What everyone else is eating matters! 19 June 2014 We all know the feeling of temptation when we are out with friends who are over indulging in food and wine. Unfortunately we tend to mimic the eating habits of those we are dinning with. In these situations healthy eating can be harder, but certainly not impossible. Did you know that even hearing or reading about the foods your peers are eating may also influence your food choices? A recent review has looked at what happens when we are simply told about what others eat, not just witness it firsthand. Even under these circumstances we appear more likely to change our eating habits to better match our peers. This trend also seemed to carry-over to when we are eating alone. It was suggested that one reason we do this is to reinforce our identity within society. As humans, we are social and often long to fit in with our peers and community group. Perhaps this is one way we do it. How can we use this influence to a healthy advantage? Be mindful! Knowing the influence others have on our eating habits can be a powerful tool. Only when we realise it is a possibility can we put plans in place to reduce temptation. Buddy up with a partner, friend or co-worker who has similar health goals as you. It makes it a lot easier to skip the biscuits and go for the fruit if you have someone their doing the same. In fact people trying to lose weight are often more successful when they work with a support partner rather than going it alone. Surround yourself with the right messages. Even reading about positive and healthy food choices can translate into you choosing them. The Australian Diabetes Council lifestyle blog is a great place to start! Additionally when conversations start to focus on unhealthy foods try and steer the conversation towards a healthier topic. Be a good role model. Remember just because you are eating healthy does not mean you have to fear or avoid social situations. It just means there may be a little extra planning or prep. In fact you may be the one to influence your peers towards making healthier choices. When going out for a meal with friends suggest a variety of locations where you know there are healthy food choices. You may find it less tempting if you know there is something healthier and just as delicious on the menu. If you are going to a morning or afternoon tea offer to bring along a healthier option. That way you can you can be confident there is something there for you to enjoy. Include social outings that do not necessarily revolve around food e.g. a game of golf, a walk in the park, scrap booking or a visit to the local pool.