How Do You Handle a Potluck Dinner?

By joni55 Latest Reply 2011-03-31 19:43:57 -0500
Started 2011-03-27 19:57:09 -0500

How do you handle potluck dinner? I posted this on another site I am on and wanted to see the perspective from the point of view of a diabetic.

1. Eat lots of everything
2. Eat small amounts of everything
3. Eat a balanced meal from 1 item from each food category but large amounts
4. Eat small amounts from each food category

I am one who pretty much tends to eat 1 item from each food category, though it is tempting to want to try everything. Tonight I didn't do as well though. Our church had a pot luck for our annual business meeting. I had a small amount from a chicken and pasta casserole, KFC chicken (original style), salad items (which was okay) and for dessert, a chocolate chip brownie and a cheesecake cupcake. I would have done better if I had skipped the casserole and the desserts. I am also thinking that at the next pot luck, it might be in my best interest to bring a low carb dessert. I have a pie I can make with lite whipped cream and jello that would help me out and anyone else who is having the same issue.

How about you? How do you deal with it?

48 replies

Bunny Cakes
Bunny Cakes 2011-03-31 15:11:07 -0500 Report

I rarely ever have cause to go to potluck dinners but on the rare occasion that I do I bring one or sometimes two dishes I can eat and know I like. Then I'll take enough of a few other dishes to have a taste so I can honestly say I tried things and still stay close to my carb limit. I also never go alone so I can share things with my fiance or a friend or whoever it is I brought with me, that way I can pull the "You get that and I'll have a bite" trick.

The only items I won't sample are things I absolutely know throw my numbers out of whack.

joni55 2011-03-31 19:43:57 -0500 Report

I like to share too. Sometimes, when my neighbor orders out, she will get french fries and I will eat just one or two. Sometimes I just want a taste and am not really interested in having more anyway.

jlively1 2011-03-31 14:33:12 -0500 Report

I handle a potluck dinner by offering to brink at least 1 thing that I know for a fact I can eat. This way I know that I'll at least have something that I can eat and I am not putting the burden of my dietary habits off on someone else. I know that when I'm at the potluck I'll be able to have something so I'm not starving or tempted to eat the wrong thing.

CaliKo 2011-03-30 08:01:08 -0500 Report

I actually like the potlucks, because I can bring a dish that I can eat, and pick and choose from the rest.

joni55 2011-03-30 12:00:58 -0500 Report

I have decided that I need to start bringing things more, not only for me but also for other diabetics in our church.

jayabee52 2011-03-30 12:23:18 -0500 Report

and you might want to put a sign on it saying "diabetic friendly" so others would know. Maybe even post the recipe on the sign. Maybe it could be the start of a trend there!

joni55 2011-03-30 14:07:02 -0500 Report

I baked sugar free cookies for a Christmas pot luck and they liked them. I made them with Stevia, I think.

QueenJeanne 2011-03-30 07:49:06 -0500 Report

Well, here I am again, just from my diabetic course here at The Ohio State University. Potlucks are a pain in the but when it comes to being diabetic, but you can make smart choices if you stick to proteins, complex carbs, fruits, and vegetables. Diabetics seem to believe that we cannot eat a desert, but we can in very moderate amounts. If you have been on your peas and Qs for the week before the pot luck, have a small piece of one desert that interests you and no more. I have found out that I usually cannot eat the whole thing any way because I have not have sweets a lot in my diet anymore, therefore, sweets are over powering for me. I hope this helps and at the potluck ask how some of the items have been cooked so that you can continue to make the right choices for yourself and enjoy what you can eat and forget the rest. Happy potlucking.

OH, and do not forget to stick to potion sizes. That helps a great deal when you are confronted with potlucks.

joni55 2011-03-30 11:55:55 -0500 Report

Yes, I do. I take very little amounts. Sometimes, I will have a snack before I go so as not to eat too much.

