Congratulations on the decision to take charge of your nutrition and make serious, healthy changes! Odds are, while your family or loved ones may support what you’re doing, they may not be as eager to come along for the ride. But fear not, here are a few tips for managing your healthier eating while feeding the masses.
Fruit and Veg Out
The easiest thing you can do to eat healthier without impacting your family’s food dynamic is to increase the amount of vegetables and fruits you consume.
- Make a ginormous salad at the beginning of the week. Throw all kinds of veggies, leafy greens and even fruits into your salad. Tip! Keep tomatoes, cucumber and juicy fruit in a container so you can add that to your plate before eating. Your salad will stay fresh for 4-5 days if you do this. Otherwise you get a mushy, wet salad.
- Roast a large pan of veggies. These go great in your salad, mixed with a grain for a quick side dish or mixed with pasta.
- Prep fruit for eating. Getting it out of the “crisper” and onto the shelf makes it more apt to be eaten. In sight, in mind.
The benefit to all of this is that if you are eating more veggies and fruit, your family will have more opportunity to eat them. Not sure if this is true? Try this.
Cut up a bunch of carrots, celery and red bell peppers. Place them on a plate while your kids are playing Fortnite or doing homework. Watch the food disappear. And if they are super veggie-phobic, try it with a plate of cut up apples, peeled Cuties or a bowl of berries.
One Dish, Two Ways
Since I’m vegan and the only vegan in my household, I have mastered the art of One Dish, Two Ways.
If your family is set on grandma’s lasagne with all the cheeses and sausage that’s great. Now make a second version with spinach, zucchini and a smattering of cheese for you. Realistically, it’s an extra 7 minutes of prep time to make both versions and you’ll have leftovers for the next day.
Same goes with pasta; one noodle, two sauces. Or Taco Tuesday; hard shells for the kids, a taco salad for you. Having different options also give your family a chance to experiment with healthier versions of the foods they love. And that’s opening them up to more options down the road. Even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. Be patient, young Padawan.
Listen, I know that some people may not want to make different meals because it seems like more work or becomes an issue with a spouse or loved one. But I think that if you want to eat healthier you should be able to do it without worrying if it will upset anyone. And as far as the extra work, if you or your child were allergic to dairy or gluten you’d be whipping all sorts of compliant foods, right?
Keep It Simple
There are so many great recipes available for health-conscious eaters. My FB and IG feed are filled with videos showing how to make 30 types of smoothie bowls, grain bowls, and those cute little cheesecakes made out of silken tofu. They all look amazing but the truth is, I don’t have the time to try out so many new recipes. And I bet you don’t either.
Pick 1 or 2 new recipes to try each week. Plan them into your menu shop for the ingredients and then see how it works for your family. For the love of God, don’t announce “it’s mac and cheese made with cauliflower!” as you present it to your family. Just tell them it’s a cheesy casserole and leave it at that. (It’s also a good idea to pick recipes that have similar ingredients so you’re not spending $30 on spices or ingredients that you’ll use once. I hate that. )
And if you find something you LOVE and the family LOVES, be sure and double the recipe next time. Leftovers are the saving grace of busy families everywhere.
Most importantly, don’t get overwhelmed. Start simply.
Find what works for you and your family will benefit from your healthier eating. Soon you may see one or more of your kin start digging deep into the salad bowl or asking you to make them your savory oats and greens for breakfast. It totally can happen.
Now go run!