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How does a healthy eater not offend?

Hello, chowhounds! I've been a lurker here for a while but now I'm legit. :-)

Here's my question. I am about to go on my first ever vacation with my boyfriend's family. I love them dearly. They've been wonderful to me. However, I'm afraid we have very differing palates. I don't think I'm a "foodie" in the technical sense, but I am very mindful of what I eat. I prefer real, whole foods as opposed to things that come from boxes and cans. They are just the opposite. The menus have all been planned for the week, and as I feared, they contain mostly processed junk.

I will be bringing healthy dishes to supplement, so I have something to eat! But I am afraid of offending them if I do not eat their food. How would you handle this? Thanks much for your advice!

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  1. If you're not offensive, they won't be offended. You've expressed yourself about what you think about they eat. You go into this feeling that way, you're likely to have problems. Too bad, for you and for them.

    1. Just don't complain; educate them without being patronizing. offer to cook for them and use better ingredients if available.

      If that does not work, just eat as little of their food as possible, get smaller portions,...

      But remember, keep your smile.

      Good luck.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Maximilien

        Yeah, it's just a vacation, so smile and eat the beanie weenies. If the relationship lasts, you'll have plenty of opportunities to cook good food for them, and who knows, maybe even convert them!

      2. Make it about you and not them.

        I would just tell them that you are watching your diet very closely right now to deal with your overall health improvement. Therefore, bringing your own food and choosing not to eat some items is something you need to do for yourself right now.

        "Gee, that looks good but I think I better stick with my_____".

        Don't be afraid to be self deprecating..." wow, those nacho cheese sticks sure sound better than my boring apple slices...so don't tempt me" ;)

        Smile alot.

        9 Replies
          1. re: sedimental

            "wow that mac&cheese looks so good, but it would be quite a splurge for me. i'll have just a taste, and savor it." you can also show (genuine) interest in the recipes/preparation of foods and give appropriate compliments w/o comment on fat content or nutritionally void white flour or what have you.

            you also don't want to come across like a weirdo, a snob, a nutcase, or someone w a serious eating disorder, just sayin.' so don't reject *all* of the food, and don't talk about the food constantly or ever set out a "your food/*my* food polarity-- and maybe some of it isn't that bad, in a small portion, once a year. . . as others are saying, it won't kill you, and eating each others' food is how human beings show acceptance and caring, be sensitive-- and this will be what they remember about you, not your "different" eating habits.

            also i would just like to say: it's possible that the foods that have been planned for this family vacation-- cabin? lakeshore? seashore? cottage?-- are not entirely reflective of "normal" for everyone in the family's eating habits either, same as a holiday meal, they may be dishes the family has associated w the summer home for 30 years, since great aunt mildred brought her casserole recipe 30 years ago, so that nobody would have to work hard to cook for so many people on vacation, and do all the dishes afterward. or commonly folks when on vacation feel that it's okay to consume as much velveeta and cheap beer as possible, and that's okay too :)

            1. re: soupkitten

              Soupkitten, that is a VERY good point! I know everyone making food is making it from the heart, to share with everyone so we don't all have to do the cooking for ourselves. And it may be those recipes are sacred family traditions! Thanks for the perspective.

              1. re: granolagrl

                hee hee! or maybe not so much sacred family traditions as items that are tried and true and they haven't (previously) offended too many people too much, and they don't require too much prep time or special equipment.

                i know a guy who deer hunts (different scenario i know) out of a *very* bare-bones cabin once a year and although he's a pretty excellent scratch cook under normal circumstances, at the cabin, he makes his "famous dump chili," which is pretty much some browned meat and the contents of several cans, thrown together in a crock pot for the duration of a hunting day, for himself and his companions. why? it's traditional, it's easy, by all reports it tastes fantastic after a chilly day tramping around in the woods, and after all, the expedition and the companionship is the focus of the trip-- great meals can come later, when it's "back to civilization!"

                1. re: soupkitten

                  On one geology field trip, we stopped at a grocery, where everyone in the van bought a can of chili of their choice. Then in camp, they all went into the common pot.