Mizzgreenjeanz 2011-03-29 23:35:01 -0500 Report

I just sit and talk with everyone and sip on bottled water or diet soda if it's available. I was never comfortable eating at those types of events because I have a lemon allergy and you NEVER know when there might be something in there that might make a social ocassion into an embarassing anaphylactic shock episode! I guess to bring something along that you can eat would be a great option…just like when I make a recipe that creates more serving sizes than my family needs for dinner we share with my mom and dad or other family members and especially when it's low carb they seem to really love it. I think a lot of people are afraid to try healthy things…so that helps me to bring people over to the Healthy Side :) If I felt pressured to eat…I'd definitely decline and decline any more invites if they didn't understand the explanation! Life's too short to end it early because of pot lucks! Set up some Diabetic friendly progressive dinners with your friends and family who are open minded instead!!! I am sure there's more diabetics there than you realize fretting over what to eat! Maybe speaking out to bring awareness is what's required to get people comfortable with diabetes and diabetic recipes!

squog master
squog master 2011-03-29 21:33:12 -0500 Report

Can't do salads w/ dressings & mayo as most are soybean oil based & I am allergic to soy.

joni55 2011-03-29 23:23:16 -0500 Report

That's a shame. You can make a salad and bring it with oil and vinegar though.

squog master
squog master 2011-03-30 02:35:46 -0500 Report

Sometimes I do that or I make a pasta or potato salad. Hellmann's started making a mayo with canola oil a few years ago. Full fat though so I use it sparingly. I've also started making my own ranch & russian dressings using Light sour cream & FF milk.

speak up
speak up 2011-03-29 14:23:25 -0500 Report

I avoid eating out at these, I have only been out been out to eat a couple times since I was told I am a diabetic, I don't like having people think stuff about me, the last time I told someone I was a diabetic they left like they were going to catch it, so I just avoid going places where they are going to have food. Heck my own family think I can eat everything, even ask me to make cookies and cakes for our famiily get togethers that I always made, they see no reason I can not make and eat them they said it is no big deal, they act like I am making all this up as to what I can and can not eat. Only one who seems to understand and is willing to listen is my associate at work and did not complain when I changed our diet at the office for lunch, I cook at home and take stuff to work for our lunch and he has never complained as a matter of fact he has told me that he likes the food I fix for him. So at least I have one person who is understanding about all this and will to learn with me.

joni55 2011-03-29 23:22:18 -0500 Report

Some people get offended if you don't want to eat something you shouldn't. They act like your dietary restrictions are just you being fussy and they get annoyed. I don't broadcast my restrictions and just try to pick and choose the best I can.

Pynetree 2011-03-29 10:52:00 -0500 Report

I am afraid that I fall in #5. Start with good intentions, to just eat balanced, small portions…then plunge into failure, and eat too many "just a taste of"…too much temptation on my weak spirit! ; )

usfan51473 2011-03-29 00:21:31 -0500 Report

I definitly am very careful when I go to a potluck. I will generally make something like spinach dip or some other low carb dish that I know I can eat from without worrying about my sugar going thru the roof. I will generally try to stick with proteins and vegetables and ignore the pasta salads. I'm a sucker for potatoes so I'll generally have some of those in moderation. Moderation is the key. If you eat small portions of things that have carbs you will generally not have problems. And by all means STAY AWAY from alcohol. I will bring a 1/2 gallon of sugar free tea or lemonade for me to drink. Or I just go with water. I stay away from the desert trays unless I know its safe to eat.

CatLady34 2011-03-28 22:12:37 -0500 Report

Potlucks are like buffets, the best way that I have found is to stick with the proteins and veggies and try to drink something like ice tea (unsweetened) or the elixir of life, "water". I have another problem which I don't believe many diabetics have and that is an allergy to all artificial sugar so I watch how much sugar I use and try to be really careful. I generally take raw vegetables and a dip to potlucks and that works pretty good at least I know there is going to be one healthy dish there.
I guess what I am mainly saying is Moderation, Moderation, Moderation.
Best Wishes.

