Transitioning to healthy eating can be extremely hard. It’s one of the hardest changes you’ll ever make. It’s even harder if you are surrounded by family or friends who don’t support you. Or, even worse, you’re surrounded by people who choose to continue their unhealthy eating habits while you attempt to change yours. Does this sound familiar? If so, we have some healthy eating tips to help you out!
We are proud to say that we have helped make doing a Whole30 easier for thousands of people through our Whole30 meal plans. In fact, over 20,000 people have downloaded our meal plans and shopping lists to help guide them along their Whole30 journey. We are hand in hand with these people as they go through the Whole30, giving them tips and advice – and we also solicit feedback and hear common struggles.
The Whole30 is a strict elimination diet, which is a huge change for most people. One of the most common struggles we hear from people is some version of this – “My spouse/partner (or kids) will only eat (blank), how do I keep everyone happy and not cook two separate meals every day?”
Hearing this is really like a punch in the gut for us. Here people are trying to make significant changes; to try healthy eating and improve their lives. However, instead of providing support, their significant other chooses to stay stuck in their ways and continue on the same old path.
That’s hard to stomach. When we changed our diets, we basically did it together and we know the change was so much easier because of that. The foods we didn’t want to eat just didn’t make it in the house and we enjoyed embracing our new way of eating and cooking together.
While we understand everyone might not get the level of support that we had ourselves, we have some tips to share for enlisting support from family and loved ones. Hopefully these will help get others to understand and support your new dedication to healthy eating!
1. Define your why and share it
Why do you want to change your diet? Do you have an overarching reason you want to make changes and eat healthy? What is your primary motivation for making changes to be healthier?
All of these questions should help you to define your why, whatever it is. It doesn’t matter what your why is, it matters that it is important to you and you can clearly define it.
Now, go share your why with everyone you want to support you! If they don’t know why you want to make changes, they can’t understand your motivation or properly support you. Sharing your why will not only motivate you more, but it will also help those around you understand your perspective and the reason behind the changes you are making.
2. Educate, educate, educate
If you are looking into eating a healthier diet, you have probably done some research into that way of eating and why it is better than how you are currently eating. You may have read books, magazines, online articles, listened to podcasts, or watched videos about it.
But have you taken the time to educate those around you? Education is key to understanding, which can be the trigger for making changes. If your partner doesn’t understand why the fettuccine alfredo is terrible for him, it’s unlikely they will trade it for the chicken zoodle dish you would prefer they ate.
So, you don’t have to “sell” your new diet to complete strangers, just those people you want to support you. Here are some ideas for getting the message through and educating others:
- Documentaries: Fed Up, The Magic Pill, Food, Inc.
- Books: It Starts With Food, The Primal Blueprint, The Wahls Protocol
- Podcasts: Fat Burning Man Show, The Primal Blueprint Podcast, Balanced Bites
3. Give it time
Not everyone will be on the same timeline as you are in your healthy eating journey, and you just have to accept that. While you may be ready and committed to do a Whole30 in January, you can’t spring the concept of a Whole30 on your spouse/partner on the 1st of the month and expect them to jump “all in” with you.
Take the time explain your why and provide education to those around you. Help them seek out and discover the details that will help them understand why you want to make a change. Allow them time to comprehend this change and let it sink in. This part is hard, but critical.
Just remember, this change is hard (both for you and others). You have to realize that you are trying to convince someone to change a lifetime of eating habits, it won’t happen overnight. Be patient AND persistent!
4. Find some common ground
Even if you get your partner and kids behind your new healthy eating plan, getting people to try new foods can be hard. Kids like certain things, and certain adults like certain things. So how do you break the routine and introduce new recipes and ingredients in your home? Here are a few ideas:
- Find your favorites – Find a couple of recipes you know everyone likes and always have a couple of these prepped and frozen for emergency meals. That way when your kids or partner refuse to eat your zoodles, you have something that can be served without cooking an entire extra meal on the fly.
- Keep it kid-friendly – For some kid-friendly recipes, check out our round up blog post here. You might find some new recipes to put into the rotation that everyone will enjoy.
- Let them choose – Have your kids or partner pick a recipe idea for one dinner each week and you can try to make a healthier version of it.
5. Involve everyone
Sometimes all it takes is getting someone in the kitchen to get them to try something new. When you are involved in the process, you are automatically more invested in the result. This is true in cooking and it helps to get your partner and kids involved in cooking!
One healthy eating tip we always suggest when people are struggling to get support is to implement a “family cooking night” in lieu of takeout night or eating out. This is a night for everyone to get in the kitchen and help make dinner.
To help involve everyone, we suggest letting a picky eater choose their favorite dish. But, instead of making their exact choice (like frozen pizza), find a healthy version of that meal to make at home together. An example of this is making a “healthy” version of a traditional takeout meal, like Sweet Potato Chicken Pad Thai.
A bonus tip
We hope that these 5 tips are helpful if you are struggling to find support from others as you transition to healthy eating. Our final piece of advice on this matter is this – stay strong. Even if you aren’t getting the support you need, continue on and do your best. Show everyone who is doubting you how making a positive change in eating habits can change your life, outlook and confidence. Don’t give up, remember your why, and keep working towards a healthier you.
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