One question I frequently get as someone who has coached and guided people through the Whole30, is what do I do for food when I’m going to fill-in-the-blank event?
They’re usually asking for events that are formal. social, or very long. Think weddings, business functions, church potlucks, etc.
I have 5 tips that will help you to stay compliant in events when you aren’t able to eat at home!
1- Call ahead. If at all possible, find out what is being served. If this is a wedding or church event, see if you can find out what the menu is. There may be something that you can eat. If it’s an event at a restaurant, chances are the menu is posted online. Pick some dishes that look compliant, then call ahead to see if they are compliant or if any changes can be made. Be polite, but don’t be afraid to ask the questions you need!
Sometimes there isn’t an option to call ahead and plan, but no worries, the rest of the steps will help!
2-Salad- At almost all events and restaurants, there will be a salad option. This is a great option as you can easily customize it! Again, back to step 1, call first to see if there’s a salad and if there will be dressing already added. If it’s plain, then plan to eat the bulk of your meal here.
BYOD or, bring your own dressing! Almost 100% of the time, dressings won’t be compliant. It’s always a safe option to bring your own. Reuse an old salad dressing container, or buy these small, reusable ones! Note that some venues will offer actual olive oil and balsamic vinegar, so when you do step #1, ask if this is an option.
Bring your own toppings- olives are sold in snack packs that are a perfectly portable way to add fat to your meal. Compliant guacamole can also be bought in portable containers! Use your own portable containers to bring extra veggies/fruits or nuts/seeds.
All that’s left is protein. A SUPER easy way to bring protein is to simply bring a can of tuna! Buy the ones that don’t require a can opener and you’re all set. Obviously canned chicken is an option too. Just be sure to read those labels! Soy is often added in.
3-Bring your own meal- This may or may not be appropriate depending on the event. Be sure to ask the host first! Ideally, this is an event where everyone is bringing a dish to share anyway, so make one that YOU can fully eat. Chances are this isn’t that type of event. If it’s not a problem to bring your own individual food, you have many options here. Bring the Whole30 compliant frozen dinners at Walmart if you’ll have access to a microwave. Bring a lunch container packed with whatever compliant foods you choose. Be considerate and don’t bring something that will make the whole room smelly! Think fish or eggs.
Note- Don’t be that person who complains the whole time that there isn’t anything for them to eat! This makes everyone uncomfortable.
4-Eat before you go-If all else fails, eat before you go. NEVER go to an event hungry if you know you’ll have little or no options. That’s asking to fail! Eat a full, satiating meal at home first. If possible, make it a meal you LOVE. Then you won’t go to the event feeling that you’re really missing out. While at the event, sip on water or other compliant beverages.
5-Learn to say no- Don’t go to the event and cave! If you struggle to 1- say no to non-compliant items, or 2- have a hard time declining when non-compliant food is offered, then read Food Freedom Forever by Melissa Hartwig Urban! She covers this wonderfully and you’ll find yourself armed with tactics when you’re tempted to cave. Also, check out #melissaexplainsnotdrinking on Instagram. This is related to alcohol, but also works for food items too!
Remember your why- WHY did you choose to do this Whole30? Was it to conceive a child? To relieve constant headaches and migraines? To attempt to get off medications? Whatever your reason, write it down on paper and if needed, keep it with you at the event. Your why will motivate you through the temptations. Your why is stronger than the urge to eat a slice of cake or bread and butter.
I’d love to hear from you-how do YOU survive a function while on a Whole30? Leave a comment below!
“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.” -Melissa Hartwig Urban