Get your family to help keep your healthy diet on track

Switching to healthier eating habits can be hard to do. Get your family to join you. Here are some things you can do together to eat healthier.

Get your family to help keep your healthy diet on track

Eat family meals together

Experts say that families reap enormous emotional benefits when its members regularly eat meals together. Family communication is better, people eat more nutritiously, and the behaviour of children is better overall. You'll also be less tempted to eat something unhealthy since the whole family is devoted to eating well.

Go healthy food shopping

Hit the supermarket and make sure the shopping cart contains foods you like that also fit into your eating plan. This will increase the odds that home-cooked meals are appealing to you and help you reach your goals for weight loss and blood sugar control if you have diabetes.

Downsize junk food

Unless you do all of the household food shopping, you may feel as if you don't have much control over whether tempting foods enter your house. On the other hand, you might also be reluctant to ban all junk foods and "punish" your family. There is a middle ground. Ask the family shopper to buy those tempting foods in smaller sizes — half of a cake instead of a whole one, for instance, small containers of ice cream and small bags of potato chips. If you end up indulging, you'll at least have some automatic portion control.

Create a playbook of favourites

Ask each person in your household to scour cookbooks, food magazines and the Internet for healthy recipes that look appealing. Try them out and put the "keepers" in your recipe file. Teach every family member how to make these meals so the daily cooking duties don't just fall on one person. The more involved your family members are with their cooking contributions, the more fun healthy eating will be.

Just add veggies

On a night when the main dish at dinner does not fit with your meal plan, set a large bowl of raw or steamed vegetables on the table as a side dish. Take just a small portion of the main meal and extra helpings of the vegetable. Other members of your family probably won't be as meticulous about healthy eating as you, but that's okay. When you show this kind of flexibility, everyone will be satisfied by the household's dinner fare over the long haul.

Start a compost pile

Many families have a "clean your plate" rule that just encourages everyone to overeat. However, when there's an Earth-friendly way to recycle excess food, leaving food on your plate will not seem so wasteful. Plant-based table scraps and the trimmings from fruits and vegetables go in the pile. Turning your compost pile with a shovel once a week will add a little more physical activity to your life as well.

When schedules conflict, adjust

Say your grandson is playing his big clarinet solo in a talent show at noon, right when you should be having lunch. Why not pack your meal in a refrigerated lunch bag? To hold you over during the performance, eat half of your sandwich during the car ride to the show, and eat the rest of your lunch as soon as it's over. This will keep your hunger at bay and prevent you from binging on vending machine junk food.

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