                  1. re: paulj

                    i like it! the chili may have been great, or totally disgusting, but everyone gets equal blame or credit, since you all "cooked" it together! :-P

                    and look-- you still remember it all this time later. how many other meals from that same year do you remember?

                  2. re: soupkitten

                    EVERYTHING tastes better in the woods!!

                    1. re: CanadaGirl

                      yarly. dehydrated beef stew for me.
                      (actually, halva tasted worse. trying to eat a pound of it at once was a mistake.)

              2. re: sedimental

                I like sedimental's strategy; I generally make myself out to be a (hilarious!) crazyperson, so I'm asking the host/cook not to reject me, as opposed to me being in a position to reject their food.

                If there's something you really don't want to eat, then saying, "Those loaded potato skins look great, but I'm always sorry when I eat them" is also a fair way to make it into a personal health issue for you and not a snob issue about food quality.

              3. I have the same problem with my husband's family when we are all at the cottage. The "keep the peace" solution I need to follow is to bring/buy some veggies and interesting add-ins for salad to have with whatever else is on offer. They know that I have a salad as part of pretty much every meal, so no problem. I have enough to share. I do, however, eat whatever they serve, albeit in smaller portions than the rest. But, hey, I have my salad.

                1. Your boyfriend should have given his folks a heads up about your dietary preferences. I've been the DIL who eats healthy and the MIL who has to adjust to new dietary thinking. I don't know if I like the idea of your bringing food to supplement what they serve you. It is going to make you look like you think their food choices are not good enough for you, and yes that is the case. But this is the first meeting, no? Is this the impression you want to leave them with?

                  Ask your BF to mention that you like a nice salad with your meals and oatmeal for breakfast. These are reasonable requests. Make neutral comments about the food--how colorful it is, or how much preparation went into it. You don't have to eat a lot. A little won't kill you. Nosh down on the salads.

                  At some point you and your BF can, a. cook his family a nice healthy meal or, b.treat the family to a dinner out at a nice restaurant that offers healthful choices.

                  I don't think it is fair to inform the potential in-laws that you won't be eating their unhealthy food on the day you arrive! BF needs to run a little interference here for you. His parents need time to adjust their menu plans. Even if their cooking is not low fat, low meat, or low carb, if it prepared in traditional ways, you might be able to view it as "authentic" which might help your attitude toward it. Remember, you won't be eating this regularly for the rest of your life.

                  I adjusted my cooking for my son who went through a vegetarian phase. I respected his wishes, and it didn't kill me to do things for him. But I appreciated knowing this before his arrival.

                  (I hated my in-laws' cooking in every way. But eating it didn't kill me. And I wish now I'd been a bit nicer than I was about it.)

                  1. Just be respectful when talking to them about it and don't speak as if their diet is inferior to yours. We eat very, very little processed food and don't drink soda, but the rest of my extended family does. We also don't eat fast food. Yes, it can get a little difficult to maneuver eating together, but we haven't had problems because we're cautious when we discuss it. We don't judge them or try to change the way they eat. We don't say anything that makes them think we feel that our diet is better. I mean, we *do* think it's better or we wouldn't eat this way, but we don't compare our diet to theirs. Sometimes we even compromise to keep the peace. The one thing I *won't* compromise on is eating fast food, though.

                    I do know that they are aware of how we eat, but there are still some surprises. My aunt was visiting a couple of weeks ago. She is a self-proclaimed "junkfood junkie" and I bought a few food items I knew she would like. For lunch one day, I asked my 9yo dd if we should bake a frozen pizza for Auntie, and dd's reply was, "What's a frozen pizza?" That question took Auntie by great surprise and she asked incredulously, "She's never had frozen pizza?!?" I just said, "no". Left it at that and we had the pizza for lunch. (Dd did not like it and said that it tasted like cardboard, but she didn't say anything to that effect in front of Auntie.)

                    We've been dealing with this for 10 years and have yet to offend anybody. It can certainly be done!

