All in the Family – Getting Buy-in on the Healthy Food and Exercise Plan
Getting everyone involved in your diet and exercise plan will make a tremendous impact in your life! It’s so much easier to stick to eating plans with family support. You won’t have to make separate meals, and everyone in the family (not just you) eats healthfully.
Tips for creating a family support plan:
Here are some ideas for creating a support plan the whole family can participate in.
Have a family meeting
One of the best ways to accomplish getting the whole family in on the action is to have an open and honest family discussion on how eating a healthy diet and exercising is beneficial for everyone. What do your kids think eating healthy means? Engage them in a conversation and build a plan together on how to make this lifestyle change sustainable.
Make it fun
Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Playing sports, dancing, creating a family competition, and trying new activities keep exercise from being a “have-to-do” to a “love-to-do”. It’s the same with food – try new fruits and vegetables, sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture box, make salads more colorful by adding different veggies, and let kids help with cooking.
Make the change gradual
If you are planning on purging your entire fridge and cupboard, don’t just toss everything out on impulse. Do acknowledge why certain foods are unhealthy, and then make the choice to toss. If it’s something that your whole family really enjoys, it may be all right to keep – you just have to be more mindful about portions. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, see if there’s a way to re-create it at home. Slowly add in more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your grocery list.
Be the example, not the nagger
The best way to promote a healthy lifestyle to your family is if they see you practicing more than preaching. Be sure to put your health goals in writing and revise them often.
Provide easy access to healthy options
Have fruits and vegetables in easy-to-reach and easy-to-see areas, such as front and center in the fridge, pantry, and kitchen counter. Family is more likely to snack on these that way. Learn what the experts secrets are to healthy eating!
Everyone is more likely to eat vegetables and fruits that have already been peeled and cut for them. It may be worth the extra money to buy them prewashed and prepared. Think crudité platter: add a variety of colorful vegetables such as carrot sticks, mini bell peppers, broccoli, and jicama. This is a great way to get everyone on board with eating vegetables.
Find that there are leftover veggies at the end of the week? No worries; sauté the pre-cut vegetables in a pan with some oil and soy sauce, and you’ve got yourself a quick stir fry. Peel and cut cantaloupe and watermelon and have them in a bowl ready for snacking in the fridge. Wash fruits like grapes right when you get home from the grocery. Frozen grapes make a great sweet treat. Just don’t prewash berries! They are like sponges and will become mushy and turn bad quickly if pre-washed.
Do you have a family member that gets peck-ish after dinner? Always have a list of healthy options in the fridge to go to first before resorting to the chips. The beauty of this list is it’s a visual cue when our minds are overloaded that steers you away from junk food. Try vegetables with hummus or Ranch dip.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your diabetes?