8 Ways To Encourage Loved Ones To Eat Healthier
• Let them have a say in the menu. You simply can't expect someone to get excited over a food they just don't like. Let them have input by voicing things they like and don't like. If this is children we're talking about, include them by letting them help you shop, prepare the meal and serve the meal.
• Make it an adventure. Choose one new food or vegetable a week to use in a recipe. Don't even say it's healthy. Sometimes the word "healthy" immediately turns off a picky eater. Just make it an event. If they still don't like it at suppertime, laugh about it. Don't put the pressure on them to always have to like it. Sometimes just trying new things can start some momentum.
• If you do most of the grocery shopping, try to stock your pantry with healthier snacks.
• Pick one small change (or improvement) at at time. If you preach about drinking more water, less soda, more veggies, less sugar, less fast food, and less red meat all at once, don't be surprised if your loved one has zero interest in joining you. Don't pile on everything at once. Choose one at a time. For example, make it a goal to drink more water every day. Start small to get some victories right off the bat. Again, small victories lead to momentum.
• Whatever you do, DON'T nag and pressure them. This will only annoy them, make them defensive, and push them further away from the suggestions you offered. That is a sure way to create tension.
• Lead by example. Offer healthy options and eat healthy options yourself. Remark on how much better you feel after a healthy meal than after a junky meal.
• Find ways to encourage them when they seem to be even slightly on board. Really think of some genuine compliments you can give them. Comment with encouragement if you notice they have more energy, or need less Tums. 🙂 Of course if they are trying to lose weight, let them know if their clothes are fitting better and if they're lookin' good! But don't put too much emphasis on looks alone. Try to make it more about health to encourage a healthy lifestyle rather than just losing weight for looks. Many times dieting for looks alone can backfire when a set back happens and can cause people to lose motivation.
• Have room in your healthy diet for favorite treats every now and then. Or find healthier options for your treats. Make sure life is still delicious.
Please, please, please just keep in mind that healthy eating doesn't have to consist of boiled brussels sprouts. In fact, it can be pretty darn delicious (see those tacos below?!? Yes! Tacos with fresh ingredients can be healthy!). Keep trying new foods and recipes until you find some things you and your loved ones WANT to eat. Enjoy your food and your time together at the dinner table.