Does this describe your family? You cook a different food for each member of the family three times a day, and your spouse and kids each have something they “won’t eat” or “must eat” at every meal. If you served a meal that everyone liked, it would have to be something deep fried or maybe pizza. It can be challenging to get members of your family on the same page regarding eating healthy foods.
Some people may wonder why you should even bother getting everyone in the family on board with healthy eating. Here are some reasons why it’s nice to have a common view of foods among family members:
- It’s less frustrating and stressful for the cook and grocery shopper if everyone agrees and eats healthy foods. It’s also easier on the wallet – you don’t have to buy several different foods.
- You have a support network in place in case you have trouble keeping your healthy eating habits, or if you need help with the grocery shopping. If everyone’s in agreement about what’s healthy and what isn’t, any family member can run to the store and buy the healthy options.
- There is just a lot more harmony when mealtimes are not filled with frustration and complaining.
There’s no magic formula for getting everyone to agree on what’s healthy and actually care about it, but there are little things you can do. Here are some ideas.
It’s been shown that serving a previously-rejected food over and over, in different forms, may result in eventual acceptance. This applies to children and spouses.
2. Veggies in disguise
You can hide vegetables in a lot of things, although this does not necessarily promote health awareness among family members. It might, though, once you tell them that the spaghetti sauce had pureed carrots and squash in it, or that the pizza had finely chopped broccoli sprinkled on it. They may find that they like veggies after all.
Here are some more tips for hiding veggies:
- Put jarred spaghetti sauce into the blender and add some raw or steamed veggies of your choice; blend until smooth. You can use this “doctored” spaghetti sauce for pizza sauce, too.
- Add finely-chopped veggies to pizza topping. Spinach, broccoli, green peppers, and onions are good ones to try.
3. Small steps
There’s no need to be a member of the food police – you don’t have to go through the house and throw out every unhealthy thing and replace it with healthy foods. That may create rebellion among the family members! Instead, start with one thing, like bread. Start making your own bread, or switch to whole wheat store-bought bread. Then you can move on to another item, like switching from peanut butter with added sugar and fat to natural peanut butter.
4. Encourage participation
Spouses and kids can learn to cook and shop for food together. Maybe your spouse likes to cook out; ask him or her to make some special, healthy meals on the grill. You and your kids could grow some of your own food together – even one or two veggies your kids help grow should encourage them to eat “their” vegetables. Let your kids help you in the kitchen (as far as is practical), and brag on their efforts at the table.