Updated: Sep 1, 2020
When you're concerned about blood sugar.
Growing up, I lived in an extended family with my great-grand parents, parents and siblings. Dinner was a magical time that I looked forward to because my mom or great-grand mom made something delicious everyday , from scratch. I was required to come home for dinner and rarely at at my friend's homes. Although I was often offered, I would turn it down. Not only because I preferred the food at home, but I was also a picky eater and was sure they'd serve something I didn't like.
When I became a teenager, my eating habits changed and I ate pretty much what everybody else ate. This was to my detriment. Later in life I developed blood sugar problems. Once again I began to dislike the idea of eating at other people's homes. I knew what my system could handle and and had begun to tailor my meals accordingly. However, at other people's homes, I was likely to encounter lots of starches and sugary desert. Eventually I learned ways to cope in these situations and wanted to pass along a few tips to you.
Invitations to eat at other people's homes can categorized in two basic ways: people you know well, like family and close friends; and people you don't know well. People who know you well may already know or would have no problem with you expressing your efforts to avoid diabetic complications. If you spend a lot of time with this this group, there's no way to keep it a secret, nor should you want to. In most cases, they will applaud your efforts to live healthier and and when they invite you over, they'll likely attempt to provide foods that will work for you.
That brings us to the other category; people you don't know well and have no clue you struggle with blood sugar. In this case, there are two routes to take. In currently times, hosts are more cognizant of guests' food preferences and may offer choices up front (vegan, vegetarian, low-carb, etc.). The simple choice is to pic the options that's work best or your condition. Sometimes, you can tell the host in advance that you're pre-diabetic or have a health concern and would like something other than what's presented if none of the options work. Almost no one is offended when you present your request as a health issue. They'll likely and respectfully accommodate.
However, there are times when you do not get to choose or decide not to mention your health issues. In this case, start by surveying the the food options before you on the table. Know your enemies and friends! The foods that you can have and those you should stay clear of. Sometimes, if you're not in this situation to often, you can decide to allow yourself some leeway but don't just surrender!
Much of your meal can be handled by portion control. For examples, if you're served pasta and salad, go easy on the past and heavy on the salad. If you'r served meat and potatoes, take a larger piece of meat or vegetable alternative and only half of the potatoes serving. When bread is passed around, pass on it! This way, you can still enjoy the meal before you without doing too much damage to your body.
However, there's usually one more final struggle...dessert. The sweet, mouthwatering concoction that dares you to pass it up. Take a deep breath and pass. This might be a good time to divulge that you're watching your blood sugar. Of course if you're the only guest and the host labored in creating the dessert, they might be slighted if you don't indulge a little. In this case, take the smallest amount possible.
If none of this seems feasible and you go all out without boundaries, I suggest taking a blood sugar monitor along in your purse or pocket. An hour or two after you've stuffed yourself with sugars and starches, take a reading of your blood sugar. A reading over 200 may encourage you to be more proactive in food selection, even when eating at other people's homes.
VKNOX is a holistic nutrition wellness practitioner, behavior change specialist, fitness nutrition educator, lifestyle transformation coach and author. She is the creator of the R.A.W. Lifestyle System.