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STICK TO THE PLAN

Eating out doesn't have to translate into eating too much, or eating the wrong things. Prevention magazine offers a few tips to minimize waistline expansion. Bon appetit!

Sit in a quiet spot: People who sit in the more distracting parts of restaurants eat considerably more. Commotion makes it easy to lose track of how much you're putting in your mouth.

Be the first to order: You've decided to pick something light off the menu, but when your friend orders the decadent steak frites, you start to rethink your boring grilled salmon. To sidestep the temptation of your friend's less healthy dish, place your order first.

Don't be seduced by words: Mouth-watering descriptions like "tender, juicy chicken breast" or "ripe heirloom tomatoes" are increasingly common on menus. Be extra aware of sensory terms like "velvety" mousse, and nostalgic ones like "legendary" spaghetti and meatballs. Research shows that words that promote taste and texture or appeal to diners' emotions can increase sales and influence the way they think the food tastes.

Practice the three-bite rule: Try to satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit, and that's it. That said, you can also practice the three-bite rule with desserts if you want to watch your calories more strictly. If you truly want chocolate turtle cheesecake, have it, but limit yourself to a taste. Take three bites and then set it aside for a few minutes. You might discover that those few bites of a great dessert are satisfying, and might be all you really wanted. After your three bites, you can ask your server to take it away.

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HELP YOUR ELDERS? HERE'S HOW

Studies have shown that volunteering is good for you. Here's an opportunity to help yourself and someone else. SHINE, Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, a free program offered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas, is looking for volunteers to work one-on-one with people, providing assistance with Medicare, Medicaid and health insurance questions. To learn more, call the Elder Helpline at toll-free 1-800-963-5337 or visit floridashine.org.

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LOCK UP YOUR MEDICATIONS

If you're a Publix shopper, you may notice they're promoting the Lock Your Meds campaign this month, including giving away a few medication safes. But why wait for a contest? You can buy your own safe - really, just a box with a combination lock - for as little as $25 on any number of websites. Given how clever kids can be at getting into stuff, and what can happen if that stuff happens to be prescription drugs, we think a nice little locked box should be the next hot bathroom accessory.

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WE'RE NOT TOPS IN HEALTH

The 2014 "healthiest American cities" list is out and ... we're not on it. At the top of the list, compiled by Sharecare, are San Francisco; Salt Lake City; San Diego; Denver; Minneapolis; Washington, D.C.; Hartford, Conn.; Los Angeles; Boston; and Sacramento, Calif. Tampa-St. Petersburg, however, made the list of the 10 American cities whose residents are the most unhealthy and, therefore, aging the fastest. The list was based on responses from about 600,000 people living in 50 of the largest metropolitan areas who took the RealAge Test, based on health status and health habits. What sends a city to the bottom? Things like citizens' smoking and infrequent exercise, high stress from unemployment, lack of insurance and lower incomes.

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NIBBLE SHRIMP FOR A SNACK

While you're out today, pick up some shrimp for your next snack attack. Four large shrimp have just 30 calories, plus lots of protein and omega-3s. Buy cooked shrimp at your grocer's seafood counter - most will sell small quantities. Pair them with high-fiber crackers and your tummy should be quiet until mealtime.

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