                    1 Reply
                    1. I'm with Canada on this though I also would assume by this point you would have had meals with your BF's family and faced this issue...what have you done in the past? I personally would not make any requests for particular items but would offer--as a good guest does--to bring some things along or you could just bring them. A big basket full of fresh fruits and vegetables can hardly be something that would not be appreciated as long as you're willing to clean, cut, cook it. And I have the feeling I would also skip any conversation about being a healthy eater because we know what that makes them. You said they've been wonderful to you, so return the favor and have a fun week.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: escondido123

                        I agree, but it would'nt do permanent damage to you if you were to share some of their food while on vacation. You could probably eat a load of unhealthy food for a few days or a week and still maintain your health, returning to your regimen after the trip. I'd make as small a deal as I could about it.

                        1. re: escondido123

                          Yes we have had several meals together. I always just bring a dish to share that I can eat and sort of nibble on what they have made. That works for one meal, but this will be 3 meals a day for 10 days. I will definitely be bringing plenty of fruits, veggies, etc. to share. I would never say anything to make them feel inferior. I am just afraid that after not partaking of their dishes for several meals, they are going to notice! :-) I'm just not sure what to say when they ask if I don't like their food...

                          1. re: granolagrl

                            I know when your young 30 meals seems a big deal.....but trust me just handle it like you have handle the one meal....it will be worth it in the long run.

                            1. re: LaLa

                              I have read your other post on another thread and see that your in your 30s but being a healthy eater is not really the whole story either?
                              From the other post I gather that you are a vegetarian and just don't eat alot of things....if this is the case surely they know this....

                            2. re: granolagrl

                              If you've already have shared several meals with them and you are in a committed relationship with your significant other than this is an issue that has to be dealt with or you'll be dreading family visits for years. Your boyfriend needs to speak up for you BEFORE the visit. Even if you plan to share your fresh fruits and veggies daily, if you bring them as a surprise, the gesture may be taken the wrong way. As others have pointed out, to simply nibble your hosts food for 10 days will be perceived as rude. There's not much you can do about that, unless you communicate beforehand. I'm actually in a similar situation, though not as extreme. I'm visiting my friend's Croatian relatives for a week who love stinky cheese, raki (a strong liqueur) and pork. I despise cheese in all forms and pork, and as I'm trying to get pregnant the booze is pretty much out:} However, my friend is already planning to inform them in advance of my dietary "quirks". Thankfully as they use fresh ingredients I'm sure I can find something to eat and am not worried. Also, I've learned to have a sense of humor about things like this. When you come into a situation with positive energy, that's usually what people perceive, and vice versa. Good luck!

                          2. Granolagrl, Your other post on this board says you're a vegetarian....is that an issue you have to deal with too along with junk vs healthy?

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: escondido123

                              Hi escondido, yes I am a vegetarian but the fact that they eat meat and I don't isn't really an issue. I am always happy to bring an alternative dish for myself and to share (like making homemade black bean burgers to go with their hamburgers and brats). It doesn't bother me that others eat meat! I just try to avoid things like potato gratin from a box, etc. I understand what others are saying though about it being vacation, and I will lighten up. :-)

                                1. re: LaLa

                                  I was vegetarian for 25 years, and I'd often just take the turkey and cheese sandwich, remove the turkey, and scarf down the rest. That may not work if it's some religious prohibition, but I tried to be as non-high-maintenance as possible.

                                2. re: granolagrl

                                  What is wrong with potato gratin from a box? Is it merely the box, as opposed to fresh? Would you object if they made a gratin from freshly sliced potatoes? Or are you trying to stay away from fat, salt, cheese, dairy, starch, etc?

                                  While I use few instant or canned foods at home, when camping I have no qualms using instant mashed potatoes, biscuit mixes from package, and various canned items. I don't have space for tons of spices and raw ingredients in my camping gear. Cooler space is limited. Dishwashing facilities are primitive. So those convenience items are worth it.

