Monday, May 09, 2005

Don't Blow Your Low-Carb Plan When Invited To Dinner

This Fredericksburg, VA-based Free Lance-Star article contained some good information for people who are livin' la vida low-carb regarding being invited to friend's house for a meal. With summer cookouts just a few months away, these tips are really important and will keep you on track with your low-carb eating program.

This story was written by a registered dietitian named Jennifer Motl who has a healthy living web site at

However, Motl did not begin her article on a particularly good note with me because she described the Atkins lifestyle as "meat-based."

I have emphasized this over and over and over (until I'm blue in the face!) that doing a low-carb lifestyle does not require that you eat a lot of meat. It just doesn't. There are plenty of other options for people to choose from when they are livin' la vida low-carb. Nuts, eggs, cheese, green beans, cauliflower, salads, just to name a few. The continual labeling of low-carb as meat exclusive gets a bit nauseating from time to time.

Nevertheless, what's not to like about eating steak, chicken, turkey, pepperoni, ham and more, especially since most of these foods have ZERO carbs?! The way some people describe Atkins, you would think this is all we eat. How boring would that be?

But Motl redeems herself in the remainder of her article by offering tips for both hosts and guests.

For the hosts: "Ask your guests to tell you what they like to eat, and attempt to make one or two of their favorites, even if they are just side dishes."

Whenever my wife and I are invited over to someone's house to eat, the first thing they always ask me is, "What can you eat on your diet?" Aside from the fact that I'm not on a diet and haven't been since starting my low-carb lifestyle (I know, it's just semantics), I politely reply by asking what will be served.

Most main course foods can be eaten as long as there isn't any gravy or sugary sauces on them. For example, I can usually eat meatloaf if it is prepared without bread and ketchup and chicken if it is baked without any sauce or gravy. Most hosts have been very accomodating by setting aside special versions of the foods that everyone else will be eating. And it's not that hard for them, either.

Additionally, if the host is serving a pasta- or potato-based side dish, then I request cauliflower or salad instead. Again, this is not usually a problem and is very easy for them to help you stay on your low-carb plan. However, make sure they don't try to serve you "low-fat" dressings or you'll be getting more hidden sugars and carbs than you bargained for. I usually request the regular version of Hidden Valley Ranch because it's got 1 net carb and is the best-tasting ranch dressing on the planet!

The article also suggests that hosts create a buffet to allow guests to pick and choose what they want to eat. I LOVE BUFFETS!!! It is the absolute best way for me to get exactly what I can eat without worrying about excessive carbs. If you are filling your own plate, then it is YOUR responsibility to get what you are allowed to eat and nothing more. This is the best option for people doing low-carb.

As for the guests: "Do not drop hints or hope the host will read your mind. Instead, state your [low-carb dietary needs] clearly and offer to ... bring a simple substitute if the main dish" is not low-carb.

This is great advice. Don't beat around the bush about your low-carb lifestyle. Some people may not know you are losing weight yet (it wasn't until I lost 100 pounds before anybody noticed!), so don't be bashful and tell the host you are eating low-carb. You might have to explain what that means to some hosts (who may think it only means meat!), but education is always a good thing. They may even thank you for offering to bring a sample low-carb dish for other guests to try. I know my low-carb peanut butter cheesecake balls have always been a hit with people who didn't realize they were "diet" (the recipe for this delectable dessert will be in my book, by the way!).

Motl gives sound advice when she proclaims, "If you are a picky eater or on a weight-loss diet, it's not polite to expect your host to revamp the entire menu to meet your preferences. Instead, eat whatever items and portions you are comfortable with and politely decline the rest."

EXCELLENT ADVICE, INDEED! Even if it means you'll have to eat when you get home, it's better to just eat what you can so you don't get derailed on your low-carb plan. I would only add that you should always be prepared with low-carb snacks wherever you go so you will never get hungry or feel left out when everyone else is eating. Livin' la vida low-carb is not hard is you make it a conscious effort.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home