Last weekend I found myself in a situation that I hadn’t anticipated. My family was invited over to someone’s home for dinner and the planned meal involved grilled hamburgers and hot dogs with all the fixings and chips.

The question I had to ask myself was whether I was going to have said grilled beef and the carbs from the buns that I don’t normally have, or do I come up with an alternative? Not every situation like this will work with the same solution. But in this case, it was acknowledged that I could bring my own.

So, while the rest of the family looked forward to some good old fashioned grilling, I prepared myself a batch of my usual stir fry vegetables with some zucchini pasta in a tomato sauce. I also packed a few dill spears to go with it.

Going with this option, I was able to make sure that I stayed within my normal routine and not worry all night about whether I was eating too many carbs or should I eat my burger plain or would a light mayonnaise be acceptable?

Could I have had the carbs from the bread? Sure, it probably wouldn’t hurt for one day, but I knew that I had already had some bread earlier in the week when I had a turkey sub for lunch. I tend to stay away from as many carbs as I can during the week but one day I felt would be fine. A second day, I thought I better not.

But what happens if the party inviting us over doesn’t make this suggestion? Do I take my own food anyway or do I suck it up and eat theirs? What is the polite protocol here? It’s one thing to control what you eat at home or even at work, but when it involves someone else’s home, is it crass to suggest an alternative?

I believe, and you the readers can tell me what you think, but I believe that it can’t hurt to politely mention your eating lifestyle to those inviting you over. As long as you’re not pushy about it. Maybe they add some nice steamed or even grilled veggies to the menu. Or chill a few bottles of water and a few less bottles of soda.

But if they don’t change the menu or add a little something that you’re used to eating? If it were me, I would eat what I could and politely decline what I shouldn’t. And if I were still hungry when I left, I could always make something when I get home.

It would be rude and impolite to bring your own dish unless your host asked you to or suggested it. Then you would be “that person.” Trust me, nobody wants to be “that person.” Unless you’re the type of person who doesn’t like having friends, then declining the invitation would be a way to go.

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