                                  Bringing a salad to a meal is one thing, trying to add your own 'raw and healthy' foods to a week's worth of meals is quite another. They wouldn't appreciate it if your tofu and sprouts took up the fridge or cooler space, leaving no room for their burgers and brats. :)

                                3. re: escondido123

                                  I really think that a truly considerate family would make sure you have something to eat at every meal that did not have meat in it. I mean, an entree you could eat. Once again, I recommend getting your BF to mention this to his parents.

                                  I've done veggie entrees. Its no big deal. You are eating for your health's sake, so they should respect that. I think bringing fruits and some treat food to share is fine; but I wouldn't bring sacks of food for myself. You guys might have to dance this little dance for a long time, so I hope you all get off on the right feet together. Have a good visit!

                                4. Artificial food coloring, MSG and the like give me migraines, but I've found, when absolutely necessary, it's also a good way to excuse not eating unhealthful food - that, and vague "stomach issues." It's sort of a nuclear weapon if they get too pushy, I think, because it makes people uncomfortable if you suggest their food is making you sick, but when I get around particularly pushy hosts, it's nice to have in the arsenal. A simple, "It looks absolutely delicious, but unfortunately MSG/preservatives/what have you tend to give me an upset stomach. It's really frustrating to not be able to eat so many dishes! But there are worse things in life, I guess...luckily, I like fruit, so I always have something I can nibble on, thanks!"

                                  1. I haven't read through all the replies yet, but another thought is to act like you're bringing stuff out of a sense of wanting to contribute to the joyous group meals and just act like it's normal stuff you eat and isn't any different than their stuff. As others have said, just make a show of trying a little bit of this or that and be polite. I have been on trips like this an I suggest you bring a stash of healthy bars, like Lara or Kind bars or whatever as you are going to be hungry only eating your food and just teensy bits of whatever, no matter what you bring. Quiet late-night snacks in your room alone or with your BF without the rest of the family knowing won't hurt anyone.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: rockandroller1

                                      For a short term visit that's fine but she will be there for 10 days. Also, I'm assuming that she plans on being in this family for the long haul. Should she have to rely on bars for the rest of her family visits for the next 20 years? I go back to my original opinion; communicate, communicate, communicate.

                                      1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                        He's her BF, not her DH. If they were married and she was committed to going on a 10 day trip with them every year, then yes, I'd say it's time to speak up, once you're part of the family. At this point, she is just a houseguest. I don't think it's the time to elbow around.

                                    2. LIE! Be polite and poke fun at yourself. "Oh my stupid sensitive stomach! I just LOOOVE hot dogs and potato chips but I will have tummy issues all week if I have it." And offer to make a surplus of your food so others can share. I think that keeps the peace and won't offend.

                                      1. I would just try to be a great listener and a fabulous conversationalist, eat what you want without making a big deal of it, and don't focus too much on the food. They will remember your smile, your jokes, and your delightful presence a lot more than what you did or didn't eat.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: visciole

                                          Perfect recommendation. Your delightful presence...bolster that by helping out a lot anywhere in the house!

                                          1. re: visciole

                                            100% agree with you visciole, food conversations will become food arguments. As one poster months ago here said 'don't yuk my yum'. I really wouldn't make comments about your sensitive stomach or any other problems you have with food, better they should think you a picky eater than a sanctimonious preacher. Just have fun and get to know each other.

                                          2. Be respectful and accommodating.

                                            It appears that your dietary preferences -- i.e. "real, whole" foods -- is a personal dietary choice, as opposed to something based on faith or medical issues.

                                            So, for the duration of the weekend why not just partake in what your (future?) in-laws are eating? Will it kill you to eat processed foods for however long the vacation will be? And, certainly, you won't be eating *every* meal together right?

                                            Just grin and bear it.

                                            Sometimes in life there are things worth fussing over. And then there things that are not worth fussing over.

                                            This sounds like the latter.

                                            Good luck and enjoy the vacation.

