“I want to eat healthy, but my family refuses to eat the same foods.” I hear this often when I talk to our women. It’s hard to feel alone in our wellness journey, so how do we get our families on board when we are met with hesitation or reluctance? While it’s not easy and it will take some time, here are a few tips to help you:
Vocalize your mission. Sit down with your family and thoughtfully tell them about your decision. Explain why it’s important to you and your health. It’s important for their health too. Don’t be afraid to say, ” I need your help,” or “I can’t do this alone.” Be open to hearing their thoughts too. It’s important to keep an empathetic tone so that everyone’s feelings are heard.
Go slow. Avoid being overzealous and changing everything at once. Start small. Keep in mind change does not happen overnight, especially when you’re dealing with a group. Begin by making one change at a time. Maybe you exchange a processed food for one that you make from scratch. Instead of taking foods away, consider what you can add to the table like a new vegetable or salad at dinner. Maybe buy plain yogurt instead of the sweetened kind but offer your family a toppings bar to keep it exciting and tasty?
Get them involved. This is especially good for kids. Give them a few choices when it comes to the things you want to change. This way they feel a part of the process. Bring them grocery shopping. Allow them to plan dinner one night each week. Let them meal prep or do some cooking with you too. Remember, the more your family feels involved, the more likely they are to keep trying!
Be a role model. It’s not enough to talk the talk; we have to walk the walk. Even if your family isn’t interested or willing at first, continue to live your healthy lifestyle. Make it easier on yourself by prepping some grains, proteins and vegetables at the beginning of the week. This way, not matter what your family is eating, you’ll have an option you can feel good about too. Make those foods available for your family to try and keep prioritizing you.
Don’t give up. Things may not work out right away or go as smoothly as you’d like. Don’t give up. Remember to continue communicating, living and working towards your goal, and keep the big picture in mind. Wellness is not like dieting which tends to feel very black or white. You are going to stray from your goals and that’s okay. Simply regroup and reset and continue on your way.
By: Erin Pellegrin RD, LDN