When it comes to eating healthy and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle, it’s usually easier when you have a like-minded person (or persons) with you on this journey. By working with others, you are able to share ideas, concerns and encourage each other. The other person may not have to be your friend or family, but it might be a professional such as a dietitian or health coach you are working with. This is an example of the power of influence and the impact our social surrounding can have. If you making healthier food and lifestyle choices, try to talk to someone about it! It CAN help make the journey more enjoyable!
Whether you have been incorporating healthy eating habits all along or are just starting to, ideally, the goal is to maintain them. Check out these tips to help you sustain healthy eating choices:
Contribute a healthy dish or drink
When attending a potluck or party, try to bring something healthy you can eat and share with others. Balancing food choices is a good thing and don’t be afraid to be a healthy contributor. Others will appreciate it!
Choose smartly at the bar
This is a common question I have received: What should I do when I’m invited to go out to the bar with friends, but don’t want all the extra calories? Start off by knowing certain alcoholic drinks can be packed with calories and sugar from juices, sodas or sweeteners. Try to avoid those. Instead, choose a low calorie drink like a gin and tonic, vodka seltzer, a ultralight beer or a wine. Or if you choose to not have any alcohol, ask for a low calorie mocktail, sparking water or unsweetened tea.
If you know that certain places have endless temptations to eat unhealthy, try suggesting an alternative. For example, if you and friends are planning a dinner party, consider hosting it at your house, where you have more control over the food environment. At least in your kitchen, you know what foods you have in your cabinet. This is just a method to help control our environment which in turn helps control our food intake and choices.
When going out to eat at a restaurant, take a moment to look up the menu ahead of time, so that way you have already chosen a couple of healthier choices that you’d like to try. This will not only help save time, but it also helps mentally prepare you. You will be less likely to choose unhealthier food options from the menu because to spur-of-the-moment decisions or from hearing what others are ordering.
Learn to say “No”
In social settings, people may offer food and drinks that you are not interested in having. They may even pressure you and make you feel bad. A situation in which this might happen is during holidays when families may gather for big dinners and they may insists that you get seconds, but you know this is going beyond what your planned portions would be. Simply decline and say “I’m really full” or “I need some time to rest”. Try stepping away from the table to check your phone, excuse yourself to the restroom or sit elsewhere in a different room if it makes you feel uncomfortable.