Eating well at a function

Eating well at a function can be tricky. If meals are being served, there are usually options that will fit a healthy eating pattern, but when it’s a morning or afternoon tea, often the carb overload can be very tempting.

At a recent function where afternoon tea of sandwiches, pastries, cakes and slices were served, a young lady with Coeliac Disease was saying that when she’s out she just stays away from the food. She’s so accustomed to there being nothing suitable that she doesn’t even look at the food.

Those with Coeliac Disease can’t eat any food containing gluten, so that rules out anything with flour including bread, pastries, most hot finger food, cakes, slices, sauces and a huge range of other foods. It may sound restrictive, but meats, fruits, vegetables, dairy foods, nuts and the like are all naturally gluten-free, so this leaves many options that provide excellent nutrition without the side effects of illness and weight gain.

Afternoon tea served on a tiered cake stand

This one comment at the function got me thinking: could everyone wanting to lose weight and improve health adopt similar strategies?

Here are a few things to consider:

  1. If the function serves afternoon tea, chances are that you’ve already had lunch and it’s only a couple of hours until dinner. There’s no physical need to eat.
  2. Thinking like someone with food allergies could involve focusing on the detrimental effect that food will have on your body. In the case of the lady with Coeliac Disease, this would mean extreme pain and bloating, diarrhoea, and increasing her risk of cancer. For someone wanting to lose weight, think about how the carbohydrates will be digested and stored in the fat cells.
  3. It’s easy to say No to the first bite of food, but much harder to resist subsequent bites. Having “just a taste” can be the start of the end, both physically and emotionally. Abstinence is far easier than moderation.
  4. The purpose for attending a function are to celebrate, socialise, support, or meet, not to eat. Be there for the people and the event, chatting, networking, socialising and reminiscing, and feed yourself at home.
  5. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. In all honesty, will your life suffer if you can’t eat the party pies? You don’t wear the same clothes as the person next to you, so why do you need to eat the same foods?

As it turned out, the large function we were at had a table of gluten-free foods, so the young lady with Coeliac Disease did have a bite or two, but she would not have suffered at all had this not been the case. She’s accustomed to others eating while she doesn’t, she doesn’t feel deprived, and – I have to say – she looks amazing.

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