By Lauren Denos: 2/12/2015 (Ask Lauren)

Dear Lauren,

I am in a very difficult situation. I am going to school full time and have no job and not much money coming in. The people I live with do the cooking and feed me, but I am at their whim of what they want to cook and they are not healthy at all. I cannot be rude and offend them by asking them to cook different stuff for me. I am not sure how to help my health when I am in this situation. Is there anything I can do?

Thank you,


Dear Kara,

You are very lucky that you have your food being taken care of, unhealthy food is definitely better than no food. Keep in mind that this is not a permanent situation, so do not stress out about it too much. There are a few things you can do to help though.

Use portion control. You may not be able to get the healthiest foods, but you can control how much of it you are eating. Drink a big glass of water about 30 minutes before meals. This will help fill you up a bit more so that you do not overdo it on the rich foods.

Ask them if you can help them cook some meals. If they are providing the groceries then maybe offer to do some of the cooking for them. When you do this you can suggest some of the dishes you are the best at making. Just make sure the dishes you want to make are healthy. Then, have them get all the necessary ingredients, and you do the cooking. This can serve as a way of you getting healthy food, and also being a good influence on them. Also, make sure the healthy foods you are going to cook are not super expensive. If you keep it reasonable, they will probably not have any problem with you cooking more often.

When they are cooking things with sauce, either keep it off or just scrape it off. If food is soaked in butter then go ahead and blot it a little bit. If it is covered in cheese, take some of it off.

Find recipes that you think would be their style, but healthier and compile them into a book and give them as a gift. Just make sure they know you are giving them the recipes because you thought it sounded like something they would like. You know they are such good cooks that they could do these recipes justice. Compliments are always good. You want it to be a gift, not a hint that their food is horrible.

Get a bit more exercise in. You may not have tons of control over your food, but you can go work some extra calories off and help offset all of the rich foods they are serving you.

I know this is a difficult situation, but just do what you can. When you get a job, you can buy whatever food you would like to eat. I am happy that you at least have food to eat! Things will turn around soon!




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