How to Date on a Diet ?

Seven tips for finding love without losing sight of your health goals.

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If you’re on a diet, recommend a restaurant that can accommodate your restrictions before the date.

When it comes to dating, Jeff Nimoy knows what doesn’t work. There was the woman who agreed to meet him at a sushi restaurant, only to leave her chopsticks untouched because she didn’t like sushi. There was the date who didn’t eat a thing because she had already used up her Weight Watchers points for the day (she was nervous). Then, there was the string of picky eater girlfriends who wouldn’t eat anything he cooked. “I started to dread meal time with them,” says Nimoy, 48, a Los Angeles based writer who blogs about his paleo lifestyle at CookingCaveman.com.

Nimoy also knows what does work. Take the couple who bonded over their mutual love of dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. The pair met through SamePlate.com, the free dating site Nimoy launched in 2013 to help people with food restrictions or preferences pair up. “ They were like … ‘Why do we have to grow up ? ’” Nimoy says. “Even if all you do is eat off of a kid’s menu at a restaurant, you can still find someone.”

Though it may seem trivial, compatible food and drink choices – whether it’s a couple of alcohol abstainers, a pair with peanut allergies or a match made in vegan heaven – matter when it comes to meeting your soul mate, Nimoy says. “Every date, at the beginning especially, is going to be food-related,” he says. “There’s always going to be some sort of food involved, so you might as well bring it to the forefront right away.”

Meal preferences can also reflect general values about health and wellness that are usually aligned in successful relationships, says Diana Kirschner​, a psychologist in New York and author of “Find Your Soulmate Online in Six Simple Steps.” But dissimilar tastes aren’t a relationship deal-breaker, she adds. “I’ve certainly seen great marriages where the guy is a humongous meat eater and the woman is a vegan.”

So what’s a single dieter to do? Whether you’re attempting the Whole30 challenge for the month or are a lifelong gluten-free eater, here are eight ways to stay true to your diet while keeping your dating life spicy:

1. Take control.

After you’ve initiated or accepted a date, don’t hesitate to recommend a place to eat that you know can accommodate your restrictions, says Torey Jones Armul​, a dietitian in Chicago and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

That strategy came in handy for Austin, Texas​ resident Deanna Hendrickson​, 31, during a month when she wasn’t drinking alcohol. “Any chance I had, I’d suggest a bar that I knew had Kombucha​ on tap so I could order that,” she says.

2. Plan ahead.

Even if your date has chosen a bar or restaurant without your input, check out the menu ahead of time online, Armul advises. “That will take away a lot of the anxiety of ordering in the moment,” she says.

Some good options for the health-conscious? A salad, sandwich​ or wrap. “You want something simple and easy because you have butterflies, and you don’t want to have something too messy,”​ Armul says. In other words, save the wings and hard-shelled crabs for date three or four.

3. Be prepared.

On the day of the date, enjoy a healthy snack a couple hours before game time. “Try not to get there starving” so the focus is on the date, not the food, Armul says. The best snacks include protein and produce, such as a banana and peanut butter, carrots and hummus, or almonds and apple slices, she says.

4. Be honest.

Do yourself and your date a favor by being open about your diet.​ As Nimoy puts it: “I don’t want to show up to find out you don’t like sushi when I’m at a $100 per person restaurant.”

Likewise, Hendrickson says, “it’s actually important that a guy is aware if you’re going to keep seeing him.” Openness worked in her favor when she was dating a man from France: He eliminated gluten and dairy when cooking French meals for her in order to accommodate an intestinal bacterial​ condition that can be controlled with a low FODMAP diet.

5. Develop a canned answer.

Still, Hendrickson hates for her restrictions to be the focus of conversation. “I don’t want it to be something guys use to define me,” as “high maintenance” or “someone on a health fad bandwagon,” she says. Plus, the medical details or her condition can be a little too intimate for a first date conversation.

Her solution? A practiced explanation that can quickly and light-heartedly address the issue (“I’d love a beer, but I can’t have one – doctor’s orders!”) Then, on to a new conversation.

6. Give yourself a break.

If you don’t have a serious condition but are simply trying to make healthy choices, remember that “no one meal will make or break a healthy diet or healthy lifestyle,” Armul says.

“You don’t want to be the person that goes to the deep dish pizza place and orders the side salad.” But you can be the person who has a slice – not three – of the vegetarian pizza, and takes the rest home. “There’s always portion control,” Armul says.

7. Have fun !

At the end of the day – er, date – the most important thing is that you stay true to yourself, and that you and your date have a good time, Kirschner says. Remember that the meal is only the backdrop.

“When you are really happy with who you are, it takes it out of the realm of eating or drinking,” she says. “The person wants to feel that you’re happy being with them. That you’re happy – that’s really the bottom line.”

( Source : http://www.fitday.com )

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