You can lead your family to a healthy dinner plate, but you can't make them eat. The transition to a healthier lifestyle can be met with resistance, especially if your children and husband are used to candy-like fruit snacks, potato chips and fried foods. By taking the transition slowly and using simple substitutions, you can show your family that healthy eating isn't painful. You might even get them to join in on planning healthful meals.
Talk to your family about why you want to improve how you eat. Discuss the increased energy and healthier body that comes from eating healthier foods. Show your family that you are excited about the transition to a healthier diet so they catch your enthusiasm.
Set up a family healthy eating challenge to motivate your kids and husband to make better choices. Make a chart to track how many fruits, vegetables and glasses of water each family member consumes. Create a new challenge each week. For example, one week you might see who can drink the most water or who eats the most vegetables.
Swap out the family favorites with healthier alternatives. For example, if your child likes processed gummy fruit snacks, make your own using juice and gelatin, or make homemade fruit leather using fruit puree. Make homemade chips by slicing sweet potatoes thinly, tossing with olive oil and roasting in the oven until they are crisp. If your kids and husband see they have alternatives to their favorites, they might be more willing to give it a shot.
Cook the same meals but with healthier ingredients. You can make simple changes to the family favorites that make them healthier. For example, swap part of the lasagna noodles for thinly sliced eggplant, cut the meat in half, use low-fat ricotta, and add shredded vegetables in the layers the next time you make lasagna. Your kids and husband get a similar meal with fewer calories and fat, plus more vegetables. Let them know you made the changes so they see that healthier doesn't mean bland.
Offer choices for your family. Let each family member take a night to plan the menu with your guidance to make it a healthy, balanced meal. Set your kids loose in the produce section so they can choose new fruits and vegetables to try. Having some control in what they eat might make your kids more agreeable about the changes.
Eat locally grown fruits and vegetables. Head to an apple farm to pick your own apples. Make a weekly trip to the farmers market to stock your kitchen with produce. Grow your own produce in the backyard.
Leave healthy snack options out where your kids and husband can grab them easily. Your family might enjoy celery topped with peanut butter, but they don't want to wash and cut the celery just to enjoy it. If you have vegetables prepped in the fridge, fruit washed in a bowl on the counter, and other convenient snacks, such as nuts, in bags, your family is more likely to eat them.