>> Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Another oldie but goodie that seems appropriate this time of year. How do you handle holiday parties and dinners with friends when you've made a personal commitment to eat healthier? Here's my take on this dilemma!
I'm going off on a little bit of a tangent here today. I read a quote in a magazine recently that set my mind to wandering and my fingers to typing.
What do you do when you've taken on a healthier diet - say, given up HFCS and trans fat - and are eating food at someone's house? Maybe you're at a playdate and a friend is serving your child bright blue yogurt or maybe a sugary punch drink that you know is filled with HFCS. Do you call them on it? Do you tell them that you don't eat foods like that?
I saw this quote from Michael Pollan, the author of In Defense of Food and Omnivore's Dilemma, in Reader's Digest last week. He says:
I really care where my food comes from, but I also care about being a good guest. So I eat whatever is put in front of me and don't make special requests.I completely agree with Mr. Pollan. I know that not everyone is on the same food journey that we're on. Some people are not at all concerned about the ingredients in their food, some people are on a very different sort of journey than we're on, and some people are way ahead of us in the foods they eat.
I have had mothers snub snacks that I've served at playdates in the past, and I found it incredibly rude. (I'll note that no food allergies were involved. Food allergies or intolerances completely change the picture.) You can serve me shrimp floating in a pool of HFCS and topped with globs of trans fat, and if it is my only choice that you're serving me as a host, I'll eat it with a smile on my face (or else take a cue from my father and declare that I ate a big lunch and am just not hungry). I'm happy to talk about what we're doing with our diet if it comes up organically, but I'm not going to belittle your way of eating. That just isn't polite and isn't what a good guest should do.
I do think that we should fight for the food that our kids eat. We should fight for better school lunches. We should make it known with our pocketbooks and e-mails and blogs that we won't tolerate trans fat or HFCS or whatever else gives you the heebie-jeebies in our food - especially when that food is marketed to children. We should lead by example and eat a good, healthy diet so that our children have something to model. But we should also remember to be gracious to our hosts.
What do you think? Do you challenge your host if they serve you something that doesn't fit a healthier diet? Or do you eat it what you're given without comment?