Eating and socialising

Food gives us what we need to keep our bodies healthy and energised. But it is also an important part of our social lives, whether we are spending time with family and friends at meals and barbecues, or celebrating with treats like cakes. Sometimes we eat a favourite food to reward ourselves.

Even when you have successfully changed to a healthier balanced diet, you may not always feel like following it strictly. This is normal. Everyone enjoys having an occasional treat or meal out. You could try having a smaller portion than you would normally have. But if you are eating well most of the time, you can allow yourself less healthy foods when socialising or celebrating.

Another idea is to have one ‘free’ day a week, when you eat whatever you want. You may quickly find that the healthier you eat, the less you crave the so-called ‘forbidden foods’. Your idea of treats may also change to healthier options.

Fast foods and eating out

Fast food is usually high in energy and fat. If you eat a lot of fast food, it’s important to cut down.

Last-minute eating decisions can result in buying fast food and take away food, so try to plan your healthy meals and snacks in advance. You can do this by recording what you eat in our food and activity planner.

Even when you’ve changed to a healthier way of eating, there may be times you want to be more relaxed about it. You can still enjoy the occasional treat or a meal out with family or friends.

If you are having take away food or eating out, you could:

  • look for the healthier options on the menu
  • ask about the ingredients in meals
  • ask for a smaller portion size
  • order a starter as a main course
  • share a main course with someone
  • order fruit salad for dessert.

We have more information and advice about healthy eating and cancer

I have five portions of veg a day. But I eat meat. I use butter. I drink alcohol. And I do those things in moderation rather than give them up.


Watch our diet and cancer - ask an expert playlist

In these videos, Jane Clarke talks about a variety of food groups and answers your questions about diet and cancer.