Making the whole gang breakfast, lunch and dinner can be a daunting task any way you slice it (I’m so funny). Adding in a lifestyle change to healthy eating can bring with it a learning curve.
Just because you decide to go healthy and make awesome choices for you and your health does NOT always mean those immediately around you will support that choice. In fact, you might be confronted with lots of whining, eye rolling and other generally discouraging behavior.
HOWEVER, it’s important to stick to your guns and stay the course. Very often, your progress and positive influence will bring them around-that is the end game!! But maybe not immediately. In the meantime, try to blend your new awesome habits with your family’s trenched-in habits.
Here are six strategies to fake it til you make it:
Make it a salad.
One of the first things I noticed once I really started paying attention was how much bread/lame carbs my family ate. I actually think I overcompensated for being a mediocre cook by ensuring there was yummy bread/potatoes/etc at every meal.
Once you’ve set them up with that amazing habit, they will not easily want to give it up! But, if you’re serious, you certainly can. Take your scrumptious meals and load them onto some spinach or romaine. This way you can still make one meal, but you can also not ingest those crappy carbs right before bed (hello fat!).
Here are some examples:
- Taco night for them = taco salad for you.
- Sloppy joe night =sloppy joes on crisp romaine leafs.
- Meatball subs = Meatballs & marinara on-wait for it-crisp romaine leafs.
- Pulled pork is delicious enough, you don’t NEED the bun.
- Do the same for meals you might normally put over noodles or mashed potatoes.
It’s not rocket science but it is a small change that will yield big results.
Add on the junk-FOR THEM.
My kids eat decently but we take our cues from Mary Poppins.
So, good food = medicine. Ketchup, ranch, post dinner cookie = sugar. See what we’ve done here? Others are probably better about this than I am. But I’m still on this journey and for me, getting chicken, salmon, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower down their gullets is what matters most, if there is a little something EXTRA I can live with that.
For the older eaters in the family, this might mean a little extra butter, a creamy sauce, cheese or some other such shenanigans. Just make your plate before adding this stuff in. And if it comes up, I also bake my chicken/fish without breading. But I bake it right alongside theirs. No more or less work. #winning
Nix the crap.
Make the same meals you always did, just nix the crap-FOR YOU. Just make the decision that you are a strong confident woman and do it.
Don’t make enough for you. Dish the crap out to your families plates (sounds so evil, but remember, we will bring them around) so you won’t be tempted. This is the primary reason I only buy the regular size macaroni & cheese. If I went family size there’d be enough for me to eat it. But this way, they are fighting over it and-honestly-it also keeps their portions low.
- Kung Pao chicken,
rice& steamed veges. (we can talk about rice, but let’s just not have it for dinner for now, ok)
- Steak and
baked potatoesgreen beans.
- Breakfast tacos unstuffed: Leave out the tortilla and hash browns, add less cheese.
Always have something worth fighting for.
This trick is mostly for the little ones. But it also works on the overgrown ones too. Let’s say you’re on the 21 Day Fix and your amazing meal plan (you’re welcome) has offered you salmon and broccoli. Your family can eat that. Maybe they won’t, I don’t know. But you know broccoli and macncheese go together just fine. So, make ONE meal but feed them the macaroni as an incentive. My kiddos get one scoop until they finish the “good stuff” and then they can have the rest. But that incentive works really nice.
This is an important concept if you’re trying to bring your family on board. Try to always have something on that plate that you know they already love. It makes the other stuff worth fighting for.
Make it easy and accessible.
Once you make the leap, you likely ingest a lot of information so you can really begin to understand what clean(ish) eating is all about. Your family might still be in the dark. So even if they WANT to help you or join you, they might not know how. This is where meal prep can come in. Make it obvious and EASY. If you have cooked chicken, veges, fruit and whatever else readily available in the fridge, that will increase everyone’s success rate. When you manage to get everyone on board and healthy habits are abounding, you can back off. But in the beginning, it’s important to be OVER PREPARED. That means stocking your fridge and pantry with:
- Pre cooked, pre-portioned meals (i.e.chicken, veges and sweet potato)
- Pre sliced, portioned vege snacks (carrots, celery, edamame, sweet peppers)
- Ready made snacks (i.e. deli/cheese roll ups, yogurt & berries, oatmeal muffins, pre-portioned nuts)
- Plenty of easily consumed fresh fruit (apples, bananas, pears)
- Fresh fruit snacks made easy (orange slices, washed strawberries & grapes, diced pineapples
Each person in your household has different motivations, find out what they are and use those to your advantage. My son wants to know all the whys/science/facts.
So I try to give it to him, even though I often wonder if he even understands. But he certainly regurgitates it, so I guess some of it is getting through. My middle daughter just wants to be as big as her brother and do awesome at gymnastics. So we talk about how the food makes her strong and her bones grow taller and muscles get bigger. My baby girl has no choice in the matter and pretty much eats anything I put in front of her (proof that I accidentally taught my bad habits to the older ones, oops).
My husband is more interested in not taking on any of the genetic medical issues we both have in our family, so that motivates him-however begrudgingly he might admit it. Sarcasm helps too.
There you have it, hopefully these little strategies will help you be successful with healthy habits while avoiding being strangled in your sleep by the ol’ familia.