Have you recently made an effort to clean up your diet, but you struggle getting your family eating healthy, too? You want them to support you in making changes to be healthier, and you want them to be healthier, too because you care about them. But how do you get them to ditch the junk food they’ve become so accustomed to and adopt better habits without the backlash? The answer is making a gradual transition and staying positive!
Get the Whole Family Eating Healthy
Growing up in Michigan, my house was positioned above a convenient store. A typical meal for me consisted of grape soda and Hostess pies. My father was convinced that if food had a long shelf life, there was something in it that would make us live long, too. We had the worst possible eating habits, and both sides of my family were genetically predisposed for obesity. Trust me, if we could make the change, so can your family!
From Junk Food Junkies to Clean Eaters
My family made the transition when I was in my early teens, and my mom began teaching Jazzercise. I remember seeing how happy working out made her and how good she felt about herself. And without even realizing it, our family began eating healthier. She never said, “We’re going to change how we eat,” or “We’re not buying this type of food anymore.” She just gradually stopped buying it. We didn’t even notice the change, but somehow we transitioned from junk food junkies to pretty clean eaters.
So how do you make this transition with your own family?
#1 – Gradually make healthy swaps and stop buying junk.
Don’t announce to your household that you are making changes or that you won’t be buying certain foods any more. You’ll get immediate backlash. Just slowly start making healthier swaps and stop buying one unhealthy staple at a time. For instance, you don’t need to tell everyone that you made spaghetti with whole wheat pasta tonight. Just make it! They probably won’t even realize it, and if they do, all they need to know is that you tried a different brand. If you don’t make a big deal of it, neither will they!
Don’t make food rules about what is and isn’t allowed in the house or what your kids can and can’t eat. Forbidding something only makes them want it more, and it can also give them hang-ups about food. Just stick with the “everything in moderation” approach and make healthy choices readily available, so they’re easier to make.
#3 – Keep it positive.
I truly believe that I don’t have any hang-ups about food or my body because growing up, I never once heard my mom speak disparagingly about herself or her body. Never ever say, “I’m fat,” or “I’m gross.” Not only do YOU not need to engage in negative self talk, but when your kids hear it, they internalize it, too. It’s almost as if you’re saying it to them. Instead, keep a positive outlook and make positive comments after you exercise or eat a healthy meal, such as, “I feel great,” or “I’m getting in good shape.” This way, your kids start to make positive associations with eating healthy and working out, too.
Getting your family to make healthy changes is totally doable! You just have to make it gradual and focus on the positive effects! Before you know it, your entire family will be enjoying a healthier lifestyle without even realizing it!