Sometimes in a family, everyone isn’t always on the same page. It can be hard if one person in the person is wanting to have clean eating habits and the others just blatantly doesn’t want to. A compromise could be hard, but when it comes to eating healthier and trying to improve nutrition as a family, working together could be a win-win.
How to Improve Nutrition as a Family
Start by making goals to improve your nutrition as a family. If your main goal is to eliminate the junk food in your diet your plan is going to look different than a couple who is looking to add muscle and tone their bodies. One is not superior or better than the other, so don’t allow yourself to compare your progress to other families doing similar things. Through this process, remember that this is your path and someone else will have a different path and it’s okay if they look different for each person because your goals may not be the same thing. Comparison is the thief of joy.
Especially if one person in the family isn’t sold on the idea of eating healthier, then it is important to start the transition slowly. If you start your new lifestyle slower then you are more likely to succeed in the end.
Start by eating a full additional serving of veggies before every meal for a full week, and then take it a level higher. Add your veggies and only get three coffees that week instead of seven. Perhaps you could try sugar-free or natural sweetener instead of using real sugar in your coffee.
Make small changes every day to help make the transition easier. Do your research on the topic and find what people have said about their personal experiences and make them your own. Just because one person made one diet work doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to be right for you.
One way to be successful in this new endeavor is to plan ahead of time. There is nothing worse than working a full day and then coming home and being so exhausted you don’t even have the mental capacity to think of something to eat. This is usually when people who are just starting begin to struggle, taking the easy out and just grabbing something quick in a fast-food drive-thru.
Start by making a monthly calendar and planning what you will have each night of the week. Make sure you plan and account for nights out, or nights that you know might be busier and you might need to just drink a packed smoothie for dinner. Once you have your monthly plan in front of you, take an inventory of your pantry and make a shopping list. You could make your shopping list for the whole month or just for the first two weeks, whatever works for you.
After you’ve gone grocery shopping and have all of the ingredients, consider meal prepping for the upcoming week. Meal prepping is a life-saver so that when you get home from work, all you have to do is throw that dinner in the InstantPot™. If you’re not a morning person, you will thank your Sunday self for meal prepping your family’s breakfasts and lunches, allowing you to get those precious extra minutes of sleep and grab your prepped meals out of the fridge as you head out the door.
Don’t forget to allow yourself treats in moderation. Completely cutting things you enjoy from your diet is not going to make you unhappy and will make you resent this new lifestyle and you won’t end up succeeding. Treating yourself is good for your mental health. Look for healthier versions of your favorite treats, for example switching dark chocolate chips for semi-sweet chocolate chips in your favorite cookie may help you feel less guilt. However, if allowing yourself your favorite treat now and then is motivating, then let yourself eat it! You will be happier and more successful in the long run.
Grocery Shopping Together
Going grocery shopping together is a great excuse to spend time together for starters. By bringing your spouse or significant other to the grocery store, you both get the opportunity to pick foods that you would enjoy eating. Making a grocery list ahead of time with a plan in place of meals you plan to eat will help limit any additional food you don’t need or food that won’t fit into the new lifestyle you purchase while at the store.
Make sure you are setting yourself up for success by ensuring you have everything you need for what you need to do. Perhaps before heading to the store, check to see if you have enough containers to prepare your food for the week ahead of time. Getting home and realizing you forgot something can make you feel defeated and discouraged and could derail you from your plans.
Don’t forget to check the weekly grocery ads so you go to the store or stores with the best prices and deals for what you’re needing to purchase to avoid getting discouraged from spending so much money on grocery shopping. It’s important to remember that even though you feel like you’re spending a lot of money on groceries, in the long run, it is cheaper than eating out and you will feel so much better if you are putting healthy things into your body and it will thank you for doing so.
It has been proven that exercising with your partner can have real, long-term benefits. Always having someone to help hold you accountable by going to the gym with you is always beneficial. Research conducted showed that individuals are more likely to meet a specific health-related goal when their spouse is also participating. You’re more likely to enjoy your workout itself and the time spent if you are doing it in good company.
You can make sure you both get to choose which exercises you are doing. If, for example, your spouse wants to do cardio, you can work on the treadmill one day and the next time you are exercising you can do strength training. Results aren’t going to start showing immediately so don’t get discouraged.
Whatever your goals are for this, make sure you and your partner are on the same page and are willing to hold each member of the family accountable through the process.
Make sure you start slow and move towards more intense processes so you don’t get overwhelmed. Do what you can together so you both have a say in what you are doing. Planning ahead of time will truly make or break your lifestyle change in the end so do what you can ahead of time to help yourselves out in the future when you need it.