Eating Healthier: Getting Your Spouse On Board
You decided it was time to make some changes in your diet, so you went shopping after work and bought a bunch of vegetables to go with a hopefully great tasting recipe you found online. As you prepare the dish, you taste-test several times and feel great about how the flavors meld together. You put the meal on the table and call your family in to rant and rave about the colors, textures, and taste. Surprise! The family sits down, looks at the dish, and the questions begin. “What’s that? Where’s the meat? Do we have to eat this? It looks icky! Why can’t we have spaghetti?”
So, why isn’t your family as thrilled with your new “experiment” as you are? You’ve been telling them for weeks how you want the family to eat healthier. They all agreed it was needed, but they look at the new dish with hesitation when you think it looks great! Why are they so skeptical to try something new? Well, a few reasons come to mind. Before you make any changes to the family meals, consider putting a few things in place first.
6 tips to preparing changes to your family meals.
- Commit to yourself first and be the example. In order to be the person you wish to be, you must put your health first. This gives you the power to think clearly and hold your ground with what’s needed in order to create long-lasting lifestyle changes for your family.
- Talk about meal changes with the family. Nobody likes surprises. If you want family members to appreciate a healthier diet, talk to them gradually about your reasons, share ideas, recipes, and articles to “warm them up.” Change isn’t easy for everyone, so take it slow.
- Start small. Introduce one food at a time and allow family members to “experience” the food first. What does it smell like? How does it taste cold, hot, cooked, uncooked? What does it feel like? Share the ingredients or recipe with them and show them why it’s a healthier option for them.
- Ensure the family knows that your commitment to them hasn’t changed. Your spouse may feel threatened or fear more attention may start coming from others as you drop unwanted pounds. You can gradually bring others in the family on board. Your kids can be great persuaders for dad.
- Involve family members. Choose recipes together. What sounds good? What do you already have the ingredients for? Then, take the kids or your spouse shopping and let them choose real foods (you know, the ones that don’t come in a box or bag). Lastly, get them into the kitchen to stir, chop, mix and experiment with preparing and eating new foods.
- Compromise. When you find some resistance from the family, take a break. It’s okay to “break bad” every now and then and reassure the family that they are important. As long as your intention is to resume your direction the next day, one day won’t hurt you.
Take things one day at a time.
Getting others in the family on board with eating healthier takes time and patience. The more you educate them and introduce foods slowly, the better. I have found that sharing snippits of information I found online with my husband was very effective in promoting discussion. He might look something up for more detail or look at ingredient labels for added colors, sugars, and other unwanted ingredients. Now he sends me links to read or tears something out of a magazine or newspaper! As you can imagine, it helps a lot when I ask him for dinner ideas. Bottom line is stand your ground and influence your family gradually and intentionally. Everyone will benefit in the end!
Want more ideas to help you introduce healthier foods into your meal planning? We have a ton of tips and ideas to get your started! We also have a great 15-Day Clean Eating Challenge you can take advantage of that will provide you with a tips to get you going.