Food and Social Situations

The holidays are typically filled with social events and family gatherings. Not to mention, it’s the time of year when you might catch up with old friends for a coffee or a happy hour (or two). Of course, any time you go out to eat, gather with friends, or do anything that could potentially take you away from your usual nutrition and fitness plan, it can throw you into a loop. And sometimes that loop becomes an endless spiral. So what are you to do? Throw in the towel and pick up your goals in the New Year? Not likely with the following tips and tricks.

An Unhappy Happy Hour?

Let’s say you’re at a happy hour with coworkers. As you sit down, you notice someone has already ordered the spinach and artichoke dip with fried pita crisps, chicken wings with ranch, and a flatbread pizza for all to share. It all looks mouth-watering, but you know that if you gorge yourself on these goodies, you’ll have thrown off your personal nutrition plan. And if you knew, going into this happy hour, that you would enjoy these goodies and had a plan made with yourself, you’re set! But what if you didn’t? 


First, don’t be hard on yourself. Ask yourself these questions: Did you enjoy the food? Did it taste good? Did you like how you felt after you ate it? Did you enjoy the company, and did the food compliment the atmosphere, or did you use it to escape the anxiety of being around these people? However, your answer will give you great insight into your relationship with food in social situations. So, this happy hour is actually a win because you learned more about yourself and how you behave around food. 

Traveling With Your Nutrition Goals

If grandma’s house is two states away and you have to fly or drive to get there, this can be a challenge with your nutrition goals. Never fear! There is a way to still stick to the plan and enjoy your grandma time! The key is to set your goal for the trip. If you know you simply want to completely relax this trip, and you have a plan set for when you return, that is one approach. However, if you’re like many others, taking this time off completely can mentally take you off of your nutrition game. So, making sure that you stick to your regular plan up to the date you take off on your trip is important to set the stage for your body. Once on your trip (flying or driving), bring snacks with you that you know will stave off the cravings for the airport or gas station grab and go. Almonds, beef jerky (watch the sugar content), grapes, berries, and apples are good staples to keep hunger at bay. 

While you’re there, of course, you can enjoy granny’s famous casserole, just manage the meals surrounding it. For instance, if at home you have oatmeal, eggs, and fruit for breakfast, make a trip to the local grocer close to grandma’s home and pick up your regular foods. This way, you have more control over the other meals you eat while you are there, and you can still make room to compliment your grandmother on how fabulous her cooking is! This trick works great if you’re staying at a hotel or Air B&B, too. 

The Final Word

Truly, it comes down to your personal plan, and what you feel most comfortable with. If you have a firm plan for your nutrition in social situations and holiday gatherings, you have a much better chance of sticking to the routine. Going into the season (or any time you have these situations) without a plan will many times result in your feeling bad about your choices, and a downward spiral of negative emotions. Always remind yourself that no matter what you choose, you can always turn a negative situation around, and pick back up and start over again. 

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