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.
Also you want to see them healthier also 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!
I have never had any deep seated hang-ups about my body. I was terribly skinny until I learnt to eat properly and also having children. I never saw myself as having a weight problem, but had an awareness about my weight and that I wanted it to be healthy for me. Like most people I have had to learn to like and appreciate who I am. Being grateful that everything works and how well it works is up to me and how well I look after myself.
Even when I was skinny I still went to the gym, then to not so much be a body builder, but to build healthy muscle. I have always been a very active person, so this in itself has kept me fit. After having my children and with age, I make a conscious effort to exercise either with swimming or walking, also doing some yoga and light weights at home.
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.
When you make slip ups it is important not to see these as permanent but giving yourself the courage to change and not to make the slip up again. No different than when you do something that later you think “I shouldn’t done that”. Ok, then you don’t do it again. 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