Eating healthy is hard work. Temptations lurk everywhere. It takes determination, a conscious effort, an openness to learn and experiment and support. This does not happen overnight, in one day or one week. There are moments of weakness and times you will fail, but that does not matter near as much as how you respond. Eating right is not a fad, it is a lifestyle change.
If you have lasted this far then you are serious about eating better and providing your kids with the best food for their body.
I am sure you have heard of the ‘freshman 15,’ well, I belong to the ‘freshman 50’ club. I put on a lot of weight during college. It wasn’t until the honeymoon pictures were developed that I realized I had gained so much weight. I made a commitment to change and my family is better for it.
This is how to conquer eating better for your entire family.
Above all, you need support if you plan to change the way you eat. I have seen it ruin good intentions and dedication.
First, get the support of your spouse. Convince them you and the family need to make this change. Ask them for their support, that you are counting on them not to let the family slide back to bad habits. When both parents are on board the road is easier. If your spouse is skeptical or outright refuses, eating healthy will be harder, but not impossible.
Second, explain to your kids why you making a change and that you need their help. Let them know the benefits of eating better.
Any other family members or friends you can ask to help hold you accountable will help in this journey.
Don’t Buy It
Once everyone is ready, take stock and clean out the refrigerator and pantry. Get rid of everything you know is bad to eat. If it is not in the house, the likelihood of its consumption is drastically reduced.
Start by throwing away the sweets, the sugary drinks, and the frozen foods. As you educate yourself you will learn what foods are good and which food not to buy.
When you go to the store don’t buy the food if it isn’t healthy.
Educate Everyone on Eating Healthy
You got rid of the junk food, now find out what you should eat. Learn about portion size and how to read those crazy labels on food. Read books and visit reputable websites that promote healthy eating.
As you learn what to eat and what not to eat share that information with everyone in your family. This way you can let them know the specific reason why they are no longer allowed to eat it.
Still not sure? Consult your physician or a dietician. Some health insurance coverages allow for free consults with a dietitian.
You may need to get creative with how you prepare foods. For those picky eaters who dislike all fruits and vegetables, or anything healthy, this can be especially frustrating. Thankfully, there are ways to sneak in the nutritious food.
A couple tricks to try: include grated sweet potatoes in the breading of chicken nuggets or substitute riced cauliflower for rice. To help people with consuming more fruits and vegetables, try making a smoothie. I have even snuck in kale without kids knowing and if you don’t use too much it will not overpower the taste.
Sometimes all it takes is providing a dip to alter the flavor. Try salsa, hummus or guacamole and stay away from ketchup and dressings.
Use your creative side to add healthy food to the food you and your family already eat. Not sure where to start, check out cookbooks, websites, social sites or ask friends for tips.
The hardest part of eating well is doing it consistently. We all have moments where we give in to temptation. It is after these moments that define our success. Do you quit because of one bad meal or do you accept your mistake and try to find ways to improve?
It is because we all will mess up at some point that I recommend indulging yourself one meal a week. Still follow portion control, but have that meal or food you crave. At our house, it is every Friday night and we call it our cheat meal. That is the one time a week that we can enjoy the foods we love without feeling guilty afterward.
When you abstain from the foods you know are bad for you but allow yourself a treat once in a week you will enjoy them so much more.
Start early teaching your children the difference between good food and junk food, show them how to make decisions and explain to them moderation.
I wish there were an easy solution to eating healthy. Having been on both sides, I am much happier knowing that I put the best food in my body. As a parent, I am confident I am doing what is the best for my children.
What step do you need to take today to change the way your family eats?
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