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Friends Influence What We Eat

January 17, 2014, 6:18 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Friends Influence What We Eat

Friends enjoying the same type of meal at the same restaurant -- it's a common sight across the country.

"Hy-chi--it was what we all wanted," Dan Marlette said.

But is it really what they all wanted?

"You don't want to be the odd one out, so you just go along with it sometimes -- just whatever they want," Noah Weber said.

"You just don't want to be the weird one who gets the healthy food," Marlette said.

That's not uncommon. According to a new study published in the "Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics," our eating habits are influenced by our need to fit in.

"If we are going out to eat or are in a cafeteria and someone orders a cheeseburger and fries, we might be more tempted to want to choose what they're having," Avera/Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian Janine Albers said.

Registered Dietitian Janine Albers says that could be because the food sounds good or you just don't want to be different.

"We think of peer pressure as something just children and teens go through, but adults can also experience it because we want to fit in also with our friends," Albers said.

Albers says if you want to eat healthy, you should mentally prepare yourself before eating out with friends. Tell yourself what and how much you want to eat.

"Maybe chose the restaurant where you are going to eat. It would be important maybe to avoid all-you-can-eat restaurants unless you can have good self-control," Albers said.

Another tip--you should order what you are eating first. That way your friends don't influence you as much.

You can also ask a friend if he or she would like to split a meal with you, or you can take part of the meal home. Most importantly -- remember the old saying, "Just because your friends are doing it, doesn't mean you have to."

"We have to remember that we are in control, and if we want to make changes, we are the only one. Ultimately, it lies with us in regards to what we chose," Albers said.

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