Suffering with chewing difficulties can sometimes get in the way of your daily life and you might feel a little pressure when it comes to socialising. After all, socialising and eating tend to go hand-in-hand. Feeling embarrassed, frustrated, and a little shy when it comes to eating is completely normal, but we want to assure you that it doesn’t have to be this way. Here at Alimento, we’ve put together our top tips to help put you at ease in social situations when you have chewing difficulties.
If your chewing difficulties are new, then it's better to start socialising slowly... by only going out for an hour or two at a time. This way you can build up your confidence in leaving home and gradually get to a place where you feel comfortable. Leaving home for small periods of time will mean you can avoid mealtimes and stick to eating in the comfort of your own home.
Choose places with no limitations
When you’re heading out, try and choose local places that don’t have many limitations. Options of places to go out for lunch or dinner where you feel comfortable might be reduced, but try to find a local restaurant and check the menu online before going, or call the restaurant to see if they have suitable options or whether you can take something of your own. Our Birds Eye Soft Meals are quickly prepared in the microwave so some owners may allow you to do this if you explain your conditions.
An alternative to eating in a restaurant is going out for a picnic (when it’s nice weather of course). Going for a picnic in the local park will allow you to prepare and take your own food with no limitations. This may be the best option to make you feel comfortable and confident with eating outside of your home.
Invite those best to accompany you
When going out to socialise, it’s best to be with people you feel most comfortable around. You don’t want to put yourself in a distressing situation so choose family and friends you feel close to. These are the ones that will be able to assist you and make you feel at ease when it comes to eating.
Socialising with others often means meeting up for food. Try to go to places where you would feel comfortable; perhaps places with suitable eating options such as soups or softer foods like fish pie, cottage pie, etc. Those who are close to you will understand there are places where this isn’t feasible and will accommodate accordingly.
Therapy is a great way for you to be able to talk about your feelings to someone comfortably. They will offer a professional environment where you feel safe and this could be a great way to build up your confidence.
You could also consider attending a support group with those who have similar difficulties to yourself. Support groups offer you an opportunity to meet and socialise with others that are going through the same experiences. This will give you the chance to have discussions and ask questions meaning you’ll learn new and different ways to cope with your challenges.
We know it might take a while for you to build up your confidence and go out socialising, but these are just a few small steps you can take to help. Starting slowly is key and hopefully soon you’ll start to feel a lot more comfortable.
If you are concerned about your nutritional intake, we recommend you speak to a health care professional.