From Cauliflower to Kale, How to get your Family to eat Healthier

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Most likely if you’re interested enough to be reading this you are a woman, and a mom.  And I think you probably have no idea of the power and influence you have when it comes to your family.  Or maybe you do, and you’re using it in a way that is making the family very uncomfortable (i.e. getting on their nerves).  Whatever the case, I need you to step back, relax, and take notice of the following:

  1.  What are you eating?  Because whatever you’re eating, the rest of the family will follow, eventually.  You can’t force them, you can’t bribe them, and you can’t trick them.  You just have to be the example.  I’ve had many moms come to me for counseling for their obese daughters.  The mom complains about the daughter eating whatever she wants and gaining weight.  Then I look at mom and she is probably 40 pounds overweight herself.  Sigh.  It seems like a no brainer – do unto others as you would have them do unto you, right (Luke 6:31)?  Show the family you can eat healthy so they can do the same for you.  But then, like Paul said, (Romans 7:19)  “For I don’t do the good I want to do, but instead do the evil that I don’t want to do. (Yes, eating a whole pack of those Trader Joe Lemon Cookies would be considered evil.) So the real issue is: are YOU eating the way you want your family to eat?  If no, make that your focus.  If yes, read step 2.
  2. Are you stressing or nagging, or both?  I was watching Joyce Meyer this morning and she talked about thinking you’ve got your crap together and looking down on others who don’t.  If you’re looking at your family and thinking “you need to be more like me”, umm, that’s not gonna get it.  That’s actually going to repel them.  The self-control that you exercise to consistently follow such a healthy diet, use that same self-control to not stress anybody out while they learn to follow your lead.
  3. Provide the nutritious, healthy foods that you’d like for your family to eat, and make sure it’s tasty.  I mean nobody wants to eat cardboard with a splash of fat free sauce.  If you’re clueless in the kitchen, and you’re in the SF Bay Area, I will be teaching cooking classes soon in Orinda.  Let me know if you’d like more info on that.  Or, visit your local community center and find out what they have to offer.  No excuses.

I recently read an article (http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/do-parents-really-influence-kidsrsquo-eating-habits) stating that parental influence on diet is limited.  The study gave more influential credit to external sources like commercials, what other kids are eating, and the nutritionally devoid options that most schools serve for breakfast or lunch.  However, this study was done on a small sample – not sure how small they mean when they say small, 10? 50? Who knows?

I’d love to know what your experience was when you were growing up.  Did your family’s dietary habits rub off on you?  I remember when my mom began to eat tofu, eliminated red meat, fried foods and even dairy.  We all turned our noses up at her new diet for the longest.  Eventually, we saw the changes it made in her, and got on board.  She never said a word.  She just did.  Oh, and she didn’t buy crap like chips and cookies, so if we wanted that, we had to get it ourselves.

Make a promise to yourself to use the power that you have to 1-be the example, 2-let your kitchen be a nag free, worry free zone, and 3-exercise your control over what’s eaten within your household by providing healthy, delicious meals and snacks.  Try it, and let me know how that works out for you!

2 thoughts on “From Cauliflower to Kale, How to get your Family to eat Healthier

  1. Hey Renee! Great post! Growing up we ate healthy foods and was no happy about it. For instance: instead of Honey Nut Cheerios or Frosted Flakes, we ate plain Wheaties and plain Cheerios. Raisin Bran was a treat because it had sugar on the raisins! As I became a teenager and could buy my own food I ate, pop tarts, chips, etc. As an adult, I am now back to the foundation our mother set: I buy plain Cheerios with the occasional Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The foundation we set as parents from the beginning is KEY!

    • Yeah, it doesn’t really work by force and deprivation, but by example. Even if we stray from the example, we come back as you stated. Train up a child in the way he should go…

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