Introducing healthy eating to your family isn't always easy, but contrary to popular belief—it is doable. Luckily, there are some specific things you can do to make the process easier, but you have to be committed to the cause. If you want to taste success when it comes to having a healthier family, there are a few changes you'll need to implement in order to reach your goal. Read ahead for some ideas and inspiration that will help you and your family get on the right track, and stay there.
INVOLVE THE FAMILY
Everyone likes to have some choices and say over important factors in life. For many people, food is something that is very personal and has emotional ties. Work with your family and keep them involved. Make a list of foods that everyone likes, and allow your family members to voice their opinions. Take note of meals that seem popular. Explain the difference between healthy and unhealthy options to kids, and encourage them to contribute healthy ideas.
If possible, have your family go with you when you go to the grocery store. Another option is to visit a farmers or public market. Have meal preparation be a family activity. Even young kids enjoy helping and being a part of an important job like cooking dinner. By keeping your family involved in the process, they will not feel blindsided or like they don't have control over their meals.
MAKE SMALL CHANGES OVER TIME
Research is showing that unhealthy foods can be just as addictive as certain drugs. Suddenly eliminating all unhealthy foods at once can do more damage than good, especially if you have been eating sugary or high sodium foods for awhile. Instead, make small changes. Start making one meal healthy, but keep the remaining meals the same. Another idea is to start with snacks. Only allow healthy snacks in the house, but still be lenient on meals. Over time, start emphasizing health for the other meals as well.
Encourage your family to try new things. This is especially important for children, although adults can be very picky as well. When someone does try a new food, reward their efforts. This doesn't have to be anything major. Acknowledge their effort, give them a hug, give them a pass on their chores, etc. Being willing to try new foods is important when switching to a healthier meal plan.
A simple way to make meals healthier with little fuss or notice from your family is by adjusting ingredients in your cooking. For example, use reduced fat cheese or skim milk. Chances are that your family won't even notice the slight change in taste.
It may seem impossible, but you can help your family eat healthier meals. It is important to keep them involved, make small changes, reward progress, and adjust ingredients. These steps will make the transition much easier on everyone. You may get discouraged when you first try to implement these practices, but don't give up! If you constantly practice healthy eating, your family will eventually get used to it, and it will be much easier to have everyone on board. If you go back to junk food at the first sign of trouble, it will be tough to get your kids and spouse to go along with it. So stay strong, and think of how happy you'll be when the entire family is sticking to their healthy eating habits.