Choosing to eat healthy is challenging for many people. Swapping French fries for steamed broccoli or ordering a salad with dressing on the side are difficult decisions to make. But then your spouse or best friend orders a burger and large fries, it makes eating healthy that much more difficult. However, you can't let their bad habits sabotage your efforts to eat right. Here are some helpful tips when dieting while eating or living with a non dieter.
1) Switch to low-fat versions of full-fat favorites. Your spouse won't even notice if you start cooking with lean proteins or switched from full-fat cheese to low-fat cheese. So go ahead and use ground turkey breast or lean ground beef in your favorite burger recipe. And make your omelets with egg whites and low-fat cheese instead of whole eggs and full-fat cheese. Just remember to use nonstick spray instead of smothering the pan in oil or butter. Not only will you be saving tons of calories and fat, but your spouse won't even realize you made the switch.
2) Keep healthy snacks on hand. There is no need to have regular potato or tortilla chips lying around the house. Instead buy baked varieties. Also, keep fruits available such as apples and pears that are easy to grab on the go. Having healthy options easily accessible will keep you from munching on unhealthy foods when you're watching TV or running out the door.
3) Switch from regular soda to diet soda. One can of regular soda has 155 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrates. That is equivalent to almost 3 slices of white bread. In comparison, diet soda has no calories or carbohydrates. So if your spouse likes regular soda, make sure to have diet soda available for yourself.
4) Add Fiber-sure fiber supplement. Mix Fiber-sure into any food such as cereal, oatmeal, yogurt and coffee. For each teaspoon, you are adding 5 grams of fiber, which will help to keep you, as well as your spouse, fuller longer and help to avoid overeating.
5) Not all metabolisms are created equal. Ever notice if you try to eat the same way your guy eats you gain weight and he doesn't? That is because men naturally have more muscle mass than women do, so they have faster metabolisms. Therefore, if you are eating the same foods and quantities as your husband or boyfriend, you are going to gain weight. Realize that and stick to your diet. And if you are going to order the same dish as your guy, make sure to eat a smaller portion.
6) Ask for support.Making your spouse, best friend and family members aware of your dieting efforts will help keep you on track. Your mom will stop pressuring you to try her homemade chocolate cake and your husband may even offer to skip out on pizza for dinner.
7) Switch to whole-wheat products. Buy whole-wheat bread and wraps and I promise the refined white breads won't be missed. Instead of regular pasta, use the whole-wheat blends pasta. These products taste similar and just as good as the white varieties but contain fiber and whole grains. Also, have high-fiber cereals available such as Fiber One. This is a great snack to add to yogurt or cottage cheese and even as a topping to a small cup of low-fat frozen yogurt.
8) Don't make food the focus. Spending time with loved ones doesn't have to revolve around food. Go out for a walk instead of meeting for dessert or find another hobby you and your mother-in-law have in common other than baking. Arrange meal times with family and friends who share your healthy habits.
9) Dining out doesn't have to sabotage your dieting efforts. Make sure to start off with a soup or salad so you are less tempted to dig into the fried calamari your partner ordered. Make the decision in advance to order a large salad with grilled chicken or broiled fish with steamed vegetables and order before others do. This way, when the waiter comes around, your mind is made up and you are less likely to deviate from your healthy plan.
10) Have that bite of cake, but not the entire slice. Allow yourself a bite or two of the dessert so you don't feel deprived. But order a cup of coffee or tea so that you're occupied while the others are digging in to that tiramisu or chocolate cake. You will be less tempted to continue eating the dessert if you're busy sipping your tea and making good conversation.
11) Plan Ahead.If you're nervous about maintaining your healthy diet while dining out with friends, do some research and plan ahead. Check out www.menupages.comand peruse the menu for healthy options. You'll be less pressured at dinner and can make an informed, F-Factor friendly, meal decision.
Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.