5 Ideas for Improving Your Family’s Diet
What is the most frequently asked question by my friends and readers?
How do you encourage your husband and teenagers to eat a healthier diet? Here is 5 ideas to get your family started on improving their diet. Without fighting or coercing. Hopefully after you incorporate these ideas you will see a change in their attitude and they will desire to use diet as a tool to living a healthier life.
1.Start with 1 meal! Respect their tastes and ; more then likely they do not want to throw away all the boxed cereal or their favorite snack bars.
Communicate with your family, express to them that you care about the health of their body and want to move towards meals that are rich in nutrients. As a family, you would like to begin by focusing on one meal. What meal would make them most successful?
- If your family is not rushed in the morning, chose to improve their breakfast. Breakfast could consist of cheesy omelets, fried eggs & sausage, scrambled eggs with veggies, or even pumpkin pancakes. So delicious!! (Just for fun: an organic free-range chicken egg contains all the vitamins you need except vitamin C.)
- Lunch might be the meal of choice! It can be prepared the evening before if they need to pack it for school or work. You will need to have nutritious food available for making them successful. Wraps are fun, allow for personal choice, and you can really fill them up with great food! Chicken wraps with lettuce, sliced carrots, slices of raw cheddar cheese, tomatoes and even some hummus. Include the option of bringing a homemade snack bar or oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. (Note: In our family we buy whole wheat wraps for my husband and coconut wraps for the rest of us. I buy mine here.)
- My family looks forward to sitting down to eat dinner together! Often times, it is the wonderful smells of dinner that bring much anticipation. A whole chicken roasting, venison chili or even a beef stew…….yum! I love planning a meal to be cooking in the crock pot, it fits perfectly with a busy day. Whenever everyone makes it to the table; dinner is ready. What kinds of food does your family enjoy? Would they be open to trying a new soup? While you are enjoying a meal together, ask them what are their favorite foods.
Hopefully with much communication and love you all can adjust to eating meals that are nourishing to the body.
2. Begin to replace sugary drinks with water, iced sun tea, or herbal tea. How many times do they drink a glass of juice, buy a soda pop, or purchase a sweetened coffee? Conscientiously give up one drink and replace it with water. (Note: own a refillable water bottle). Eventually the amount of water drank in a day will be more then a sugary option.
Set goals! When you set goals, it gives a date to be free of sugar based drinks. Plus you’ll be amazed at how much money you will save! During the winter months, three out of the four of us, enjoy herbal teas. I purchase a variety, like Yogi Green Tea with Kumbucha, Traditional Medicinals Chamomile and Lavender Tea, Yogi Stress Relief tea, or even Tulsi Holy Basil tea.
During the summer months, I brew green tea or herbal tea, Hibiscus tea is a favorite! We even replaced orange juice with home brewed Kombucha tea. A glass of effervescent ginger kombucha……. what a refreshing way to begin the day!!!
3. Provide nutritious snacks. At the beginning of the week or whenever you grocery shop plan to have fresh food available.
- carrot slices, celery sticks, and pepper sticks to be eaten with homemade hummus.
- coconut milk yogurt with homemade granola or fresh raspberries. (A favorite of my teenagers.)
- trail mix ingredients like, jerky (we buy Epic jerky here), organic peanuts, raisins, salted sunflower seeds and raw pumpkin seeds.
- organic homemade oatmeal snack bars.
- Plantain chips with homemade or store bought organic salsa.
- Fruit! Apples, bananas, and berries make a great snack.
4. Eat at home. Eating meals at home takes planning and preparation. Once you establish a meal plan and develop new habits, you will enjoy the flexibility of eating at home. It is extremely hard to eat healthy outside the home, not impossible, just a challenge. Most restaurants serve meat, fruit and vegetables that contain sugar, preservatives, and additives to make them look fresh. It is amazing that even the vegetables have sugar in or on them!
Occasionally our family will take a guess at how much our “plate” would cost at a restaurant. For example, a large organic grilled chicken salad! We would have organic grilled chicken tenders, several organic salad ingredients, Bragg’s organic vinaigrette, and topped with shredded raw cheese. We might have a side of cheesy grain-free biscuits and organic pumpkin pie for dessert.
Eating your meals at home will be more challenging for some then others. You can be successful in this area too!! When you do choose to eat at a restaurant, do your homework on the types of food they serve, and then go and enjoy the special occasion.
5. Since food is fuel and necessary for life; involve older kids and your spouse in meal preparations. It is not easy to surrender your kitchen to beginner cooks, but worth it! My teens are quite comfortable in the kitchen. In their earlier years, I had to actually leave the kitchen so they could learn and experiment on their own. They are just like the rest of us; they need to start somewhere & they need to practice. Now, they are proficient in following a recipe & serving a nutritious meal we all savor.
My husband’s expertise is in meat preparation, particularly when it involves wild game he caught or wild fish he brought to the table. He delights in preparing the meat for the grill as well as cooking up fresh perch in a cast iron skillet.
We all need to eat! Set up your family to feel comfortable practicing in the kitchen so they can hone in on the valuable skill of serving nutritious food!
I implement these 5 ideas to encourage my teenagers and husband to eat a healthier diet!
- Focus on making one meal at a time nutrient dense.
- Give up sugary drinks, take the first step and replace one drink with a glass of water, and then make it two drinks. Encourage each other!
- Snacks! We all love snacks, and they can provide added nutrition and energy to our days. Prepare to have healthy snacks and snack ideas on hand for successful eating!
- Delight and enjoy preparing food at home. It is a healthier choice and will bring much fun and laughter to the table.
- Lastly, enable other family members to develop the skill of preparing healthy food. It is a great exercise in patience, but very rewarding!
Which one of these ideas could your family implement? Do you have ideas in place right now that enables your family to eat more nutrients? I would love to hear from you! I genuinely believe that you can be successful in this area.
Take one meal, one snack and one day at a time!