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by Abigail Van Buren

Grieving Daughter Rebuffs Friends' Comforting Words

DEAR ABBY: Over the past two years my daughter and son-in-law have lost a lot of weight. They, as well as my grandsons, eat very little and don't like being put in the position of having to order food.

My problem is not knowing how to celebrate without food. When I think of holidays, I think of a family meal. I'm usually imaginative, but this stumps me. Any ideas? -- STUMPED IN SACRAMENTO

DEAR STUMPED: You're not alone in associating food with socializing. Eating is so ingrained in our culture it seems to have become our national pastime. However, it doesn't have to be that way.

Rather than plan a meal, invite your daughter and her family to a movie, sporting event -- even a short hike, if you're up to it. And if you feel you must serve something, offer to bring along a healthy snack, such as fruit or veggies, that they can enjoy if they get the munchies.