If you’re someone who likes to go out frequently with family and friends, you know that most outings revolve around food. It’s easy to say “Hey, let’s meet for lunch!” or “Want to join me for a few drinks after work?” Whether you’ve just started making improvements to your diet or you’ve stuck to a healthy eating plan for years, you know how tempting these situations can become. Your friend orders a plate of French fries and you start munching on them without even realizing, or your mom asks if you want to split a dessert you weren’t planning on ordering. In most cases, it’s best not to avoid these events completely. Avoidance can help you stick to your plan, but it’s not a long-term solution. Eventually you’re going to be in situations where food is involved, so you have to learn how to deal with temptations. This helps change your new habits into permanent lifestyle changes, instead of a “diet” that you are on and off periodically.
Although it’s certainly possible to stay on track with your diet in social situations, sometimes it’s nice to have alternatives that don’t revolve around food. If it’s your turn to make the plans, choose something fun and different! You might find that one of the activities below sparks a new way to socialize with those you love.
With a little creativity and sense of adventure, the possibilities are endless. Bonding time doesn’t have to mean blowing your calorie budget. Talk to those you love about the changes you’re making and how they can be supportive in those efforts. You might find they are more willing than you expected to try something new!
- Train for a 5K. If you’ve always wanted to walk or jog a race, doing it with one (or more) buddies makes it much more fun! It’s a great excuse to meet a few times a week and chat along the way.
- Go to a movie. Although the popcorn is tempting, eat before you go and bypass the concession stand as you head into the theater. Once you’re in your seat, it becomes a hassle to get up again and interrupt the show for snacks.
- Have a spa day. Manicures and pedicures are lots of fun with a friend. If you don’t have the extra money to spend at a pricey salon, you can do your own spa day at home! Manicures, pedicures, skin treatments- all can be done on your own with minimal expense.
- Tackle a home improvement project. Do you have projects that have been on your to-do list for a while? These could be simple things you just haven’t had the time for, or bigger projects that need extra help. Gather a group of family and friends to help, and in return, you can lend a hand to work on their to-do list!
- Go for a hike or walk at a local park. Who can’t use some extra fresh air and sunshine? Weather permitting, it’s a great way to explore nature and have fun together at the same time.
- Try pottery or wine glass painting. Lots of local art studios offer monthly painting sessions you can do with groups of any size. At the end of the night, you’ve got a nice piece of artwork to take home as a memory of the evening.
- Join a book club. Many people have monthly book clubs that meet in their homes (with lots of snacks and drinks!) Consider joining (or starting) a club at your local library or community center- somewhere that doesn’t involve food.
- Go window shopping. Shopping puts your pedometer to work with lots of walking. Even if you don’t have the extra funds, you can still browse store windows to get ideas and spend time together.
- Ride a bike. Lots of cities have cycling clubs, but if you’re looking for something more casual, find a group of friends to join you on a weekly ride around town. Explore new areas of the city while being active at the same time!
- Try a new class at the gym. Classes can be intimidating the first time you attend, so ask a group to join you. It’s fun to try new things together, and many gyms offer an introductory class for free.