Absolutely Ruby
Absolutely Ruby 2011-03-28 21:31:38 -0500 Report

I find it best to make a low carb dish to take and also to eat before I go. That way I'm not very hungry so can pick small portions of low carb foods to nibble on. I also like to carry a bottle of water with me.

MewElla 2011-03-28 18:04:25 -0500 Report

Without question, my answer is #4..Just careful to watch what I eat because I know my bg#'s always tell the truth…Can't fool my meter!!

petals 2011-03-28 17:09:28 -0500 Report

I try to stick to low carb foods, bring my own sugar free sweets, and drink water. Sometimes though I fall off the wagon with a loud bang!!!

joni55 2011-03-28 17:52:30 -0500 Report

One thing that is good is that usually someone brings a sugar free drink of some kind, very often Diet Pepsi, Diet Iced Tea…

Mrs. Alilce
Mrs. Alilce 2011-03-28 16:00:53 -0500 Report

Potluck, buffet, etc I try to avoid because I am my own worst enemy. I CAN find what I could/should eat yet I want that 'taste' of the no-nos. If I plan to go, I plan to low carb the other parts of the day. Then I can TRY to use willpower. It is easier knowing the physical stuffed/bloating results from gluten. I'd rather not suffer that, so I'd rather not eat that.

NellyBelly1031 2011-03-28 14:50:09 -0500 Report

My husband's family is famous for 'potluck' type get togethers…and before I joined the family their idea of veggies were corn & potatoes! After several of these family soirees I realized that it was just in my best interest to bring at least several dishes that I can indulge in, and avoid their heavy carb meals.

NOW I am asked to bring my SugarFree/LowCarb desserts and low carb side dishes, and I've converted them to eating REAL veggies…without butter and ranch dressing!

This has worked for other gatherings too…I think that most people just don't GET IT!

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-03-28 15:54:02 -0500 Report

I envy your success with converting butter and dressing people to our way of thinking. My Mom (aka The Cake Lady) never ever serves a veggie without almost more butter than veggie. She is wise to me and if am allowed to fix the veggie on our Tuesday Nights at Mom's she plops in the butter before it hits the table.

tabby9146 2011-03-28 14:47:43 -0500 Report

it is hard. at our church for example, we have pot luck one sunday every month after the morning service. the majority of the dishes, I eat a little. It is rare that there are lots of variety of things that I can eat a good amount of. when they had red beans and rice (we're talking Southern style too which is worse) I did not have rice, and no sausage just some of the beans in the spicy gravy and not too much of that, a ltitle cornbread, though I know we aren't supposed to have much of it, there weren't many choices that last time, some fried chicken, the fresh squash was cooked with bacon and other 'southern' styles was high in fat, so I only had a little, and all those casseroles! I usually bring something I feel good about eating, and now that we are starting to get lots of good fresh summer veggies already, I like to bring a fresh veggie medley cooked in olive oil and sprinkled with regular Mrs. Dash, and some of my Smart Balance. It tastes great. I like to add squash, zucchini, carrots (though I don't eat a lot of those) fresh green beans, cauliflower, and sometimes I add broccoli too or potatoes, but I pick over the potatoes and have just one or two pieces and a lot of the rest. There is nothing like 'fresh' veggies versus canned or frozen. The taste is so different, and so much better. I grew up with a garden, my father was so busy at work running his pharmacy (he was a pharmacist) and came home in the summer and worked in the garden.

Type1Lou 2011-03-28 14:37:38 -0500 Report

Potlucks are tough because so many of the casserole items are high-carb. I've contributed low-carb foods (salads, cheeses and fresh fruit and veggies—strawberries are in right now in Florida) to potlucks. I limit what I put on my plate to the low carb selections…not always easy. Because much of the population is now dealing with Diabetes, I've found my low-carb contributions are increasingly appreciated and well-received. I don't feel obligated to try everything. If some of the pot luck contributors are offended because of that, I would explain to them why I could not eat their contribution and remain healthy.