                                            1. I'd just "go with the flow" as much as you can during the week or so you're away. Let them know that you don't usually eat this way, so that perhaps in the future they'll consider your wishes. I personally wouldn't bring along "healthy food to supplement"...it will likely make them feel that you are a bit "over-the-top" or overly compulsive when it comes to eating healthy. Eat what you can, go back to eating healthy when you get home...some processed foods or greasy fast foods for a few days won't kill you.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                I don't think there would be any problem bringing along some summer produce though. Lately, everyone that comes over brings stuff from their garden or a farm stand and I certainly don't think of it as a comment on my cooking. But that's just my opinion.

                                              2. "How does a healthy eater not offend?"

                                                By being both upbeat and upfront. For goodness sake, if they don't already know, tell them that you're a vegetarian. It would be a major bummer to have someone as houseguest for ten days not knowing that person does not eat meat. With some advance notice, accomodation is much more likely to go smoothly. Keep it light and be the best guest that you know how to be, smiling and helpful. Personally, I would be happy to jump through a lot of hoops for a cheerful, helpful guest who cares for my son.

                                                By all means bring some of *your* food to eat and share, just as you would if you were the guest of like-minded friends. It need not be preachy nor judgemental, just the thoughtful and helpful gesture of a good guest.

                                                I do not like the idea of playing games or telling lies. You are an adult, your hosts are adults. There is no need for teenage silliness. Good manners go a very long way in smoothing the bumps of human interaction. Have a great time with some of the people you care for deeply and (in your words) "They've been wonderful to me". Happy vacation!

                                                10 Replies
                                                1. re: Sherri

                                                  There's a big difference between being a committed vegetarian and just wanting to "eat healthy". If indeed you are a vegetarian, your boyfriend certainly should make his parents aware of that fact and between all of you the necessary arrangements should be made in advance. On the other hand, if you are somebody who just "likes to eat healthy food", I think you should just do your best for the week and not make a big deal about it. If you truly do not wish to offend, I'd just make the best of it, pick and choose what you like...and even if the pickings are slim, a week or so is not going to do big damage. There is however imho nothing wrong with letting others know (it wii be self evident) that you try to eat healthy.

                                                  1. re: josephnl

                                                    I think that's the middle ground.

                                                    If you basically go for a week's visit and insist on preparing and eating your own parallel meals because you don't approve of the food they eat (even the veggie stuff), you're likely going to come across as pretty high maintenance. So take extra fruit etc. for snacks, make your veggie main course, and suck up the instant mashed potatoes for a week. That's a good balance between your own food needs, and being a gracious guest.

                                                    To put it in perspective - how would you feel if you and your boyfriend were hosting his parents. You've gone all out and prepared a gorgeous meal, with organic fruits and vegetables, all natural ingredients, fresh herbs. His parents arrive, and pull out their boxes of instant mashed potatoes, canned soup, wonder bread and the like, and make their own meal, because they don't like all that fancy stuff, and prefer to eat what they are used to.

                                                    Preparing and eating your own meal when you are someone's guest is something that should be done only when absolutely necessary - vegetarianism, food allergies, religious dietary law - rather than because you simply prefer your own style of food to what the hosts eat.

                                                      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                        Excellent advice. Looking at the flip side certainly does put it into perspective!

                                                      2. re: josephnl

                                                        josephnl, the OP has only two posts on CH. The following quote is from her other post and helps to explain her predicament which I tried to address.

                                                        "Hello! I'm sorry for jumping into your little convo here, but I found it very interesting. I've been a vegetarian since I was 13 (I'm 39 now). "

                                                        1. re: Sherri

                                                          If she's still a vegetarian, she didn't say so in her current post. If so, her BF needs to make this clear to his family and together they should try to accommodate her. Her post talks only about eating healthy; this has no relationship whatsoever to vegetarianism.

                                                          1. re: josephnl

                                                            If you read through all the posts you will find she was asked if she was a vegetarian and she said she was.

                                                            1. re: escondido123

                                                              Her post stated a concern with "eating healthy". This has nothing to do with being a vegetarian...they are totally different! Indeed, I know a morbidly obese vegetarian gentleman whose unhealthy diet is all about cream, cheese, eggs, and other fatty and unhealthy foods. He eats rice and beans covered with eggs and melted cheese on a regular basis...and thinks he's eating healthy!

