There’s nothing quite like sitting down for a meal with your family after a busy day at work, school, activities, or anything else that’s going on. The problem is, if you are responsible for cooking and you’re trying to make healthier choices for yourself, your family might not be on board with this same idea.
You might even find yourself cooking a separate meal for your family with foods you know they’ll like, just so you can avoid dinner-time tantrums, and groans of “Do I HAVE to eat this?”
Not only is this not the most productive use of your time, it also means the rest of your family might not be making the best food choices. Not to mention, if your whole family is eating ultra-cheesy pasta while you are sticking to lean protein and greens, it can be tough to keep those habits up for long.
How to Get Your Whole Family On Board with Healthy Eating
But the good news is there are many ways to get your whole family on board with healthy eating. Here are five of them to get started.
If you suddenly remove every food item your children know and love from the home, only to be replaced with “diet-approved” ingredients, you are bound to face some resistance.
Rather than changing everything at once, start with two or three healthier meals a week. These steps could even be as small as replacing a side of potatoes with dinner with a side salad instead.
Over time, these changes will start to feel less like changes, and more like the meals they know and love!
Don’t make a big deal about new foods
If your five-year-old has never tried quinoa before, they might be less inclined to give it a try if a big deal is made about the food in the first place. Suggesting something is different could mean your child automatically determines it’s bad, and they’ll decide they don’t like it before they even try it.
Instead, serve them some quinoa on their plate with their other food, and let them taste and experiment it for themselves without your influence.
There’s no reason the foods your whole family knows and loves can’t be made healthier! That way, you know you’re serving heart-healthy food they’re also sure to eat.
Here are a few healthy food swaps that are easy to integrate–even with picky eaters:
- Replace ground beef with turkey for a leaner option
- Try a homemade pizza night (with lots of veggies to choose from) on cauliflower crust
- Replace white pasta with whole wheat, or try a more protein-rich option like chickpea pasta
Get your kids involved
If your kids are at the age where they want to do everything themselves, they will love this one: get them involved in food preparation! Sure, it might mean it takes longer, but it can also make meal time more enjoyable for everyone. And making memories in the process!
Depending on their age, your children can help in a number of ways like cracking eggs into a bowl, cutting vegetables, or measuring ingredients.
Grow your food
Another surefire way to encourage your kids to eat the healthy food they are served is if they had a hand in growing it.
Consider adding a small vegetable garden to your home where you can grow your own lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, and other nutrient-rich foods. Your child can help every step of the way, from planting the seeds, watering the plants, and finally harvesting and enjoying the fruits (or vegetables) of their labor.
How can we help?
If you are determined to make 2021 your healthiest year yet, Xtend Fitness is here to help! In addition to our corporate fitness facility management, we offer a number of wellness services, including fitness and nutrition coaching–click here to find out more!
We would also love to hear from you: what are some of the best ways you have found for incorporating more healthy meals and ingredients into your family’s meal plan?