You will find that the majority of social events you attend will either revolve around food, or have a part of the event set aside for food. If you are invited for dinner, or go out for a meal, or attend a party, there will be special food. In your work environment you probably find that every now and again someone brings in food to share. If you drop round a friend’s house they will probably offer you refreshments.
What food do you get offered in these circumstances?
In the office people bring in cakes, pastries, chocolate biscuits, and boxes of sweets.
At parties or buffets typically you get a table of what I call “yellow food” – sausage rolls, crisps, French bread, cheese straws, quiche, that kind of thing, followed by cakes and trifles.
In restaurants obviously you can get many, many different foods, but chances are you will eat three courses, and the amount of calories that you would normally eat in a day.
Dropping in at someone’s house often results in homemade cake or fancy biscuits or cookies being offered.
Going round to someone’s house for dinner will almost always involve having second helpings of main course, and a choice of desserts, of which you will try both.
But just think…
If you brought in celery sticks and hummus to the office to share for the mid morning break what sort of reaction would you get?
If you brought in fresh strawberries and grapes and bananas to celebrate your birthday in the office what sort of reaction would you get?
If you rejected the special dessert your aunt made for you when she invited you to dinner what sort of reaction would you get?
If you turned up to a bring and share lunch with a bowl of salad what sort of reaction would you get?
If you had a birthday party and served no cake what sort of reaction would you get?
If you chose a salad for your main course at a restaurant what sort of reaction would you get?
If the answer to those questions is that you would get funny looks, whispers behind your back, and people pressing you to “just have a bite”, don’t ask yourself what it says about you – ask what does this say about society?
There is nothing wrong with a bit of unhealthy carb-laden sugary food once in a while of course, but its prevalence in society on a daily basis is unhelpful and encourages you to think that healthy eating is not the norm, and that you are a social reject for not having cake every time it’s there. I’m someone who struggles not to eat unhealthy food when its placed in front of me, and a shift towards social healthy eating would be welcome.
This battle will only be won when you go to a bring and share buffet and the table is covered in different fresh salads and fruits; there are lean healthy meats, low fat dairy, wholegrain breads and healthy dips. No cake. No crisps. No pastry products. And not a single person comments on it but everyone wholeheartedly enjoys the spread.
Do you struggle to eat healthily at social events? What are your top tips for staying on the straight and narrow?