I belong to a group called Food Picker, which helps users select foods that are appropriate for diabetics, as determined by RDs and nutrition students. I covered the vegetarian section a while back, posting healthy options to the database.

Every week, members are sent a question from a reader and we can respond on our own blog. I found this week’s question of particular interest…

From: Linda V. (e-mail not disclosed for privacy)
To: [email protected]
Date: 8/19/2010
Subject: tips for potluck?

I attend a monthly book club with friends that includes a dinner potluck in which everyone contributes a dish.  I have type 2 diabetes and I struggle with what to eat at the potluck.  Could you offer me some tips?

I love potluck dinners. Aside from being economical, they’re also a great chance to get to know people by striking up conversations about the dishes they bring. However, if you have special dietary needs, not knowing what’s going to be available can be intimidating. Here are a few tips to make potlucks less daunting:

  • If you know some of the other people who will be attending, give them a call or send around an email to find out what others are thinking of bringing. This can help you plan ahead.
  • If you have no idea what will be available until you get there, take a look at all the offerings before piling stuff on your plate.
  • Fill half the plate with vegetables, a quarter with a grain, and a quarter with protein.
  • Bring something you know you can eat. For example, a salad that includes greens, fresh or roasted vegetables, and some kind of protein like beans makes a great balanced dish you can feel good about filling your plate with.
  • If there’s a dessert you know you want, make room for it. Skip starchy sides if there’s a treat you want to indulge in. Keeping portions small also helps.

Also, don’t be afraid to talk to friends about your concerns. It’s likely they have been through similar situations and would be happy to help you!

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