Golly gee, you've come to the wrong place! There is nothing I can do to get your family on board. I can't make them change... and neither can you. I'm an expert at trying though. When my children were little, I invented many way for sneaking healthy foods into everyday dishes. Soon, everyone became suspicious of everything I cooked, and wouldn't eat without asking, "What's in this?" (Reminiscent of Kid History's Episode Six, "Healthy Food Will Make You Strong")
But don't despair. There are 3 simple things you CAN do:
- Be a happy example of a smart lifestyle. Let your vitality speak for itself. My 16-year-old athlete has an eye on my eating habits and my work-outs. Recently, he asked how long it would take his tastes to change if he started eating like me. He agreed to give nutritarianism a 21-day trial.
- Serve wholesome, nutritious, delicious meals that look, taste and smell inviting. Give them options. I usually put two or three vegetable dishes on the table, then ask, "Would you like the salad, cooked vegetables, or fresh veggie sticks?"
- Educate them about their choices and the consequences (positive or negative) of each decision. If the only criteria for food is whether it tastes good, Brussels sprouts won't stand a chance against pizza! Once they understand the "physiology of food" they will want to incorporate those dishes that make them feel great and perform better.
In the meantime, you may feel pressure from them to return to your old lifestyle.Case in point: My husband took me on a date; he wanted to buy me an appetizer. He saw Fried Zucchini with Cilantro Lime Dressing on the menu. I declined. He insisted: "I know you! Cilantro and Lime and Zucchini...It's a winner!"
I felt stuck. If I didn't eat it, he would feel like I was ungrateful, wasting his money and being picky. I should have asked the waiter to just bring me the zucchini sticks, unbreaded and unfried, without the creamy dressing.
I learned that waffling makes others push harder. In an article titled Food Bullies posted on Disease Proof, Emily Boller points out that when you exhibit a “defeated attitude” in response to pushiness, then bullying is likely to continue. However, if you respond with a clear attitude of self-confidence and a strong boundary line, the attempts to dominate will quickly diminish.
Picture yourself as a lighthouse, beckoning to your family. If you are bright, they will come without compulsion...perhaps, even this year.
To your health and happiness,
(and your family's, too)