With 2018 coming to an end and 2019 offering new opportunities, many people will be setting New Year’s resolutions. In 2018, Statista.com found that eating healthier was the most common New Year’s resolution with a close second being to get more exercise. And, according to an NBC News article, getting healthier was the number one resolution in 2017! So, it’s likely that the 2019 top resolutions will have eating better and/or exercise at the top of the list.
If you will be among the many people trying to eat better during the new year, you may be concerned about sticking to a diet while still hanging out with friends, attending family gathers, or going out to social events. So here are some tips to help you stick to a diet without offending hosts!
- Tell the host before you go
This might feel weird and be a bit uncomfortable at first, but this works! Research in the Journal of Business Ethics demonstrated the people’s satisfaction is highest when communicated in a timely manner, the communication is complete and honest, and when empathy and equity are expressed. So, be upfront about it and let the host know ahead of time – they will likely be more than willing to accommodate. Who knows, they may be on a diet too and understand exactly where you are coming from!
- Bring a dish for everyone and make it one you will eat
Do you have a strong suspicion there won’t be any food you will eat where you are going? Then bring your own! You can guarantee you will have something to eat this way (without whipping out a pre-packed individual meal and eating alone). It is also helpful to the host of the party if you bring some food or snacks.
- Eat ahead of time
Sounds counterintuitive, I know, but hear me out! Eat a small meal that meets your dietary requirements before you go. This way, you don’t have to worry about being hungry and being tempted by the foods at the party or event. To stay full longer, make it high in fiber. Eating certain types of fiber has been shown to decrease food intake, according to research in The Journal of the American College of Nutrition. If you eat a small meal ahead of time, you can go to your event and just have a little bit of everything, or some select foods, without drawing attention.
- Get ready to talk about your food preferences
Whether people are curious, confused, or empathetic, they will probably ask you why you are eating (or avoiding) certain foods. Be prepared to give a concise explanation and avoid pitfalls like coming across as being self-righteous or judgmental. The worst thing you can do is to make everyone feel like you are judging every bite they put into their mouths. You can do this by making your explanation more personal, instead of general. For example, instead of saying “gluten is bad for you” say “gluten makes me feel bad so I avoid it.”
- Plan ahead and budget for your meal
Maybe you just want to eat some of the foods at the gathering and you don’t want to use the above options. Well, then go ahead, but make sure you have a plan. Monitor what you eat. If the meal is carbohydrate-heavy (which often tends to be the case), then try limiting your intake of carbohydrates for the remainder of the day. Simply self-monitoring your food intake has been shown to improve the success of maintaining dietary changes, accordingly to a recent study in Behavioral Sciences. So, if you self-monitor and have a plan, you can still enjoy the foods and social events without sabotaging your diet plan.
If your resolution for the new year is going to be related to diet, try giving these tips a try! This way, you can stay on track with your diet, meet your goals, and still have a great time and strong social life!