Visiting friends and family who are not plant-based can be very tricky and requires a delicate balance of grace and diplomacy. You want to do your best to stick to the plant-strong plan, but you don’t want to offend your hosts.

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Here are some tips that will absolutely help you navigate these prickly waters.

1. Always offer to bring a dish or two to share.

Start by calling the host and express how excited and thankful you are to come to their home. Let them know you’ve been on a roll with your plant-strong eating program and you don’t want to put them out by having to prepare a separate dish just for you.

2. A dinner party where everyone is eating standard American food isn’t the best place to discuss all of your nutrition knowledge.

Even if someone asks or brings it up, you can tell them “I’d love to tell you all about it, but now is not the time or place. Let’s talk sometime soon or go to lunch.”

3. Use Dr. Doug Lisle’s “seem strategy.”

If there are people who are insistent in asking about what you’re eating, there is a simple answer that helps to diffuse the most persistent people. If someone starts questioning you about your diet simply respond, “It seems to be working for me.”

4. Compliment the host.

Even if you can’t eat the food served, be sure to compliment the host on how nice everything looks. Also, be sure to thank them for inviting you.

5. Eat before you go as an insurance policy. 

When you have no idea what food will be offered, it’s a good idea to fill your belly with a healthy plant-strong snack or meal beforehand. This will keep you satisfied and prevent you from diving into the contraband! A hungry tummy makes mental midgets out of all of us.

6. Bring dessert! 

Everyone loves dessert! I love bringing some of my favorites: Blueberry Dumpster Cobbler, Date Nut Crust Fruit Pie, or Fruit Salad with Lemon Zest. Everyone loves all of these and they are super easy to make!

7. Sometimes the host will offer to make a dish you can eat.

Give some suggestions and tell them what plant-strong means. Again, be sure that you thank the host for their time and for being so considerate of the way you eat.

8. Drink water and skip the booze.

Be sure to keep yourself hydrated with water during parties. This way you can not only be the designated driver but also the responsible eater!

9. Remember that it’s not all about food! 

I love hanging out with my family and friends. Sometimes we make social engagements all about food when they should be about the people who are there! One of the wonderful things I have discovered is that the longer you stay on the plant-strong path, the more friends you’ll find in your life who are also plant-strong.

When you find yourself visiting friends and family who do not follow the plant-strong code of conduct, remember that you are the only one responsible for your health and nobody cares about your health and well-being as much as you! Stay plant-strong!

This article was originally published on January 28, 2013, and has been updated.

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