How do you balance social eating with healthy eating?

When you want to eat well, but you also want to go to brunch/dinner/a party/etc.

Kaki Okumura


Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

We go out to eat to meet friends, celebrate birthdays, or sometimes takeout on the couch with our partner is our idea of a fun and relaxing Sunday night.

While these moments are important for our social or mental health, if we are looking to improve our physical health, sometimes it can feel difficult to balance the two.

But do we need to give up fun to be healthy?

The short is no (phew!)

But of course, like all things balanced there is nuance to this response. Let me explain.

You may need to re-examine what it means to have a good time

When we go out to dinner, we tend to eat a lot, drink a lot, and indulge in all of our favorite foods.

If the occasion calls for it– like a holiday, anniversary, or celebration– let yourself eat to your heart’s content! In most cultures, celebration is often about going a bit over the top.

But I have found that compared to Japanese culture, American culture tends to lean into the excess a bit more often than what may be sustainable– we should keep in mind that a good time at brunch or dinner doesn’t necessarily need to be associated with that feeling of being stuffed.

It is not the feeling of fullness that brings us joy, but it is about the memories we make at the table.

If you find your social life leaning into the excess a bit more often than sustainable, perhaps re-examining what brings us joy can help.

You may need to establish some boundaries

With that in mind, we have a few simple and effective options to find balance with social eating and healthy eating:

  • Choose healthier options



Kaki Okumura

Born in Dallas, raised in New York and Tokyo. I care about helping others learn to live a better, healthier life. My site: 🌱