One of the biggest struggles of dieting is maintaining a social life – particularly with significant others or friends and family that aren’t as food focused.

If you’re lucky, you have someone close to support you in a contest prep or just getting in better shape. If not, there are ways to maintain a social life, but you’ll need to get creative. Here are some ideas and strategies for social gatherings and dates that will keep you on the straight and narrow:

1) Entertain at home


Do you have a hard time sticking to your diet out of the house? Fix that by gaining a home field advantage. Control the menu and you should have no problem sticking to your plan. Your guests will appreciate the healthy menu options, especially if you spice up your pallet. There’s plenty of unique and interesting recipes out there for entertaining guests, and many of them are low carb, gluten-free, vegan or rich in protein. Try some new recipes out, and you’ll be amazed at how your guests respond – and will keep coming back for more healthy and delicious meals! The positive feedback and compliments will help you stay on track, and might inspire others to take up a healthy lifestyle, as well!

2) Fresh air experience


Take your cardio outdoors by planning a bike ride or day trip. Canada has a natural landscape unmatched by any other country in the world, so take advantage of the scenery! There’s so many local landmarks, hiking trails that span hundreds of kilometres, waterfalls, and mountains that have yet to be conquered. Do some research and find some amazing unique natural escapes to discover. Many hiking trails are outlined on conservation site websites and make it easy to follow directions to find the hiking trail right for you, based on difficulty and length, and many are just a short drive away from any point in Canada. Make it a point to check some amazing scenery close to home, and you’ll be amazed at how much you learn by exploring your region.

3) Fun summer activities

go karts

Think of everything that was fun when you were 12 and make it fun again. Activities like go-karting, mini-golf and the batting cages and remove food from the equation. Better yet, pack a lunch or dinner in an insulated bag for healthy meal options anywhere you go. Let’s face it – healthy food options are not so easily attainable these days, even though you’d think they would be. By bringing your own food when you need to fuel up, you’ll be able to resist the temptation of sugary, fried take out foods and stick to your goals.

4) Date night


It doesn’t always have to be a dinner and a movie – take advantage of the local culture by attending plays, festivals and concerts, there are bonus points for settings that allow for interaction during the activity. These are great options for those trying to eat healthier when out, as they’re usually in the evening and after your healthy low carb dinner.

5) The unavoidable restaurant


There will be times you just can’t get around it. Keep your food choices simple, such as chicken or steak with veggies, and for salads with the dressing on the side. Get your burger without a bun, or with a mushroom or lettuce bun. Opt for the whole wheat pastas, or meats without barbecue sauces. Most restaurants will have a healthy option to their menus to make things simple for you. Check calories on your smart phones as you look through the menu. All these things will help ensure your dinner out is as guilt-free as possible.

Just because you’re dieting doesn’t mean you have to go full hermit crab. Use these strategies and tips to find balance and maintain a social life and enjoy the warm summer months!