You have been working toward making healthier changes to your diet. However you seem to be struggling to get the rest of the family on the same page.
You love them and want them to be a part of these healthy food changes with you. This will be both helpful and supportive to you in making changes.
The bottom line is that you want to see your family healthier because you care about them.
How do you go about eliminating the junk food that they have become so used to and get them into taking on positive food choices.
The answer is that it needs to be gradual, one step at a time and staying positive that it can be done!
Getting the Whole Family on Board Eating Healthy
Growing up in the 50’s & 60’s
Growing up in the 1950’s/60’s, there was no such thing as junk food or fast food. A typical meal for me consisted of some type of meat, sometimes fish and vegetables. My mother wasn’t a great cook but she cooked so we did have fresh food, but it was just a bit overcooked. However the rest of the day’s meals weren’t so great breakfast consisted of wheetbix, coco pops, rice bubbles or cornflakes, sometimes with a couple of pieces of toast. You had to have one with vegemite and then you could have the other with jam. Lunch mainly consisted of a fritz and sauce sandwich that more than often ended up in the bin. I did get usually two pieces of fruit per day which mainly was an apple and a banana. There was no soft drink, potato chips. Takeaway meals were rare but this was mostly fish and chips.
Decision to Eat Different
On becoming a young adult and commencing work I began to have more control over what I could eat. I wasn’t a terribly healthy young adult and learning about what to eat wasn’t easy back then as there wasn’t the information that there is now. So it was a lot of trial and error. However because I didn’t like the food that I had been eating it became very important to me to firstly enjoy the food I ate. So I decided when I got married that I needed to learn to cook. I started with simple meals – roasts and vegetables, then chicken dishes. Fast becoming a nation of many cultures this was exciting I began experimenting with Italian, Asian and Greek dishes. These were not only yummy, I learnt more about how they could support my and my husbands health.
This became a little more interesting once we had children, as I wanted firstly to be a Mum who was a good cook and would cook and prepare meals that they would also enjoy. Now I must say here I wasn’t perfect but we slowly got there.
Here is How!
Making the Healthy Transition for the Whole Family
#1 –Stop Buying Junk Food for Home!
You don’t have to make an announcement to the family about the changes you are making. Just begin implementing them gradually. Begin with not buying any form of fast or junk food for home when you do the grocery shopping. Yes it was easy for me as I was the one responsible for the grocery shopping. I remained adamant about this.
Start making healthier swaps, look at labels purchasing foods without chemicals, artificial flavours or colours. I began baking muffins, slices even cooking your own popcorn from scratch. Just the plain old popcorn that I cook in a saucepan with olive oil. Change your rice and pasta over to wholemeal, again you don’t have to announce it. “Just Do It.”
When making spaghetti bolognaise: Firstly start with preservative free and lean mince or better still chicken mince. Use less of it and grate or use blender and add vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot. You can even sneak in some spinach and kale.
If you don’t make big announcements of the changes and just implement them gradually, it will make it easier for you.
#2 – Don’t Make Food Rules!
This has been a tricky one for me, especially now that I am a grandmother. Yes I am still learning, but I have to admit even with my sons’ I didn’t ban them from certain foods which just limited them.
I have learnt not to make rules as such, but I must admit I do explain what is wrong with having foods that are bad for you and the reason that I don’t buy them. It is not a positive thing to forbid things as such, but I have found when you explain the reasons why, simply and because of your love for them. It all works out. You are never able to control someone else, but you are able to be a great mentor with the ability to set a good example.
#3 – Appreciate Who You Are and Take Care of YOU!
Eliminating any deep seated issues that you may have toward your body is vitally important, you can do this by having a gratitude list whereby you appreciate each and every part of who you are. Not only does this help you to feel better, it also helps you to actually look better. Living by example is the only way that you will bring about long term, significant changes. Taking care of your health is the first step.
Bringing about healthy food changes and even behavioural changes is very possible within your family. It is always important to take small steps, one day at a time and to implement them with love.
#4 – Be Forgiving of yourself and others:
Sometimes it will seem for every step forward, there is a slide back, it is important here to focus on the steps forward as these become more prevalent then the slides back will become less prevalent.
Keep Positive, reinforcing to yourself the positive outcomes and before you know it, the entire family will be enjoying a healthier life without even realizing it!
Further Support: How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy Food