5 Tips for Dining Out on a Therapeutic Diet
By Sage Writer: Hillary Givhan
Recently, we posted an article on how to get started with a therapeutic diet (low-FODMAP, gluten-free, anti-candida, etc.). Be sure to check it out for some helpful tips on getting started.
In some cases, a therapeutic diet may be necessary for months in order to clear up a condition. This can make holidays, family gatherings, or a meal with friends difficult to navigate. Below are 5 tips on how to maintain a social life while also tending to your health:
1. Eat Before You Go:
This may not be the most fun option, but it is the most effective. If you eat substantially before going to an event where you know there will be food, you won’t be as tempted to eat something you shouldn’t. If it is a more intimate gathering of family and friends, explain that you will eat ahead of time and why. If everyone is aware, they will be less likely to offer you food and may even support your efforts by helping you steer clear of that dessert table.
When meeting with friends or family, a potluck is a great alternative to eating at a restaurant or ordering takeout. You can bring something that you know you can eat, and if you let them know ahead of time, someone may be more than happy to bring a dish you can eat (a side of green beans, salad with dressings on the side, gluten-free granola mix, etc.)
3. Make the Executive Decision:
When eating out, ask your friends or family if you can choose the restaurant. If they know you have dietary restrictions, they will likely be understanding of this request. Yelp and Google are great resources for searching your dietary needs and restaurants in your area. This will give you the opportunity to call restaurants and discuss their menu or alternate meals they can prepare for you ahead of time. This will relieve you from asking the waiter 15 questions about your order and will give you peace of mind.
4. Choose DIY:
More and more DIY eateries are popping up. Here, you can create your own pizza, salad, burrito, or sushi bowl. If there are enough ingredients that work for you, then it’s a great option for eating out (think: Chipotle, Poké Bowl, Saladworks, MOD Pizza, etc.)
5. A Happy Heart is Great Medicine:
Know that it’s the consistent decisions that will make the biggest impact. If you accidentally eat something you shouldn’t, or are in a social situation where it’s just about impossible to stay on your diet, then eat with a happy and grateful heart. One meal here and there won’t derail you if you’re making good choices for the vast majority of the time. Food is important and so is enjoying the company of those we love.
We hope this gave you some good ideas of how to maneuver social situations while on a therapeutic diet. Let us know if you’ve learned any additional ways to navigate social events while on a specialty diet!