Here are 10 simple ways to get your family on board with healthy eating.
So you’ve decided recently that you want to make a change in your eating habits by eating healthier. You’re ready to make the switch from potato chips to kale chips, regular pasta to whole wheat pasta, fried chicken for baked chicken. But, the rest of your family isn’t so happy with your new choices! So what do you do when your family isn’t quite ready to join you in your new endeavour? In fact, not only are they not ready, they are kicking and screaming!!
I don’t want eating healthy to become such a struggle in your home that eventually, you decide to give up. So here are 10 tips to help you make this transition smoother:
- Start small: Having an “all or nothing” attitude is setting you up for failure. I suggest starting with small changes and making these changes gradually. For example, instead of regular potato chips, start with baked chips OR try Popchips (totally addictive!!)
- Get the family involved: First, tell the family that you don’t intend to take away Friday movie night (as is in our household.) Trust me, they will breathe a big sigh of relief. Give them a few choices of some healthy movie night snack to incorporate. We like Boom Chika Pop popcorn!
- Cook meals together: Making family meals together can help your kids learn more about the ingredients. When my boys help me chop the vegetables, I find they are more likely to eat them because they know they helped and are proud of that.
- Keep healthy snacks available in the house: Cut-up fresh fruit, No-Bake Chocolate Cookies, skim-milk cheese sticks, and homemade trail mix are good ideas.
- Get creative: Add in grated zucchini or chopped spinach to your spaghetti sauce or meatballs. The kids won’t notice and every little bit helps make a difference.
- Pick your battles: If there is a certain food that you are being fought on by the masses, wave the white flag and pick a different battle. For us, that’s brown rice. So I use white rice instead. I find I’m better off allowing a particular food in the house and then introducing other healthier foods into the mix overall.
- Explore new ways to prepare veggies: If you usually steam veggies, try roasting or serving them raw. I personally find my kids eat more veggies when they are raw, so that’s how I mostly serve them – with some yummy dip on the side too! (Remember, this is all about moderation and choices.)
- Keep some foods out of the house: We keep candy and soda out of the house. That doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy sweet treats! Some alternatives are fresh fruit or Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.
- Limit fast food: If eliminating fast food completely seems too harsh for your family, limit it to special occasions or treats. In our house, when it’s someone’s birthday, they get to pick what we eat for dinner. They can order pizza, get McDonald’s, have a favourite meal made at home…whatever they like.
- Make it a game: Give a few choices for dinner and sides. When the family chooses the healthier option, put a dollar (or however much) into a jar for each choice. Agree to go to the movies (or another activity) when you reach a certain amount of money. Not only are you rewarding everyone for making good choices, you are teaching the family how to make healthy ones as well.
There are going to be times that you question yourself as you make this transition. But don’t allow all the “NOOOOOOO’s” to derail your efforts. Remind yourself over and over that this is about balance and teaching your family healthy habits. As with ANY habit, it takes time to establish. Keep in mind that you are doing this because your family’s health is important to you.
If you have other TIPS, I would love to hear them! Comment below or come and share them with others on my Facebook page.