Encourage healthy eating by cooking meals with healthy versions of foods your family already enjoys. For example, if your family members like steak, chicken, potatoes, or pasta, try healthier versions of these foods disguised in full meals. Make steak and chicken meals leaner by broiling meats, cutting off extra fat, draining excess fatty liquid, and/or purchasing lower fat versions of these meats. In considering healthy versions of potatoes, stay away from frying in fatty butter and opt for boiling or baking instead. Add healthy toppings like salsa or low fat sour cream for leaner versions of baked potatoes. Opt for whole wheat pastas instead of the more fattening versions of white pastas that contain sugar. In fact, after cooking whole wheat pasta, you can’t even tell it’s healthy for you, especially when used in spaghetti meals. Choosing healthier versions of foods that are similar to more fattening versions is a good way to subtly encourage your family to eat healthy. In fact, your family will never know you’re cooking healthier unless you tell them so.
Disguise low fat and healthy foods with decoration, lean toppings, or in regular meals. When encouraging your family to eat more vegetables, consider adding melted low fat cheese to broiled/steamed broccoli, cauliflower, or carrots. You can even opt for Bird’s Eye Steamed vegetables that are prepackaged for convenience and can be microwaved in less than 7 minutes right in the bag. These vegetables are flavored with garlic, seasoning, and spices that are healthy for your family, but delicious to eat. You can also disguise healthy foods by trading regular fattening meats for low fat versions such as: ground turkey instead of ground hamburg, turkey bacon rather than pork bacon, or turkey dogs instead of hotdogs. Many of these meats taste the same in low fat versions and can be hidden in meals such as spaghetti (ground turkey), BLT’s (turkey bacon), and macaroni and cheese casserole (turkey dogs).
Ask your family to participate in eating healthy on their own and reward them with treats. Encouraging your family to eat healthy can be done easily if you offer them an incentive to do so. Choose the best reward for your family based on how healthy you want them to be. It might be best to offer good incentives such as a family fun day or small mini vacation rather than encouraging fattening foods such as takeout or ice cream. It’s completely up to you and what you know will encourage your family to eat healthier. Make a weekly list of items you’d like your family to eat once a week and how many servings. For example, if you want your family to eat 5 servings of vegetables a week and 5 servings of fruit, mark it on the list. Then, when your family has eaten these things, place a sticker next to their name. When all family members have complied with healthy eating for the week, offer them a reward that will encourage them to keep up the healthy eating each week.
Give your family valid reasons for developing healthy eating habits. If the whole family is a bit over weight, out of shape, or a few members have been ill, explain how healthy eating habits can make everyone feel much better. Perhaps there are medical reasons for eating healthy. If so, tell your family this and explain what will happen if the family continues to eat fattening foods that are not good for them. When your family understands that healthy eating will help protect family members and keep them around longer, they will be more tempted to follow your healthy eating guidelines and try their best to eat well. Encourage your family to eat better also by showing them the great results they will have. Cut out pictures of healthy people and bodies and paste them on the refrigerator for reference or simply explain what good foods do for your family’s body. When people realize they have something to look forward too, they will be more apt to try something good for them.