Trying to stick to a clean eating diet when the rest of your family is eating the same non-healthy diet that they know and love is setting yourself up for failure. It is nearly impossible to stay with it.
So . . . why not get everyone on board and become a clean eating family? When there is no junk food in the house to tempt you, it will be a 1000 X’s easier to stay with a healthy, unprocessed food diet.
The $64,000 question is – how do you get the entire family on board with such a dramatic change?
Hold a Family Meeting
After you have seriously considered and answered the two questions in the previous post – Get Started with Clean Eating, call a family meeting and lay all your cards on the table. Share with them the WHY and WHAT of this new proposed way of eating.
Explain why eating clean, healthy, unprocessed food is so important and why you want to make this change as a family. When you talk about it in a dedicated, passionate way, conveying how important it is to you (and to them) – and ask for their support, there is a good chance you will get it.
A Gradual Change Is Best
Going cold turkey as a family could create too much resistance. It may be more effective to make the change in stages, beginning with small changes at first.
- Grill some chicken and fix a big salad, but also offer hot dinner roles with butter and jam – then, for dessert, serve fresh sliced strawberries sprinkled with Stevia and a dollop of fresh, lightly-sweetened whipped cream.
- Make your next batch of spaghetti sauce with grass-fed beef hamburger and serve with whole-wheat noodles. Add some sliced cucumbers, avocado and tomatoes as a healthy side, but keep the garlic bread for those who want it.
- Make Spanish omelets with cage-free eggs, stuffed with real solid chunk, grated cheese and topped with salsa made with onions, bell peppers and tomatoes, plus your favorite Mexican flavorings. Serve with rich 12-grain toast and real butter.
Encourage your kids to take at least a couple of bites of each new healthy dish. If they do not like it, don’t force them to eat it. They will eventually come around.
Create New Family Favorites
After each meal that includes a new dish, take a vote. Find out what they like and what they don’t like. It won’t take you long to find new family favorites and start creating a list. From that list, you can develop other dishes. It is a great opportunity to use your creativity.
Once you have a few solid dishes that work for the family, they (or their variations) can be the center of your meals. Be sure to use the same process with finding favorite clean snacks – and keep plenty of the healthy favorites readily available. (BTW snacks are actually easier.)
Include one fruit or vegetable as part of each meal. Encourage the kids to eat fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds for snacks. Always have them on hand and prepared for easy snacking.
Remember, even small amounts of healthy food quickly add up and slowly begin to replace the processed junk. It won’t be long until junk food becomes a faint memory of the past.
Practice the 80/20 Rule
Every step toward incorporating clean food into your family’s diet is a step in the right direction.
Every meal does not have to be 100% clean. The 80/20 rule works very well in this situation. Make it your goal to have at least 80% healthy foods in every meal. The other 20% can be a little off, when necessary (just don’t let it expand beyond that).
It is also OK if the kids have cake of pizza at a birthday party. The goal is to build a different attitude toward food and make an overall improvement on the family’s diet and lifestyle – an overall move toward healthier living.