How do you share your healthy lifestyle without turning people off?

by Kim on June 7, 2013

The first official day of summer is 14 days away! On that day, I assume it’ll magically stop looking like a scene from Twilight outside and I’ll stop fantasizing about moving to California every 5 minutes (maybe it’ll switch to every 15).

On that day, I assume, I’ll drink this:

Watermelon Lemonade

Get these:

Nautical Nails

Wear this:

Swimsuit

And do this:

Summer Boat

(Yes, that was just an excuse to show you some stuff I liked on Pinterest.)

Summer also means potluck time. I always get kinda stressed out about what to bring to these things. Specifically, do I go healthy or “standard”? What is everyone else doing?

Who’s gonna be the person to show up with the dip-less veggie tray when everyone else brings chips, cookies, pasta, and beer?

Who’s gonna boldly reveal their healthy-foodie side and show up with something quinoa-based, agave sweetened, or somehow discretely “lightened up”?

And when friends politely rave over it and act shocked when they find out what it does or doesn’t have in it, how many of them will be secretly thinking, “ugh. The health freak strikes again.”

I get it—it does taste good. To people who are used to eating that way. But to others, there might be no mistaking the fact that we cleverly swapped sugar for applesauce. And the last thing we want to do is give the impression that healthy eating means bland, sacrificial eating.

So the question on my mind today is: How do you share your healthy lifestyle with people without turning them off?

I’m probably a little extra sensitive to this because of this blog. Almost everyone I know knows about the blog, or could easily find it (yikes), and I don’t want them thinking, “Uh, oh, the healthy chick is here with her carrot sticks…judging all our food…” Not that I’m crazy healthy-food-centric at all, but it can be easy to assume things based on my blog title.

But even before I started blogging, I’d be a little nervous about bringing something “healthy” to a party. I didn’t want to come off as aloof, like “check out me and my super refined taste.” And I certainly didn’t want anyone who brought less healthy choices to feel like they had to make fun of themselves for it, as in “oh, look at you with your dainty little caprese bites while I’m rolling in with this massive cheesecake.”

So what do you think? Is there a careful balance you need to strike in front of friends, to avoid setting off their health-freak-dar, or do you just let your freakiness flag fly?

Do you, say, balance a super healthy choice with a more traditional one? Do you try to set a good example, or go out of your way to show that you can indulge too?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Also, please help:

What’s your go-to food item for potlucks?

Signature

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

dietplansforallwomen.com August 8, 2013 at 11:56 am

P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!|

Reply

Jessica @ Prayers and Apples June 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm

ok this just came to me as i was reading your post – but i think what i might do once potluck season starts up again, is bring one “regular” dish and then one “healthy one” just for me (that just so happens to have enough for other ppl to try a lil *wink wink*).. then, if my master plan works, everyone will be like “wow that was actually really good!” and then next time i’ll bring just the healthy dish and ppl will be excited about it because they already tried it before! :) haha i dunno why this big master plan just dawned on me lol
Jessica @ Prayers and Apples recently posted…Exercise May Protect Against Alcohol’s Effect on Cognitive AbilitiesMy Profile

Reply

Kristen@goodngoodforya June 9, 2013 at 7:25 am

I try to bring 1 healthy thing and 1 unhealthy thing. Like quinoa salad and brownies or beer. Most of the time I schedule “cheat meals” around events so I eat some of everything, including my healthy dish. I figure if people can see the changes I’ve made without having to be super-drastic then maybe it’ll encourage them to make some small steps.
Kristen@goodngoodforya recently posted…Mediterranean Quinoa SaladMy Profile

Reply

Kim June 9, 2013 at 1:51 pm

I like the 1-and-1 approach. :)

Reply

Laura@ Fit Running Mama June 9, 2013 at 6:18 am

Great post! My husband will often tell me to make something NOT healthy when we go places but I never listen and I make something good, tasty and healthy! Usually do I do huge quinoa salad that has people asking for the recipe. I’ve learned that I don’t have to hide my overly healthy diet but share it– Baking though is a struggle– Healthy desserts are hard to do with those who bring the real stuff but I love doing healthy desserts for family and friends who share the healthy lifestyle!
Laura@ Fit Running Mama recently posted…Homemade Almond Milk, Day Date and the Celebratory Weekend BEGINS!My Profile

Reply

Angela @ Happy Fit Mama June 7, 2013 at 6:57 pm

I always tend to bring healthier dishes to potlucks. I usually get asked “what did you make?” so they can try it (because it’s awesome obviously). Or my dish will get weird looks because it’s so green. :) At least I like it!
Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…Random FridayMy Profile

Reply

Kim June 7, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Bonus: if no one touches it, you get to take the whole thing home and eat it all yourself. :)

Reply

Presley @ Run Pretty June 7, 2013 at 6:19 pm

“check out me and my super refined taste.” hahah.

