Why does most diet advice on what to with holiday parties and food seem to suck?

Just finished up reading an article in the "A Sweet Life" called Low Carb Bloggers Share Holiday Recipes and Survival Tips and my immediate reaction was a low growl.

I dislike articles like these because the advice is often generic (least common denominator) and therefore useless.


"The more you can make your own snacks and treats that satisfy, the less likely you will succumb to temptation. Take a day or two and bake some things that can be frozen for the days ahead. Offer to bring something when going to parties so you know there will be at least one thing you can munch on."

What if it's NOT a potluck party? What if the host says no?

What about situations where the event is hosted at a restaurant -- you can't bring your own food -- and you can't get the nutritional information because the restaurant isn't a chain restaurant?

Basically I would like to see more articles on what to do when I have no control over the food.

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I can usually find some appropriate low-carb foods to enjoy at a party. Nuts and veggies with dips are always good. If my choices are really meager, I may just enjoy a sparkling water or coffee drink, forgo the food, and make an extra effort to visit with others. Or I can portion limit the stuff I usually wouldn't eat, like pretzels and chips.

There's so much emphasis on food during the holidays, it can get discouraging for those of us that cannot overindulge without many hours of consequences. I always try to build in some time after a party to get in at least some walking to help me metabolize the food.

Since I've been eating a low-carb diet for a few years now, I don't find the typical high-carb party fare hard to resist.

I know what you mean. But here's the reality: Many hosts are considerate if they know you have diabetes and will let you know what they plan to prepare. If they don't, you need to step up and ask them, and if it's lasagna or something really carby then let them know you'll bring a salad too so you can supplement. You're not asking permission, you're just letting them know. If they complain, these people are not friendworthy, sorry to say. If you're eating out, ask what you can substitute for the potato or rice sides. I regularly order full breakfasts with tomatoes instead of taters, or sauteed veggies or salad at dinner. Eat all the meat, cheese, and green veggies you want, no worries there, just give yourself a little insulin for the veggies. Fast food - don't order combo meals. It just takes speaking up, and being willing to pay a dollar upcharge sometimes. You'll get used to it, and your friends will learn to look out for you too.

i just love the title of this post! lol!

when i have no control over food, or any time, really, i just eat to my meter. most of the time.
if there is something particularly delicious-the little portuguese tarta de natas i found today at the christmas market, for example-i just shoot up and hope for the best. not the most scientific way about it but its more what the spanish call "arte". i make sure i can get out for a walk or move around as well.

full english breakfast is always the way to go!

If the host says no: don't go- If it's not potluck, you're out of luck- lol

Seriously, I have rarely had a problem avoiding what I don't want to eat because there was no alternative. Most people have veggies/cheese/meats/nuts etc. at the holidays.

I think it is more a problem of watching everyone else eat bread or whatever when you can't if you don't eat that or don't want to etc.

I do remember one friend being a total fusspot when I asked about ingredients and carbs after I was first diagnosed but she is pretty much a pain and not the norm, the funny thing was she never had a problem with any of my other dietary needs for reflux and other things before D.

I used to bring my own food to plenty of places like the movie theater before D and I don't think there is a huge problem with that. Most people are happy to receive a veggie/nut/cheese platter at the holidays or if not they won't usually complain about it.

You can just not eat the higher carb items if you are on a low carb diet or whatever it is that you don't want to eat. Unless you're celiac or have severe food allergies I think you can usually find something that you can eat or you can ask them to prepare something else for you. If it's not a sit down dinner but a buffet you can always find something or you can bring a bag of nuts or whatever, keep them in your pocket and munch on them while you have a drink. For restaurants I guess and or just eat meat and veggies, never anything too carby where I have no idea what to do. I never eat at chains anymore and if you ask for carb info elsewhere they don't even know what you're talking about.

I think that the aim of the "here's what you can eat" articles is to find something like "magic food" that will work. To me, it's about taking the right amount of insulin to balance whatever I eat. I don't get totally carried away but will enjoy whatever I run into. Occasionally I make a mistake but simply correct and keep on partying. I don't ever ask a host "can I bring something I can eat?", I ask "can I bring something?" My mom asked me to make mashed potatoes today so that's what I'm bringing and eating. I have been pretty used to stacking insulin so if, at the end of the day I run low, we have some cookies and beer and stuff to bring the balance back. . OF course, my advice of being a risk-taking, inulin-stacking, carb shoveling train wrecck also "suck" to Khurt's point But I'll test a lot on top of my CGM and work to count every carb. And take the dog for a walk if I need to correct that way. Then there'll be 6" or so of snow to shovel too...

Sensible. Me too.

I just don't get wrapped around the axle about it, moderate, and compensate.

If I wind up a bit higher than planned, correct. It's one of 3-4 times a year I have to "face" this sort of thing, and I'm into living, not wearing a hairshirt.

I prefer your advice. My complaint was more about why the advice assumes the PWD has “control” over the food presented. Why not provide advice for what to do when the person has no control?

Quite frankly, there are too many social occasions where bringing my own food is socially unacceptable. e.g

  • List item a catered fancy dress dinner at someone’s home
  • List item a real restaurant. (e.g. Ruth’s Chris or somewhere in Manhattan).

My advice? Guess. Learn to eye-ball portions. For restaurants that don’t have nutritional information – anything that is not a chain – you’re flying blind. You’ll make a mistakes.