How to Handle the

The "food police" come out in full force during special occasions. Go to a cocktail party, and chances are a well-meaning friend who knows you have diabetes asks whether you're supposed to be eating a particular food. At a family gathering, your aunt inquires in a loud voice (and within earshot of the entire table) if that's your second slice of pie.

"Some people just think that they know what you should be eating better than you do, and they feel the need to give you their input," says Jackie Topol, RD, of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill-Cornell Medical Center in New York City. It's possible to let self-appointed protectors of your health know you'd prefer they not give you advice—without being rude. Sometimes, however, it actually may require a bit of firmness on your part.

Here's how to give the "food police" the slip:

If you're with family members and friends who start plying you with nutrition advice, tell them that you appreciate their concern, Topol says. "Then tell them, '[Special occasions] are tough for all of us, but I'm doing my best to manage my diet.'" Remind your well-intentioned relatives that even if you're not following your meal plan to the letter, you'll get back on track the following day.

Keep in mind that people have their own ideas about being helpful, says Nancy Copperman, MS, RD, CDN, director of public health initiatives at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. "I see this quite often in a social situation," she says. "The person is trying to be helpful, but it's not helpful to you. It gets to be a hot issue." Deflect the advice by telling the person that you do eat healthily most of the time, but that at a special event, you may permit yourself an extra treat.

Be aware that many individuals without diabetes don't understand how much the management of the disorder has changed in recent years, Copperman says. "Diets for those with diabetes are much more flexible today, thanks to insulin pumps and carbohydrate counting," she explains.  

You might even try turning around a question aimed at your food intake, suggests an article in Diabetes Forecast. Say something along the lines of "Should any of us be eating this?"

Allow yourself a few slip-ups. It's hard to be perfect all the time—especially when everyone around you is eating exactly what they please.

If you're the party host, plan to have on hand plenty of festive appetizers that all your guests can enjoy. These include cut-up raw vegetables with a yogurt and herb dip, shrimp cocktail, and marinated vegetables. "Carbs are okay to have on hand, too, but make sure they have a lot of fiber," Topol says. "It's a misconception that people with diabetes can't have carbs. It's just important to choose the right kind of carbs, and to pay attention to portion size."

Jackie Topol, RD, reviewed this article.




Wahowiak, Lindsey. "Making Peace With the 'Food Police'."  Diabetes Forecast. Web. Nov 2012.