If you have a loved one that has certain dietary restrictions that you know cause them stress and anxiety, especially when they are attending events or dinners that are outside of their control, you might be wondering what you can do to help make this whole process easier for them. Luckily, there likely are a variety of ways that you can advocate for and support this person.
To help you see how this might be possible, here are three tips for supporting a loved one with dietary restrictions.
Ask Them What You Can Do To Help
One of the first things that you can do when you know of a loved one with dietary restrictions is to ask them what you can do to be of help to them. By doing this, you’ll ensure that the help you’re willing to offer will actually be helpful to them.
While asking for guidance on how you can be a help, what can also be wise is to come up with some helpful options all on your own. If you have noticed that they feel stressed when eating with people who don’t know or understand their restrictions, commit yourself to doing things like helping them find options they can eat, providing food that will be safe for them, eating in a similar fashion as they are, and more.
Don’t Make Food The Center Of Every Get-Together
For people who have dietary restrictions, sometimes it’s just easier to eat meals on their own. But because so many get-togethers center around food, it may cause your loved one to want to sit out from events where they know their dietary restrictions will be a burden.
To keep this from being the case, you should try to help plan events where food isn’t the center of your time spent together. Rather, try to plan activities or events where food won’t be a part of the equation. This could include things like taking a class together, going out to an event, visiting a mutual loved one in the hospital or assisted living facility, entertainment options, and more.
Keep Restricted Foods Out Of Sight
When you are spending time with your loved one and you know that food will be a part of that time, try to keep the restricted foods away from them. At your own home, seek to keep these items behind closed doors so that they won’t be there to tempt or mock your loved one. And if you’re out in public where you have less control over the situation, try to help your loved one to keep a safe distance from these foods, especially if the reason they are restricted is due to an allergy.
If someone you love is living with food restrictions, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you find ways to support them through this journey.