach our weight goal or maintain it. These days, most people are aware of the obesity epidemic in our nation. Our family and friends should be on our side.

But for most of us, socializing and feasting are intertwined, and very often, a dinner party can turn into a caloric landmine.

It’s such a relief when the hostess is eager to help. For example, when my friend was preparing food for a dinner party, she called me and asked me to bring over my iPhone with the My Fitness Pal app. She placed everything on the table: every food item, every spice, every ingredient. Together we logged in the calories of each item until I had a complete list of what she was serving and the calorie counts. I was able to figure out what I could eat that evening, and I went to that dinner without any anxiety or stress.

Sometimes, it doesn’t work that way. What do you do when you are invited to a dinner party that is served family style? When everything is either fried or drowning in sauce? When the dessert is a huge piece of chocolate cake covered with whipped cream? It certainly is a test of your intestinal fortitude to hold plates of foods that you can’t or won’t eat while the person to your left helps herself to heaping portions. Then, you have to eat what you can without scuttling your own ship.

Rather than become angry or resentful that your host is being inattentive to your needs, you must decide to be calm. Do the best you can: Eat two plates full of salad; scrape off the francaise sauce from the chicken. Eat the veggies even if they do have some breading on them, or subtly scrape off the breading while making scintillating conversation. And, since the party does not have to be all about the food, you can just sit and chat with your dinner companions, eat light, and then go home and fill in with the healthy foods you have available.

Sometimes, you have to roll with the…rolls. So you do your best, and let it go. And when you host the next party, be sure that you take into consideration the eating needs of your guests. Be a role model!

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