While holiday parties can be a chance to see friends, family and work colleagues in a relaxed setting, they can also be difficult and frustrating if you are living with diet limitations like low-carb, gluten-free or meat-free. Here are five ways to survive holiday gatherings if you have diet restrictions.
1. Talk to the host or party coordinator in advance
For almost 10 years my son had an extremely limited diet. I often struggled with whether or not I should tell the party planner in advance. I found it worked out better when I called ahead. I always started the conversation by telling the host how excited we were to attend. I was often surprised at how familiar the host was with different diet restrictions and often plans were already in place for a variety of menu options.
2. Offer to bring something yummy
If you bring a dish to the party that you will be able to eat, you will be secure in knowing there will be at least one food that you will enjoy. Most likely there will be others at the gathering with food restrictions as well, so be sure to bring a simple stand-up menu card that lists the ingredients of your dish.
3. Remember you are not alone
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, approximately 9 percent of Americans have a food intolerance. According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, about 20 percent of people have acid reflux disease which may also lead to a restricted diet. Others may choose a restricted diet for health or social reasons. You may not know which other partygoers have limited diets, but you can be confident that you are not the only one choosing carefully.
4. Stay Positive
Holiday food can be full of tradition with little attention paid to guests who may not be able to eat baked ham or dinner rolls or drink egg nog. Instead of pointing out to the host that you cannot eat anything being served, focus instead on the work that went into gathering everyone together.
5. Remember the reason for the party
While we often concentrate on what will be served or worn at a holiday occasion, the real reason that people get together during the holidays is to spend time together. Holiday parties allow us to be in a different setting outside of the usual routine and know each other in a different way. Getting together also lets us celebrate our relationships and mark the closing of another year.