Food. It’s usually an ingredient to time well spent with friends. It’s always a fun idea at the time, to feast while hanging out with friends, but after a while, I always feel bad.

I tried to go on a sugar cleanse but that only lasted one day after a friend brought over brownies and I didn’t want to be rude by refusing to eat any.

Food is ALWAYS going to be involved when we talk about community. Jesus himself spent a majority of his community-building time at the table. So, how to balance all the “treat-yo-self” goodies and make healthy choices?

1. Make Healthier Snacks

Honestly, I prefer popcorn and ice cream over veggies and hummus. But, the sugary goodness that I was consuming amongst friends started to feel yucky. I almost dreaded going to a friend’s home knowing cupcakes and banana bread awaited me. I would try to eat a bigger meal before I went, but the temptation was too great. Let’s help each other out and bring/serve healthier snacks that boost our energy, restore our tired bodies, and leave us feeling stronger.

2. Choose to Move

Give me an evening with some friends and a Pretty Little Liars marathon on the couch, and I am a happy girl. Except for one thing: I often feel lethargic afterward. Instead, let’s make plans to go on walks, hikes, or even a Zumba class. Can food still be involved? Of course! You need to refuel after that amazing workout you did. But our minds, our bodies, and our friendships feel healthier for getting out and moving.

3. Talk About Food

If you are like me and are wondering how to cut back on the sweets, you can talk about it with your friends. Ask if you can hold each other accountable for making better food choices. Start the conversation and open up. That is a great step into understanding how food plays a part in your community.

4. Pray About Food

Bring God into these conversations. Ask him to guide your community toward a better balance of food and exercise. Remember that your surface issues are often pointing to an underlying issue. Need for control might look like over-obsessing about calories. Need for perfection may look like exercise extremes. What god are you serving? Bring these questions into light amongst friends and start asking God to kill those idols and make Him your #1.

Your appetite for good food is not a mistake. You are not sinful for eating all those cookies last night (even though I tell myself that in the mirror). God created us to enjoy good things, but too many good things might become unhealthy. If you’re having trouble with making good food choices, ask God for some help. Do I believe that God can destroy our craving for Puff Cheetos and Halo Top? Maybe. But, I do believe that God can teach us to need Him as our daily bread. Filling ourselves up with God can certainly be the first healthy step we take on our war with food.

Bring your friends into this messy eating journey with you! Don’t do it alone. Community is there to support one another in making healthier choices.