You are so proud that you are making changes to eat healthy. You feel great and are enjoying a healthier lifestyle – but, you are meeting resistance at home (I’ve been there – so I know how much of an issue it is). You are tired of making two meals and frankly, you care so much about your family that you want to jettison the junk food.
Then, you have the backlash!
I wish I knew some of these tips when I was trying to convert my husband. So, I learned the hard way.
So what do you do to instill a healthier and more nutritious lifestyle for your family?
- Do it gradually! Slowly make unannounced changes by making swaps that are healthier. Try low carb tortillas vs regular flour tortillas. Use more veggies in your meatloaf. Buy hummus and carrots vs. potato chips and dip.
- Be a role model. Model the eating habits that you would like your family to adopt. Don’t proselytize – they will notice the difference.
- Get your kids involved in the cooking process. It is sad, but – most people don’t cook anymore. When kids see what goes into the food – and, help prepare it, they take ‘ownership’ of that part of the meal. But, don’t force them to make something you know that they will not like – start with something that you think they WILL like.
- Look at new ways to prepare vegetables. Oftentimes, people don’t like a certain vegetable because of the texture. So, if you boil (or microwave) – check to see if they would like them roasted. I love roasted veggies (carrots, butternut squash, parsnips, brussels sprouts, green beans – you get the idea).
- Don’t be a Pharisee. In other words – don’t make rules. This will backfire on you – and, you want your family to willingly come to eating healthy. They should not feel like hostages.
- Keep healthy snacks in plain view. Put fruit in a lovely bowl for after school snacks. Pre-cut vegetables and make healthy dips for the family. They may still want the chips – but, make a deal with them to at least have something healthy BEFORE the chips.
- Eat together as a family. I mentioned being a role model – it is hard to be a role model if everyone else is getting food at the local take-out place.
- Don’t force anyone to clean their plate. If they don’t like a food, they don’t like it (for now). They also may be truly full. Honor that in them – and, also with your appetite. The ‘clean plate’ club no longer applies.
- Limit juices and sodas (regular and non-caloric). Stop with the never ending juice box train. These things are just sugar. If they want orange or apple juice – give them the real fruit!
- Go to your city’s Farmers’ Market. Kids are tactile. Going to the farmers’ market (or neighborhood grocery store) allows children to get involved in making choices. Questions would include:
- What is in season?
- Is it organic?
- Can I taste some?
- Is it locally grown?
I hope this helps. Just be patient – it will pay off in the end!