Healthy eating is one of the main aspects of a healthy, happy, long, and balanced life. And even though we all know that we should eat better foods, burgers, pizza, and ice cream exist to ruin our plans. It’s especially hard to get your family, picky kids, stubborn teens, and independent spouses, to improve their diet and your mealtime together. Are you doing everything in your power to keep them healthy and fit with proper nutrition but keep failing? Here are a few practical ways to encourage your family to eat better and create some beneficial healthy diet habits:
You might be a picky eater or need to avoid certain foods, but that doesn’t mean your entire family feels the same. Leave your food preferences on your own plate and let others enjoy a full variety of healthy and beneficial foods. We all have different tastes!
And even if your kid doesn’t want to eat broccoli or kale the first time you serve it, don’t give up on this food completely. Firstly, try to prepare it in a different way. Secondly, try to serve it at least 10 times before you give up and stop putting it on the family member’s plate. And throughout your, your kids’, and your spouse’s lives, bring back snubbed foods and try them again. Many times, you’ll notice that your taste buds have changed their mind.
Watch the portions
Firstly, no matter how healthy you eat, if your family regularly overeats, the health benefits of food will be reversed. And if you struggle with weight management, portion control is especially important. Make sure to use smaller plates or bowls and guide your servings by measuring the amount of food that goes on the plate. And don’t think you need a scale or anything—women require a palm-sized serving of protein, a fist-sized serving of salad/veggies, a cupped hand of carbs, and a thumb of high-fat foods (butter, nuts, oils…). For men, just double the serving and that’s it. Also, to further prevent overeating and reaching for unnecessary seconds, serve the food on the plates in the kitchen and leave the trays, pots, and pans there. When they have to get up for more food, many people will just settle for their original portion.
Keep whole foods available
If you keep fruit, veggies, and nuts on the counter and hide crisps and cookies in the pantry, your family is more likely to reach for healthy food options. Keep healthy foods washed and ready to munch on throughout the day. And if you know all of you will just go searching for unhealthy options elsewhere in the house, fill the pantry with quality healthy products like bagged veggie crisps, dark chocolate treats, sugar-free candy, dried fruit chips, etc. These food options are available at stores or online, and they are a great replacement for fatty, sodium-and-sugar-pumped snacks. When unhealthy foods are out of reach, they will be out of mind, replaced by healthier options.
Hide the salt shaker
Besides slowly limiting the amount of sugar you put in your cooking, you can also keep the salt shaker in the kitchen instead of the dinner table. Many times, if the food lacks taste, it can be improved with pepper, vinegar, lemon juice, or some fresh herbs—salt is not always the answer. Keep these healthy taste boosters on the table, so your family has something to reach after when the meal is not 100% up to their liking.
Don’t push them to clean the plate
People have amazing intuition that’s also present when eating. Don’t force your family members to ignore their bodies and push them to clean the plate every time. Enforcing the “clean-the-plate” rule often leads to overeating, obesity, and even eating traumas and disorders. If it seems to you that your kids or partner are not eating enough, encourage them to take another bite of whatever’s on the plate, without focusing just on healthy ingredients. Eating without any sort of pressure, but just being surrounded with praise and encouragement can build overall food appreciation and better control.
Eat without distractions
If you want to improve your family’s relationship with food and help everyone control their eating better, ban TV and devices while eating. Instead, sit at the table and enjoy a nice meal together, sharing stories and experiences. Eating without distractions allows people to enjoy tastes and aromas, chew longer and more thoroughly, and pay attention to their fullness levels.
These healthy eating habits are very easy to instill in your family, you just have to be persistent at the beginning. Once they are all adopted, you’ll notice amazing eating results in your loved ones.