                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                If you look above, on August 1, two of us asked if she was a vegetarian. Her answer? "Hi escondido, yes I am a vegetarian but the fact that they eat meat and I don't isn't really an issue."

                                                                1. re: escondido123

                                                                  As the op herself stated, the fact that she is a vegetarian is not the issue. Her concern is "eating healthy". Her worry is not that she will have to eat non-vegetarian foods, but that she will have to eat processed foods, and foods from boxes or cans rather than "real, whole" foods, whatever that means. No one is suggesting that if she is indeed a vegetarian, that she eat meat during this vacation. However, if she truly does not wish to offend, she should eat what she can, and not make food the focus of the vacation.

                                                    1. Don't lie. If you are with your boyfriend for a long time (and I expect this is something you want right now!), this will come back to bite you in the butt!

                                                      Honestly, I think you need to be prepared to make a few sacrifices for a week, it won't kill you. Try and pick what you know to be more wholesome and if questioned, don't be afraid to say that healthy eating is really important to you - but try not to be rude or too judgemental about the food. and don't make a big fuss. If necessary, just eat small amounts. It would also be great if you could cook something for them once or twice. That way they will see what you like to eat and perhaps you can introduce them to something really delicious that is also healthy,

                                                      I think it's better to get all this out in the open now. Then, next time, you may find that they remember what you like and try to do something just for you! What you may have to put up with is the fact that your boyfriends family may joke a bit about you being "all healthy". Just smile and don't be a drama queen about it - most people don't mind if someone has a few quirks, but being pushy and judgemental about your dietary preferences really winds people up. Basically, it's better to let them think you're a bit crazy than to be a bitch.

                                                      1. I'm very particular about what I eat myself but what I would do is eat their food, and eat it with gusto, it's the polite thing to do. Anything else is just plain rude.

                                                        1. I love all of these considered replies. My hope is that the circumstances encourage them to be as mindful and embracing of the situation as it sounds like you intend to be!

                                                          Are you going someplace where you could suggest a group excursion to a farmers market? Nothing gets people excited about healthy food more than a good summer market, except maybe being with someone who is excited and dreamy about what can be done with all the bounty! Plus then you'd have the perfect excuse to load up on fresh and healthy stuff without it feeling weird.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: splatgirl

                                                            I do like your idea of a trip to a farmers market, but you are making a generalization that everyone will enjoy it. We don't know if the OP's boyfriend's family loves to cook. If they're anything like my family, if they saw a farmers market they would run away to the nearest department store:} But it never hurts to try!

                                                            1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                              Moreso I was making the assumption that when on vacation people are more open to new experiences, and that when on a group vacation people usually end up being subjected to little bit of everyone's priorities. If this happens to be the case and If one of the OP's priorities is food as it sounds like it is, a farmers market would be a nice opportunity to take advantage of.

                                                          2. Bottom line: you don't get to comment on the host's choice of food, directly or indirectly. You don't have to eat a lot of their food, but you can't make a show of rejecting it, either. There are worse things than having to eat foods for a week that you don't care for; like, say, not eating at all for a week..... View this as an opportunity for you to learn to be more detached from your food desiderata, however wonderful they may be (that is, if the temporary quality of your food is more important than relationships with "wonderful" people, then it's a good indicator that some more detachment in that regard is probably needed).

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                              Well said. Real life offers many new opportunities.

                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                While a little blunter than I would say it, I agree with Karl S. It reminds me of a trip to Vegas I went on recently with high school friends.

                                                                One friend was heavy in high school and now "eats healthy and exercises every day". Rather than see Vegas as a break from her strict diet, or just not drawing attention to what she was eating, she constantly made comments such as "Oh my, I never eat X, it has so much calories" or "I haven't eaten Y in years!" At every meal.

