Sticking with a healthy eating plan can be a challenge. Whether you've eliminated gluten from your diet, you stay away from sugar or processed foods or you have a food allergy, you've probably discovered that eating anything other than the typical processed, chemical-laden diet requires some creativity. If you're wondering how to date without straying from your diet, read our tips.

Have a Plan

Have you ever heard the expression, "Failing to plan is planning to fail?" That's true with a lot of things, but it's especially true when it comes to dating while dieting. Taking a few minutes to look up a menu online, or even calling the restaurant ahead of time to find out about options for gluten-free or allergen-free dining, can save you from a lot of trouble and embarrassment during the actual date. When dining out, have a mental list of a few dishes that you know that you can order without a problem.

Plan Food-Free Dates

Planning a date around a meal seems like an obvious choice. It's easy to coordinate with a busy schedule and it gives you something simple to do while you're getting to know another person. However, just because this is a classic standby doesn't mean that it's your only option. Avoid the issue of food altogether by planning a date that is centred on an activity other than eating. Go on a guided tour of your city, plan a trip to a local museum or attend a (diet friendly) cooking or painting class together. While it's (hopefully) inevitable that you'll eventually share a meal with your date, you can save yourself the hassle for now by eliminating food from the equation.

Provide Your Own Food

Now, we're not suggesting that you go so far as to actually bring diet-friendly food to a restaurant, although you wouldn't be the first. Not only do most restaurants have policies against bringing in outside food, but it's incredibly rude and strange (and not in a good way).Instead, forgo restaurant dining in favour of a romantic picnic! Find a good picnic spot in a nearby park and plan out a menu of easy-to-transport, diet-friendly food. This is a wonderful option for those who aren't ready to draw attention to the fact that they have a diet that is different from the norm. However, it is important to remember to incorporate a few different types of food. For example, if you have a gluten-free diet and you're dating someone who does not share your gluten intolerance, try to incorporate some "normal" food for them. You're likely aware that, to your dismay, gluten-free options are generally inferior to their gluten-laden counterparts. So if you are packing sandwiches for your picnic, be sure to offer regular foods alongside your gluten-free fare.

Be Upfront

Some people don't mind others knowing about their eating habits and health goals. Others feel that it is a personal, private decision, and they really don't care to discuss it. Regardless of how you feel, if you're going to be dating one specific person regularly, you can only evade the topic for so long. Eventually it will come up. If you're someone who feels shy about your eating habits, just remember that these days, special diets are as common as conventional diets. New diet trends pop up all the time, and it's not unusual to find someone who isn't eating dairy, sugar, grains or any other given nutrient or food group. If you're upfront about the fact that you have a food allergy or intolerance or that you're sticking with a healthy diet, your date will probably be understanding and helpful.

Dating Someone with a Special Diet

As we've said before, dating someone with a special diet is definitely possible. Here are two things you can do to make your dates a success for the both of you.

Help Them Come Up with Solutions

Eating something other than a conventional diet is a challenge. Rather than focusing on how their diet inconveniences you, help them come up with solutions for eating out. Take the initiative by calling ahead to the restaurant and finding out if their menu can accommodate your date's needs.

Don't Try to Convince Them to Change

Before you try to tell them that it's just one meal and surely that isn't going to hinder their progress or hurt their health, take a minute to step back. If they're committed to their diet, then they're more likely to abandon you before they abandon their eating plan. Instead, be supportive of their needs and goals.

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