By Theresa Harding
When I first started my journey to a lifestyle change of clean eating, I thought for sure my family would willingly join me willingly, without complaint. Boy, was I wrong! My then 5-year-old son complained and one day yelled, “I don’t like you stinky food.”
My husband would question my dishes before he’d dig into his plate of quinoa, and my other two children would say they weren’t hungry. They weren’t used to seeing vegetables so often on their plates.
I was transitioning my family meals from unhealthy to healthy eating. I thought I was doing things the acceptable way, but it didn’t look that way to my husband and kids. I got the side-eye looks from them whenever I set the table with unfamiliar foods.
Of course they asked questions, like, “What’s this?” Then they would smell the dishes and ask me how come I didn’t cook a certain food. I patiently explained why and I also shared the benefits of my food choices.
Health was never the driving force in our meal planning before our journey to healthy eating. We had the health problems, but we never connected our diet as the cause of our symptoms. That’s when I decided to start educating my family on what unhealthy foods can do to the body.
I didn’t realize that I should have first discussed and prepared them for the changes that were forthcoming. Now, my family was used to me buying 5-6 boxes of cereal, fruit snacks, juice, cookies, sweetened yogurt, and some other processed snacks.
You can see why it was so challenging for them to make the transition to healthy eating. I didn’t make things quite easy for them. It would’ve been easy if I had even started with myself, eating healthy foods and letting them see what was on my plate.
With all that I’d learned, I started buying more fruits and vegetables for snacks, and non-sweetened cereal, or none at all.
I’m sure there were more things I could’ve done to influence my family to get on-board with me in changing their diet. Unfortunately, I didn’t explore those options. While I did lots of research on the healthy foods and their benefits, I didn’t spend any time researching how to help my family make the transition with me.
So, you don’t experience what I did, with my family, here’s what I suggest in your mission to clean eating:
Their first thought to this change is probably going to be, “What can I eat now?” I find it always helps to substitute a good food choice, for a bad food choice. Than let them help out in the kitchen. By preparing your family ahead of time, you’ll find more success on this journey.
How have you prepared your family before you transitioned to clean eating?
Benefits of eating healthy: Heart health, better mood, and more (medicalnewstoday.com)
Benefits of a healthy diet — with or without weight loss – Harvard Health
5 Easy Ways to Find Healthier Options While Grocery Shopping | American Heart Association
Smart Substitutions to Eat Healthy | American Heart Association
Healthy Living isn't difficult. It requires an ongoing lifestyle change with patience and an open mind. I teach this mindset all the time. After 14 years of transitioning from an unhealthy lifestyle to a pain-free one, I think it's important to share my knowledge and research with those who are ready to make that shift in their health and wellness.