Socialize for Good Health
Last updated: March 2021
Going out with friends may not sound as fun when you feel limited by what you can eat and drink. However, it is still possible to enjoy yourself without compromising your well being. Remember, enjoying a night out can bring out healthy endorphins and release stress, which can play a role in maintaining a healthy digestive system!
Once you have committed to a night out, speak up and suggest a few restaurant ideas that are sure to offer menu items that are comfortable for you. Regardless of digestive conditions, this is a good planning tool for anyone living a healthy lifestyle! Once you and your friends have decided on a location, get excited and think about all the laughs and smiles you are sure to have. It is important that you don’t put too much energy thinking about what you can’t eat or drink. This will only cause you stress, which can also worsen digestive discomfort. Put your focus on what you can enjoy and be thankful for the healthy decisions you are making!
Here are a few tips and tricks for making eating out fun and enjoyable.
1. Call ahead
If you have specific food intolerances that you are concerned about, don’t hesitate to call ahead and kindly request that they make a note of your food sensitivities. Having been both a hostess and waitress, I know firsthand that this is something that restaurants appreciate. Customer service is important, and it always helps to know in advance how they can best accommodate their guests.
2. Speak up
If you did not get a chance to call ahead or simply want to verify your order, do not hesitate to ask. Requesting changes to an order for your well-being is always acceptable. Kindly asking that your fish be grilled instead of fried and that your vegetables be well-cooked is a simple and easily request to accommodate. Even with baked fish, it’s often topped with a aioli saturated in butter, so ask how the fish is prepared. Adding in an extra thank you is always appreciated!
3. Ask about the daily soup
If everyone is ordering a starter salad, opt for the daily soup special. A light vegetable soup is a wonderful appetizer choice. Consuming vegetables in the broth that they have been cooked in affords you the double advantage of receiving their full nutritional benefits without the discomfort of having to digest them raw. There are also so many delicious dairy-free pureed soups – cauliflower, carrot, tomato, broccoli, roasted red pepper, and—my personal favorite—butternut squash! Of course, everyone is different, so this may not be the best choice for you. But it's something to consider!
4. Is alcohol a trigger?
If so, don’t worry. Who needs those empty calories anyways! Remember, we don’t want to worry about what we can’t eat it, so let’s focus our attention to what we can enjoy. You know your body best. Some individuals may be able to enjoy a small amount of sparking water or juice. If this is you, then try a sparkling water with a splash of OJ or cranberry juice. If the carbonation causes you discomfort, stick to flat water and ask for a side of lemon and mint. Why not ask for it in a fun martini glass? It’s your night out, and there are no rules to having fun!
5. Go easy
Even if everyone is eating to the point of fullness, it does not mean that you need to. Listening to our bodies is the best way for us to lead a healthy lifestyle. Going out to eat is not an invitation to stuff ourselves to levels of Thanksgiving fullness. Practicing moderation is your best bet for enjoying nights out and optimal health.
6. Why worry?
If you haven’t had a flare-up in a while and you are leading a healthy lifestyle, there is no reason to worry. You can’t anticipate when your next flare-up will come, but enjoying a night out with friends will not necessarily be a sentence for sickness. Practicing mindful eating and following the tips above should allow you to enjoy your nights out with less worry.
Does living with IBD impact you financially?