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How to Handle Social Situations

By Erika Romaine, RD


Social occasions present in so many ways and they all seem to revolve around food. The gathering might be a nice restaurant dinner with your family, a neighborhood potluck, or a birthday party with your friends and coworkers. You may feel uncomfortable participating in these social situations if you are trying to lose or even maintain your weight. With the following ideas, you will be able to participate in any and every outing you choose and manage to make healthy choices.  


Dining Out

Choose restaurants you’re familiar with. By having an idea of what is offered on the menu, you’ll be able to plan what your entrée choice will be.


Try to choose lean proteins and non-starchy vegetables. Meats should be baked, grilled, steamed, or poached. If the entrée includes a heavy sauce, most restaurants will gladly leave that off, if requested. For your side item, try to order a steamed vegetable. Skip the fries, mashed potatoes, and onion rings!


Don’t order from the kids menu. Though it may be tempting to order off of the kid’s menu because of the smaller portion sizes, most of the foods offered on this menu are not very healthy. Common options include chicken fingers, pizza, and hotdogs- all high fat foods.


Doggy bags are your new best friend. Most restaurant entrée serving sizes are much larger than a reasonable portion size. So asking for a box to take the rest of your food home should be a regular part of your dining experience.  Box half before you even take your first bite of the food.



Bring a dish or two. If you bring a couple of things that you know are healthy, you can participate in the potluck without feeling anxious about what you’re going to eat.


Focus on the fellowship. Potlucks are meant to bring friends and families together to visit and enjoy one another. Think of it as a time to visit together, not a time to eat or focus on food.



Eat before you get there. Parties usually include finger foods. Filling up before you get there will prevent you from feeling hungry while you only have unhealthy food options to choose from. If you really want to have something to munch on while there, bring a fresh fruit plate or vegetable tray.


Limit Alcohol. The calories from alcohol add up quickly, plus your judgment may be altered and you may overeat and forget the concepts mentioned in the tips above.  If you have had bariatric surgery, you will absorb alcohol quicker than before surgery so remember that it should be consumed in moderation.


Whatever social situation you find yourself in, remember that having a plan will always ensure that you are able to continue in the healthy lifestyle of the new and improved YOU!