‘I am 6 weeks into my new keto lifestyle, things are going really well! I have lost some weight and I have loads of energy. I have even gone out to dinner a few times and managed to make good choices. But I am in a bit of a pickle right now. I am invited to a dinner party at a friend’s house. She does not know about my change in lifestyle, I do not talk to her that often.Mariska, 42
I really want to go to this dinner. It will be so lovely to catch up with her and some other friends, but I am also worried I will end up eating non-keto foods and mess up what I have achieved so far. How do I handle this, is it rude to ask my friend to cater to my needs for example?‘
It sounds like you are doing really great! I understand your concerns about the dinner party invitation. But there are in fact some good ways to address them so you have every opportunity to enjoy the company of your friends and the dinner itself. Here are my top tips:
Wait for the dinner party host to contact you
A good host usually asks all invited guests beforehand about (recently changed) dietary requirements. Things like food dislikes, allergies, drinks preferences etc. There is after all nothing more embarrassing than serving all meat dishes and discovering someone has turned vegetarian. Or loading the table with gluten and someone has recently been diagnosed celiac. Offering clams as an appetizer and a guest gets nauseous just by the sight of them. This obviously goes for drinks as well. It is wise to have a good selection of non-alcoholic drinks on hand and not presume everyone will want to drink wine.
It is really the host’s duty to accommodate all guests as much as possible so give him or her some time to get in touch with you first.
Okay so I have waited and not heard from the host…now what?
If the host does not contact you at all simply contact the host yourself at least three to four days beforehand. Tell them about your change in lifestyle and what this means in terms of your dietary restrictions and requirements. Make it clear this is about your health and not some ‘fad’ thing you are trying out. Also try not to be vague about it. Explain things clearly, keep in mind a lot of people have not heard of keto or are not well -informed.
Ask what is on the menu and see if it is something you can or want to eat. You can also suggest other simple dishes for the host to make if he or she shows willingness to accommodate you. Better yet, offer to help out by bringing one or two keto dishes you, and other guests, can eat.
Well this is getting awkward, there is really only going to be foods at the dinner party I do not want to eat and the host is not open to any of my suggestions!
In case of an unwilling host, the one that insists on serving pizza or pasta for example and frowns upon you bringing your own dishes, here is what you can do:
- let the host know you will eat beforehand and go only to enjoy the company; there is nothing wrong with just having a drink and a conversation while everyone eats. It may feel a tad awkward at first but you are there for the company, not the food!
- bring your own food, but again: do let the host know in advance;
- in case of a host making it difficult for you to either bring your own food or be present without actually eating: politely decline the invitation and stay at home. This is about YOUR health and it is always okay to put your health first. Do consider making plans for a non-eating oriented activity with the host at some other time. It shows you still value the friendship and connection.