Anonymous 2011-03-28 13:23:29 -0500 Report

I usually take a vegi tray so I know I have something safe to eat. Then try little bits of different things.
At my daughter-in-laws wedding I almost poisoned myself with sugar and peppers.(huge allergy) The only thing that didn't have peppers was the sugary deserts. After 8 hours with no food I was shall we say a *itch.
I'm sure it was not deliberate, but We had no transport except through his sister or walking through the bad parts of Denver in Feb. I was not a happy camper. I now carry something I can eat.
Guardian stone

Gemm 2011-03-28 12:55:08 -0500 Report

I try as much as possible from what is available to eat just as I would at home. I also try my best (arthritis considered here as well) to take dishes that I know I can safely eat - especially desserts. I'm also not ashamed to let other people know that what I take is diabetic friendly as many people in our family as well as friends are also diabetic and some don't bother making stuff like that and just eat whatever. I've been doing that for the last 8 - 9 years since my hypoglycemia went haywire and I had to really be careful of my diet. Then, hubby was diagnosed as diabetic so that made it even more important. I also make almost all of our jams and jellies so will often take a couple of selections of that to dinners so anyone who wants some on their bread/rolls (like hubby LOL) can have some that are no-sugar-added (can't say sugar-free as the fruits and berries have sugars in them)

HUGS to all

realsis77 2011-03-28 11:42:19 -0500 Report

Hi! I try and eat the low carb foods , more veggies , no breads and it seems to work out well! I always bring my insulin to pot lucks and bbqs. They can be a very tempting time. Usually the have enough "good" foods that its not a problem. I try to stay clear of the sweets and "bad" foods. Yes I've failed before at bbqs but I got to brush myself off and get right back to eating right. Having more veggies and salad helps a lot! :)

joni55 2011-03-28 12:22:52 -0500 Report

I figure if I do mess up, there is always tomorrow to get back on track. My blood sugar levels tend to run low anyway, but I know not to overdo for the most part.

Hopieland 2011-03-28 11:40:37 -0500 Report

Pot lucks are interesting, aren't they. My church has one every Sunday for lunch after service. #4 is my choice, too. Bringing something is a good idea, but I usually forget. Sometimes my choices in P.L. is one item, and very little of that. When that happens, I choose what I can have and enjoy the company of friends, then when I'm back home, I have a lunch I can have. Waiting that long to eat isn't really good either, so any tips you have…let's here 'em!

joni55 2011-03-27 21:57:33 -0500 Report

Have there ever been times when you completely blew it? I have in the past and would over stuff myself.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-03-28 15:59:27 -0500 Report

Oh no never, unless you were there and saw me it has never happened. ;)
Well… maybe I won't deny the chilli relleno incident.

pixsidust 2011-03-27 21:21:25 -0500 Report

Ah the smells, the crusts, the cheese and chocolate all calling your name and mine if I were there. Bring dessert for all or tuck a sugar free pudding in your purse and bring a main dish you can eat and share.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-03-27 20:43:28 -0500 Report

As in the Musicc Man, "You gotta know the territory. "Maybe a modified #4. If there isn't the right choices from each catagory I'd adjust the other portions. I usually bring a few safe for me items, esp. a dessert. Some places there are no choices that it for me. Then I have a snack item with me and eat from what I brought to share.

MELCHALK 2011-03-27 20:49:59 -0500 Report

#4 sounds the best,when I go to a potluck at church,I take something I can eat to share,and then I toss an apple and some cheese in a baggie for my back up.

joni55 2011-03-27 21:56:18 -0500 Report

That's a good idea. One of the problems I have sometimes is that there isn't much in the way of non-starchy vegetables but it was better this time.

Harlen 2011-03-27 20:09:05 -0500 Report

You do it like a buffet ,you eat right or dont eat ..
Its the4 only way I know how to do it
Best wishes