In this issue’s Healthy Living section I will help you maintain your healthy lifestyle even if your friends or family aren’t up for the challenge. 

When I began to make efforts to change how I was eating, I realized for the first time how much of my social life revolved around food. With among my friends it was, “Hey guys let’s meet up after work for half off appetizers and drinks!” Or home I would have to hear my mother say, “I knew you were coming home some of the spaghetti, meat sauce, and garlic bread you love!” Sharing a huge popcorn at the movies with my boyfriend only to go out for an indulgent dinner afterwards. I felt my social life slipping away as my friends were out having fun while I was completing another set of squats alone in the gym. Below I will share some tips on how to continue to spend free time with loved ones without giving up on your diet. 

At the pizza place: If the occasional pizza slice makes its way into your diet, be sure to make it plain or veggie. Veggie slices are even better than plain, of course, because you’re eating vegetables, but also because the added toppings will help you feel more full. 

At a casual dining restaurant: Try to go for the lean meat and veggie option over fried starches and meats. Also remember: portion size is everything! Meat should be no more than your fist and veggies should fill up half (or more) of your plate. Always ask for a takeout bag and finish that meal for lunch the next day!

At your favorite coffee shop: It is not coffee alone that can cut into your allowed calories, it’s the sugars, syrups, and milk that do the damage. Most tasty drinks like frappuccinos and macchiatos automatically have whole milk in them. Be sure to ask for skim or soy milk and sugar free flavored syrups if plain black coffee isn’t your thing.

At the movie theater: Two tips on this one- Go straight to your theater and do not look back! Hold your nose to avoid that alluring popcorn aroma if you have to. Sitting and eating junk food at the movies is only made worse by the fact you are distracted. Eating distracted can keep you from feeling full. Pack some fresh fruit or homebaked kale chips! 

At Sunday dinner: It is hard to face your mother, father, or grandparents’ prods to eat more of the great dinner they made for you, but sometimes it is necessary. Load up on veggies and watch your portions of meat and pastas, limiting added sauces. 

As many of us know, the journey towards a healthy body and life can be long and complicated. Traveling the road with a friend or family member makes traveling feel a little lighter. If you have a partner in mind who is a bit reluctant, or if you are reluctant yourself, try experimenting with different healthy foods at home. Check out the new juice bar. Purchase a blender or juicer and try making some drinks yourself. Overeating and unhealthy eating can be ingrained into your personal life and is definitely part of American culture. Following these tips and keeping portion control in mind can lead to a healthier, happier you!

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