Clean Eating is an adventure that is more enjoyable and effective when the rest of the household is in on the fun.
However, that can be the biggest challenge – getting the whole family to voluntarily go on the Clean Eating route.
Don’t stress though – it’s POSSIBLE. Here are a few tips on how to encourage your entire family to also enjoy Eating Clean:
Tip #1: Be the change you want to see.
Before you can convince your partner, your children, your mother, your father, your siblings, your best friend, or even the next-door neighbor, you must first get yourself a head-start with a healthier eating routine.
Begin researching on what Clean Eating is all about, chalk up your clean meal plans, clear out and organize your pantry, remove and replace processed food with whole foods. It also helps to have a Clean Eating Recipe Book on hand so you never run out of meal ideas.
Most importantly, YOU should practice what you preach – with consistency.
Eat Clean as much as possible at home, and even when you go out. This helps you become a true inspiration to those around you.
When they see you enjoying your meals, they’ll be more likely to join in too!
Tip #2: Ease into it.
While we may want things to change overnight, it just doesn’t work that way.
Many people resist change because they feel it makes them ‘lose control’ over a situation.
In terms of eating, drastic changes are most likely to not be received with open arms.
The best way to deal with it?
Well-considered baby steps.
Introduce a few clean snacks throughout the week. You can also start them off right with clean breakfasts every other day.
Once they start to appreciate the Clean Food you offer, you’ll notice them warming up to the transition.
Don’t be surprised if they start asking you to make more jars of overnight oats, or for you to start cooking up the next batch of sweet potato chips.
Since it’s a decision they ‘personally’ made and did not feel forced to do, they are more likely to follow through with conviction.
Tip #3: Let them know the WHYs of Clean Eating.
“Why are fast-food meals bad for me?”, “Why can’t I buy my favorite chips and microwave meals?”, “Why do I have to eat clean?”
Answer these questions with gusto – help your family understand how the regular consumption of processed food and added sugars can adversely affect their body and eating habits. Tell them how whole foods and natural ingredients can benefit them.
Information is an effective tool in enabling people to make better decisions.
You can let them read articles like this, or have your teenagers watch documentaries like ‘Fed Up’ and ‘Hungry for Change’ which focuses on the dangers of processed food. With kids, you can use illustrations, make up short stories, and the like.
Tip #4: Be creative with your Clean Food.
Erase the notion of clean food being bland and boring, because it is NOTHING like that! Clean dishes are colorful, flavorful, nutritious, and definitely worth looking forward to.
If you have kids, try making bento boxes or food art, together with them. With all the beautiful, natural colors of clean food like fruits, vegetables, and grains, this is so easy to do!
For the adults and older kids, unique or unexpected ingredients will catch their interest, and make them want to try a clean dish. Just like these spiralized meals that will definitely grab some curiosity.
Tip #5: If you meet resistance, get a little ‘sneaky.’
Just like tip #4, this tip requires you to get the clean ‘in’ without overwhelming your family members with a daily spread of vegetables, salads, quinoa, brown rice, yogurt, and fruits (although all that sounds delicious to me!)
Thing is, you can actually still do that by pairing their favorite familiar eats with healthy appetizers or better yet, give them cleaner versions of their preferred dishes.
Here are some recipes that can help you sneak in that daily dose of nutrients:
*This over grilled chicken: http://cleanfoodcrush.com/pico/ – Absolutely yummy!
*This on a hot summer day is a delight – http://cleanfoodcrush.com/chicken-salad-on-apples/.
*A FAVORITE side dish! http://cleanfoodcrush.com/buffalo-cauliflower-steaks/
Those ‘sneaky’ favorites:
* Who wouldn’t want some pizza right? http://cleanfoodcrush.com/mexican-pizza/
* And when a BLT dish is in order – http://cleanfoodcrush.com/blt-avocados/
* If the kids want some chips – here’s something to cook up for them: http://cleanfoodcrush.com/salt-vinegar-sweet-potato-chips/
Another way to do this is by opting to use clean ingredients as much as you can – spiralized veggies in place of pasta, coconut oil in place of corn oil or butter, or almond milk/coconut milk in place of regular milk.
Tip #6: Always make Whole Clean Foods readily available!
Snacking can be the culprit of our processed food cravings, and this goes for everyone in the family. And more often than not, we will eat what’s within arm’s reach.
Make sure that what’s easily accessible in your kitchen are delicious clean snacks and very little to no processed food in your pantry. This way, the entire household will always have nutritious eats to satisfy cravings.
The secret to making this happen?
Meal planning and regular meal preps (at least once to twice per week) are key.
Sundays are my favorite because it’s a way of relaxing and bonding with the kids too (they help prep their own snacks!). You can also add a mid-week prep to ‘freshen up’ the stocks and keep the food interesting.
Need ideas? These should help:
Tip #7: Make your family part of the clean eating preps.
If you’ve always gone solo with your farmer’s market shopping trips, then next time around you might want to take the rest of the gang with you!
Make it a field trip of sorts – or even a ‘challenge’. Task your partner to find the cheapest zucchini. Get the kids to spot the biggest watermelon, or give them your fruit salad ingredients list. Make the trip fun and exciting!
You can also get them involved in putting together the week’s snack items. This way, they can decide what goes in their snack packs too.
Their involvement in what you are doing, will spark an interest in Clean Eating and produce that ripple effect in the family – for generations to come!
Tip #8: Keep trying.
No matter how many times you’ve tried to get the kiddos interested in a salad…they just won’t touch it.
No matter how often you tell him to choose oats over that greasy fast food breakfast on the way to work…he just will not.
Guess what? – it’s worth trying again, and again, and again.
Keep trying, but maybe go for a different approach the next time.
Some say it takes 30 days to make a habit out of something. But if it takes more than that, please don’t lose heart. It’s so worth it!
How about you? How do you encourage your family to Eat Clean?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below – Your ideas are a valued part of this community!