                                                                I don't think it was her intention, but it 1. Made us feel bad about what we were eating, 2. Made us concerned she had a true eating disorder and 3. not want to spend time with her at another meal for the rest of our lives. :)

                                                                I think that should be the goal here - to avoid bf's family feeling like any of those 3. It's like dating - you want to bring your A game, and then over time let them know what they really got themselves into!! :)

                                                                I also think you should bring granola bars, or have PB crackers stashed away (for those meals where you pushed your food around the plate) and a couple of handy excuses. I hate tuna and egg salad, so I once used the excuse "oh my grandma used to make it and it was awful! can't eat it ever again!" which got a laugh, and no one thought funny about peanut butter sandwich!

                                                              2. You could bring a little freezer and hide it under the bed.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: beevod

                                                                  They have little freezers you can hide under the bed???
                                                                  Where have they been all my life?

                                                                2. Make snacks! Or offer to cook.
                                                                  If your problem is that things come out of boxes -- find better boxes! I suggest trader joes or costco, they sell stuff that restaurants frequently use.

                                                                  1. I love canapes and hors, etc. more than I like the main course and most everyone that knows me is aware that I'll bring tasty ones (healthy too but I never stress that particularly) and probably will eat only a small amount of the main course. So why don't you bring veggies for dipping - and the dip of course and other things to make healthy apps for everybody. If its a vacay there will probably be a cocktail hour so...... then you can be too full to eat much of what they prepare. JMHO!

                                                                    1. OP Question: You've heard a lot of opinions so far. What are you going to do now?

                                                                      1. Eat your healthy dishes, taste their processed junk to be polite 'just a little for me', and don't make a fuss about it. Life is way too short to make an issue of food (people who carry on endlessly about what they can, can't, or won't eat are just obnoxious!), and you're not going to magically convert them in a week. DH's family think they're eating 'healthy' because they don't eat breakfast or dessert (they're all diabetics) but the rest of their diet largely consists of processed and prepackaged stuff. It was entirely alien to me when we got married because my family never had ANY of that stuff in the house, but it doesn't kill me to keep my mouth shut and eat their food while we're there for a visit - and I take my own bag of survival rations to quietly supplement.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Kajikit

                                                                          Perfectly stated. If as the op stated the goal is not to offend, then it is necessary to just go with the flow and not make a fuss.

                                                                        2. I take it this is a guy who (at least at this point) you figure you're gonna spend the rest of your life with.

                                                                          So here's a thought. Be honest, open and up front but above all, be diplomatic about it.

                                                                          This is a festering sore that needs to be addressed it sounds like. If they don't like it, too bad. I'd rather someone be honest than lie.


                                                                          1. If this guy is going to be a permanent part of your life (or at least a long term part of it), you are probably going to want to be more pleasing than picky. I think I'd fly under the radar on this one. Smile a lot, offer to cook meals as a thank you (I'll bet they'll love you for this because it doesn't sound as if they enjoy cooking) and when they serve something you don't care for, just put a little on your plate. The great thing about a crowd is that no one really pays much attention to any one person, so if you're laughing and participating in the general conversation, they won't notice that you're only eating the salad and bread.

                                                                            Oh, and you can always try my mom's accidental trick. She once made shrimp creole for a family who was hosting her and they were so thankful for the "sauce" she made for their hot dogs. So make something yummy--romesco sauce, tahini sauce, plain tomato sauce, whatever--offer it as a dipping sauce for their bread or whatever carbs they're serving and then live on that as long as you can.

                                                                            I do have sympathy for you, because eating well is really important while on vacation!

                                                                            1. I think you have lots of great advice, but I couldn't help but think of the scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the girl tells her aunt that her boyfriend doesn't eat meat, and the aunt replies; "What do you mean he don't eat no meat?

                                                                              [the entire room stops, in shock] Oh, that's okay. I make lamb."

                                                                              Giggle. Apparently you aren't alone in this. :)

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Godslamb

                                                                                My son-in-law has an uncle who when he hosts events says proudly "and we'll have chicken for the vegetarians".

                                                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                  Yeah, I know "vegetarians" who eat fish, "vegetarians" who eat chicken and "vegetarians" who eat bacon (!) It's best to ask when someone tells you they're vegetarian what, exactly, they mean.