If you’ve made the decision to start living healthier, this can be heavily influenced by those around you. Particularly your family. A new lifestyle is going to include different grocery shopping habits, moving more and healthier food choices. It’s going to make everything that much easier, if your family is on board with the goals you are trying to achieve. So how do you encourage the whole family to adopt some healthier habits, particularly if you have fussy eaters at home without forcing the issue?
Healthy Swaps & Amendments
If you’re adopting healthier choices in your meals, you might be daunted by the thought of making different meals for yourself, partner and children. However this can be alleviated with some simple swaps or amendments. For example, if you’re making some fish and vegetables for dinner, you can simply add additional sauces, mash or bread to their meals and keep yours as is. If you’re making something the whole family can have, pack it with vegies and simply keep your portions appropriate, but your family’s a little bigger.
Try not to force the family to eat something they don’t want. Offer new dishes or ingredients over time, or make healthy swaps to the family favourites rather than changing every meal in the first week. Look for recipes that are easily adaptable to family favourites. It could be as simple as switching to lean meats and grilling over deep frying.
Positive Vibes & Role Modelling
Adopting a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to sound daunting to the family. Create positive language around your new lifestyle rather than focusing on “dieting”. Being a positive role model is an important part of your children’s perception of food. To get them thinking positively about physical activity, use language like “I feel so good after going for a walk each night, would you like to start coming with me?”.
Try to avoid negative connotation about food like “You can’t leave the table until you eat all your vegetables”, as this language reinforces that vegetables are a chore or less desirable foods. Experiment and introduce new foods to your family’s meals, you might be surprised with what they like!
Try where possible to keep healthy snacks in the house that everyone can grab on the go. Think air popped popcorn, pre-cut carrot sticks and hummus, pre-portioned bags of unsalted nuts, and pouches of yoghurt that are easily eaten on the go. Don’t forget to keep the fruit bowl well stocked! Nothing beats the humble apple or banana.
Getting everyone involved in what you’re doing is a great way to help them understand the changes you’re making. For example, have the kids help you chop, peel or grate vegies for dinner or go on family bike rides together.
If you have the space, get the family involved in planting a herb garden and harvesting the produce. Then, encourage meal planning together so everyone has a say in what’s for dinner that week.
Try these steps over time, your family may need time to adjust to your lifestyle, just like you may.
About the LifeShape Clinic
Over 15 years, the LifeShape Clinic (formerly Wesley LifeShape Clinic) has helped more than 10,000 Australians achieve healthier, happier lives through their award winning weight management programs. The LifeShape program enables the lifestyle and health benefits gained from losing weight, improving your health and gaining a positive mindset.
The clinic’s team of specialist medical professionals support each client by creating a personalised weight loss plan to reach a healthy weight, improve nutrition, exercise and mindset – helping to find balance and break the dieting cycle.
Find out how the clinic can help you achieve your health and wellness goals.