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Accept a Dinner Invitation without Freaking Out: 5 Ways to Keep it Paleo

22 Apr

KateUpdates Dinner Party

Goal: Accept a Dinner Invitation without Freaking Out

Like many of you, I’m nearing the end of my Whole30 adventure very soon. Since this is my second time through the Whole30, I’m not as freaked out at the thought of transitioning back into the ‘real world’ of eating Paleo. I’m thinking about baby and bridal showers, date nights, business trips and visiting friends for dinner and it’s not as scary. However, after talking to a close friend this weekend, I realized that this topic may still be a VERY big deal for some so I wanted to address it.

Whenever you’re eating a special diet like gluten-free, vegan or Paleo, dining anywhere other than your house can seem daunting. It can still be a challenge for me but for the most part I have a strategy I implement and today I want to talk about what you can do when you’re invited to eat at someone’s house. I’ll tackle the whole ‘eating out’ thing too but at a later time.

The Scenario

You just received an invitation from a friend or relative for dinner later next week. You gladly accept and can’t wait to spend time with them. Then, you stop and think, “Wait. How am I supposed to eat what they eat? What if I can’t eat anything they’re serving? What if they’re having … pizza!?!?” Gulp. Take a deep breath and do not fear. Do not lose your cool. This is totally normal. You can do this. It’s just going to take some creativity and a solid game plan.

Here’s what I do: When invited to dinner, I usually get asked about what I can or can’t eat because they know I’m eating differently. I thank them for the offer to accommodate me, and say that I focus my diet on meat, veggies and fruit but I can eat whatever. At that point, they usually have the beginnings of a menu in their head and propose an idea like baked chicken with green beans and artichokes with fruit for dessert. Perfect! I let them know that anything would be fine but I wouldn’t be able to do pasta or pizza. Again, you just have to feel the person and the situation out.

When someone else is preparing a meal for me, I generally eat a little bit of everything if possible. If the dish is a salad with cheese, I’ll pick around the cheese, if it’s pasta, I’ll just have a little bit … to me, the relationship is more important than the food. So, I keep my cool and go with the flow. All the while, trying to avoid foods that would make me feel sick (like dairy) and compromising as needed on things that aren’t Paleo but wouldn’t make me sick (like gluten).

Everyone is different so here are some tips to help you customize your own plan of attack …

5 Options for Keeping it Paleo

1. Communicate your food needs. First, let me offer a warning here. I’m always really careful with this option, even if asked what my meal preferences are. I feel that if someone is inviting me to dinner, I shouldn’t be too picky. If they are a friend or family member, they most likely will already know your needs and want to accommodate you in some way. That means they probably won’t do pizza and may ask your food preferences.

2. Offer to have dinner at your house. Feel this one out because you don’t want to offend them. If you think they’d be open to this and it meets the occasion, offer to have them over. This is super convenient because it gives you more control in menu planning and it may even offer them a break from their usual routine.

3. Go out to eat at a place that has options for everyone. Again, feel this one out because they may be trying to save money. If that’s the case, then you might make them feel bad. Here’s how I do this option: “We would love to have dinner but would you like to go out so that neither of us has to worry about making something? We’re up for whatever … what are your favorite dine out spots?”

4. Contribute to dinner. Ask them if you can bring a salad, side or dessert. This will ensure that you have at least one item you can eat. Couple this with the protein they’re most likely serving and you have a meal! A good way to offer to contribute something without a friendly dismal is to say something like this: “We really appreciate the invite and I’d love to take a little of the meal planning burden off of you if you don’t mind. I make a killer __________ would you like me to bring it?”

5. Improvise when you get there. This option is good when you’re OK with compromising your diet for the sake of a good time with the people you care about. I personally use this option often and find that I’m pleasantly surprised in most cases that there are options I can eat within my diet. It’s risky but this is my option of choice because again, the relationship is more important than the diet for me.

How do you handle dinner invitations? What’s your strategy?

~ Kate

Kitchen Essential Tools *Video* Paleo, Whole30 Gluten-free

15 Feb

Happy Friday!

Let’s end the week with a video, shall we? Check out the tools that I use weekly in my kitchen to make life MUCH easier. There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to making meals at home, especially if you haven’t done much cooking previously. It was a challenge for me for a while but now I’ve developed some shortcuts to make meal prep a lot easier. These tools are examples of how I help speed up the cooking process … Let me know if you have suggestions or questions.

OH and please subscribe to my Youtube channel :)

Have a great weekend!

~ Kate

KateUpdates Kitchen Essential Tools