I’m the one who shows up all “crap, we were supposed to bring something?!”
Presley @ Run Pretty recently posted…Post-Baby Body: Month Eleven UpdateMy Profile

Reply

Kim June 7, 2013 at 8:02 pm

hahaha well played

Reply

Rachel B @ Busy Mama Fitness June 7, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Oh I hear ya. But you know what, even before I was all healthy-foodie girl, I was still appreciative to the person who brought the healthy salad or the veggie tray to the pot luck. It was something that balanced the rest of it out. And if you’re still feeling tentative, check out this awesome site I found a couple of years ago: http://www.veggienumnum.com/ She has some really delicious, flavorful whole food dishes on here that you’d never know where actually healthy! This is how I trick my husband into eating veggies. :)
Rachel B @ Busy Mama Fitness recently posted…My RunspirationsMy Profile

Reply

Kim June 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Thanks for the link, Rachel! I’ll definitely check that out. I agree about the healthy stuff being important for balance, but then it’s sad when it ends up sitting there untouched, despite our good intentions. :)

Reply

Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama June 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm

All things in moderation, right? Be proud of that healthy veggie platter while being confident enough to indulge in the delicious dessert tray! One of my favorite easy, healthy & yummy side dishes for parties is a PB & yogurt dip with apple slices.

Reply

Kim June 7, 2013 at 4:02 pm

That sounds like a good compromise. I think you’re on to something. :)

Reply

Amy @ Writing While Running June 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Interesting post. I try hard not to talk about running to non-runners for fear of turning them off. But with food, I feel like most people around me are very healthy (it is Boulder-one of the healthiest cities, after all) so just about anything goes. With my family in PA, however, sausage and mac n cheese are the staples. I always find a good potato and green bean salad with a vinaigrette makes a good compromise and is super easy. Or a black bean salad. But it is good to introduce things to people who may have never heard of quinoa, isn’t it?
Amy @ Writing While Running recently posted…Merino Wool in the SummerMy Profile

Reply

Kim June 7, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Yum, potato and green bean salad sounds awesome right now!

That’s a great point that it depends on the crowd. I have a groups of friends that would be more open to healthy stuff than others. With some, I think I’d end up taking the whole thing home with me untouched. :)

Reply

Mar @ Mar on the Run! June 7, 2013 at 1:40 pm

I say let it fly! what a great post. I’m usually the one who brings the veggie tray or a bottle of wine. Lack of time and or prep is generally a factor. But my friends know I am a healthy eater and to bring anything else would go against the grain of who I am :)
Mar @ Mar on the Run! recently posted…Try it, You Might Like it!My Profile

Reply

Kim June 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm

That’s a good point!

Reply

Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome June 7, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Oh I love this Kim! I always feel like people are worried about me judging their meals because of my blog. I’ve had friends say, “don’t judge, I’m only eating this cookie because…” or “I promise I don’t always feed my kids McDonalds.” I never judge but always bring something healthy when attending a potluck or party not necessarily for everyone else but so that I’ll have something to enjoy! P.S. I love that swim suit!
Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome recently posted…Fitness Friday with some gym humor :-)My Profile

Reply

Kim June 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm

I know, isn’t it cute??? Tommy Hilfiger, who knew?

Reply

Erika June 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm

I never know what to bring either. I’m always the girl that brings “that healthy stuff”. I figure I’m gonna bring something that I will/can eat so if it’s healthy than so be it.

Reply

Kim June 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm

I hear you. I like to bring fruit because I assume that everyone genuinely likes that “even though” it’s healthy. :)

Reply

Kelly June 7, 2013 at 12:37 pm

I am always “the picky one” at potlucks, so I always make sure that whatever I bring is something that I like. Worst case scenario, I at least have one thing to eat! I also know that it depends who is attending the potluck – one side of my family is much more healthy minded than the other, so I try to choose something that is actually going to get eaten!

Things that I have brought to potlucks and loved:
Blueberry Muffin Chobani Parfait – http://www.browniesandzucchini.com/2013/05/17/blueberry-muffin-cho-parfait/
Roasted Garlic Potato Salad – http://www.browniesandzucchini.com/2011/07/12/roasted-garlic-potato-salad/
Creamy Parmesan Orzo – http://www.browniesandzucchini.com/2012/03/20/creamy-parmesan-orzo/
Kelly recently posted…Wordless Wednesday June 5, 2013My Profile

Reply

Kim June 7, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Thanks so much for the ideas, Kelly!! Totally agree that it depends on the crowd. I think a veggie tray would be ignored on either side of my family, haha.

Also, really weird that I had to approve this comment. Wordpress somehow forgot you?

Have a great weekend!

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: