Saturday, January 8, 2011

Getting the Rest of the Family to Eat Well

The question is inevitable.
How many meals should I make when I'm dieting?
Should I make my veggies and brown rice and then make PB&J or Mac and Cheese for the kids?
Or should I force them to eat exactly what I'm eating?

The problem with making multiple meals is this:
Twice the meals = twice the money and twice the work.

The problem with letting them eat junk while you eat healthy food is that, well, their eating junk.

This was a something I struggled with early on in my lifestyle change, but it wasn't long before I found a viable solution that made everyone happy.

I only make one dinner. This dinner contains something that everyone will enjoy, that's healthy (such as whole grain pasta entree or lean meat and salad) as well as veggies for me and my husband to enjoy (and we do - immensely). Now of course theirs always one in the family that won't eat most of what I cook, and that's okay. They know that they never have to eat anything they don't want. BUT I will not be making them a completely different meal.

I think this is a great compromise.

See, here's the thing. The ENTIRE FAMILY benefits when we start a new eating lifestyle. Why? Because THEY will start to be introduced to the same healthy food that we are trying to stick to. They may not want to eat it right away - let's face it, did YOU really want to eat chicken breast and steamed vegetables the first time it was introduced to you?

Some tips that will get the whole family more "into" eating healthy:

1) Allow kids (and even spouses!) to pick a new veggie or fruit to try once a week. Giving them some choice in what they try will enhance the chance that they'll want to try it.

2) Get the whole family involved in the cooking process! Chopping, grating, tossing, washing - statistics show that kids that are involved in the cooking process are more likely to at least TRY what they helped make!

3) Allow everyone to pick one new healthy recipe to try a month or a week.

4) When all else fails, offer healthy substitutions! Billy won't eat spinach salad, but LOVES orange slices? Go ahead and put some oranges on the table too, then! Allie doesn't like Brussels sprouts, but will eat her weight in carrots? Add some baby carrots and dip as a side dish for everyone to enjoy.

5) Don't be picky about the TYPES of healthy foods they eat. So what if they don't like Ahi Tuna and Bok Choi? They loved the homemade chicken nuggets and broccoli, didn't they?

6) Try re-vamping family favorites. Use ground turkey instead of beef in that meatball recipe. Substitute brown rice for white in your mom's famous Arroz con Pollo. Small changes can make all the difference!

7) Invest in some healthy family-favorite cookbooks. Weight Watchers has some really great family cookbooks. So does The Biggest Loser and George Stella. Look for recipes that you know your family will love, then sneak in a new one every now and again!

I hope this will help some of you that are struggling with the "what do I feed the rest of the family" drama!

Roasted Cauliflower with Balsamic Vinegar

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk oil and vinegar together in a large bowl, adding salt and pepper to your liking. Toss cauliflower in the mixture, then turn out onto a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Roast in the oven at 425 for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking, until the cauliflower is caramelized (browned, but not burned!!).
Here's to being losers in 2011!!! 


Waisting Time said...

Great ideas. I think you family is much younger than mine. It is pretty hard to change how I have been feeding my kids for close to two decades already. I try to find compromise by making a healthy protein and then veggies (which my boys don't touch) and a grain for them (which I usually ignore). Sigh.

Michelle Saunderson said...

I am very lucky in that my kids love fruit and veggies. I usually have bagged salad on hand and if my kids do not like the veggies I make for dinner, then they can opt for salad instead.

courtney said...

I love all the ideas you posted. I do the number one with my kids all the time. I let THEM choose something new that's healthy to have for dinner and they almost always try it!

Thanks for the cauliflower recipe! My new favorite in the kitchen lately is balsamic vinegar! YUM!

Autumn Surprise said...

Oh YUM! We are going to try the cauliflower recipe tonight! I am currently trying to lose my baby weight (my son is 6 months) and have struggled with even how to prepare meals for my husband and I. So I can lose weight... but he can still enjoy the one meal a day I cook for him. I joined weight watchers and bought their new cook book. So far so good.

Just found your blog and love it!

TornadoTwos said...

That's a great solution! Right now my husband is the only one dieting, and I've been doing the two meals thing. It's a lot of work! There have been a couple nights where I've made something that is healthy and the kids will also eat- MUCH easier for me.