I have known I am gluten sensitive for over a year now. There have been many bumps along the way in adapting my lifestyle and that of my family's to being gluten free. One hurdle or challenge, if you will, is being a guest at a party and dealing with my gluten issue. This can be tricky waters to navigate especially if you just found out about your allergy, but don't let the fear of the "what ifs" derail your social life and holidays. Below I have listed my top 5 strategies in dealing with a food allergies at social functions and holidays.
5 Tips to be a Great Guest when you have Food Allergies1. Communicate- Let the host know ahead of time , the sooner the better, about your food allergy or sensitivity. Be polite and upfront. Look at it as an opportunity to educate another individual about gluten or whatever your food intolerance may be.
2. Great Expectations- After telling your host about your allergy do not expect them to rearrange the whole menu to cater to your diet needs. If the host asks if they can make something extra for you be prepared to list a couple of safe items that you can eat and thank them.
3. Prepare- I love to entertain and I really appreciate it when my company offers to bring something even if I don't need them too. If your host requests you to bring a dish make something you can enjoy that is delicious and you will have fun sharing at the event. I always use this opportunity to show case how delicious gluten free food can be. You never know whose eyes you might open to discovering a new food or diet. If I don't know if the menu will be safe I eat ahead of time, stash snacks in my purse, and I have even packed a cooler to take with me containing safe foods. If you do the later communicate with the host that you will be doing this and why so you do not offend them.
4. Socialize- Way before my gluten issue I had a food issue. I LIVED to eat. (Read more about that here and tips on how to eat balanced here.) Focus on engaging with your host and other guests. Meet new people. Don't make food the focus of the event.
5. Be Gracious- Thank the host for the invitation (this is just plain good manners!) and be intentional about thanking them for anything extra they have prepared for you. Also, a hostess gift is a nice gesture.
Read With Me!
I started reading "Sugar Nation" by Jeff O'Connell. I am a third way through the book and it is a complete eye opener if you don't know anything or even some things about pre-diabetes and Type II diabetes. What shocked me the most was to learn that the author is a pre-diabetic, has worked as a writer of "Men's Health" and currently the editor in chief of bodybuilding.com. One would assume that a writer with an extensive career in fitness would be the pinnacle of health, but genes don't discriminate.
Until next time stay strong and carry on!