You’ve decided to make healthy changes in your life – you want to eat clean and add regular exercise. You know the benefits of these changes, but how can you convince your spouse and kids to get on board? Change, no matter how good that change might be, is hard! Just like when you try to give something up, it can be better to do it gradually rather than cold turkey. If you can make small changes for your family over time, you will be more successful in breaking through their resistance.
However, start by making the hardest change – clean out the cupboards and fridge. I recommend going all out, and tossing it all, but if you have a really resistant family, get rid of things gradually. Start with the sodas and chips, replacing them with filtered water and fruit. This may cause a mutiny, but explain to them that you are making healthy changes because you love and care for them.
Go about your business making little changes in the kitchen. Make a clean meal, and put it on the table. Instead of announcing “This is a clean meal!”, simply serve it as you would anything else. Make mental notes of whether they like it or not, and make variations where needed.
If you have very young children, they will not need an explanation for the change to clean foods. Simply serve and eat. However, if your children are older, you may have a battle on your hands (or for some of us with our spouse!). One way to help them is to involve them in the change. Let them help prepare meals, and discuss the benefits of clean ingredients. Give them a voice – let them help you choose recipes, and then take them to the store to help you shop. Spending time in the kitchen with your family will also create wonderful memories! But, remember that you are still the parent. You make the food choices. Don’t serve unhealthy options with your clean foods in order to please resistant kids, sending a mixed message. Make some of their favorite foods clean style to help make the transition. A home-made pizza with a whole-grain crust, less processed meat and sauce and added veggies is always great!
Make clean eating a family priority. Getting your family to eat healthy sometimes feels like more work than it’s worth. But remember you are ultimately responsible for what they eat, and what they eat ultimately affects their health, growth and physical condition. I get great satisfaction in knowing that I am making a life-long difference in the lives of my children!