This week we’re tackling a big subject that may be very near and dear to your heart: feeding a family. We know how challenging it can be to transition yourself to a clean-eating lifestyle—with everything you have to learn, all of the label reading, updating your shopping and snacking habits, and more. So, we’re most definitely aware that transitioning your entire family to clean eating can seem like an impossible task. That’s why we’re sharing our best tips for getting the rest of the family on-board with healthy eating. It may seem daunting at first, but it’s a worthy goal. Everyone deserves to feel their best, and we’re sure your family will thank you for it!
Ready to overhaul your family’s plates? Start here:
1. Take it slow and implement just one (or two) changes at a time.
Once your eyes are opened to the dangers of processed foods (and the benefits of a clean, whole-food diet), it’s tempting to overhaul and change everything all at once. But don’t. Give yourself space and grace to learn about new foods, new cooking techniques, and new ways of shopping and meal planning. Plus, change everything about your family’s diet overnight and you’re likely to have a rebellion on your hands. Start by choosing three or four recipes to cook next week together. You’ll feel good about making these meals—and they’ll be interested in eating them.
2. Ditch the soda and other sugary drinks.
This can be a hard habit to break “cold turkey,” so it’s okay to gradually decrease your intake until you’ve weaned yourself and your family off of drinks that offer zero nutritional value. This is a great way to start your real food transition because you dramatically decrease your family’s sugar intake and potentially save some money—talk about bang for your buck. If plain still water bores your taste buds to tears, try drinking sparkling water with a few slices of lemon or lime, some fresh mint, or even a few berries in it for flavor.
3. Eat more whole vegetables and fruits.
By choosing more whole or minimally-processed vegetables and fruits you’ll edge out the less nutritious options like French fries, chips, fruit snacks, juice, and fruit-flavored yogurts. Prep containers of vegetable sticks to munch while preparing dinner, and keep a bowl piled high with apples, oranges, and bananas for easy after-school or grab-and-go snacking.
4. Change your oils.
Replace highly refined and unhealthful margarine, canola, vegetable, and soybean oils with butter, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil when cooking. If you only make one change here, swap the margarine for butter (preferably grass-fed).
5. Say goodbye to corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors.
Generally these three run together in candies, sodas, and other hyper-palatable snack foods—but they can also be really sneaky and show up in condiments, sauces, and other unlikely places. Read the labels and look for comparable products made without these unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients.
6. Swap a few store-bought snacks and treats with homemade versions.
Again, start slowly! If you buy a lot of frozen waffles or pancakes, that might be the perfect place to begin. These breakfasts are easy to make, and you can whip up a double batch and freeze leftovers between sheets of parchment paper for later. Same goes for other baked goodies and often sugar-loaded foods like muffins, cookies, and granola.
7. Make time for meal planning and prep.
When you’re feeding multiple mouths, taking the time to plan meals for the week and make your grocery list is even more important. At first, just plan out three dinners and one or two breakfasts so you don’t feel overwhelmed trying to plan every meal of the week for an entire family right off the bat. As you get better at planning, prepping, and executing your meal plan you can add more meals to the mix each week. Then, set aside an hour each week to prep additional staples, like a batch of soup, washed and chopped vegetables and fruits for side dishes, salads and snacking, and grilled or slow-cooked proteins. That way you have some healthy options throughout the week in addition to the meals you’ve planned.
8. Find real food recipes your family will enjoy.
Finding new and fun meals to make will help keep your whole family excited about eating clean. We’ve got lots of delicious, family-friendly recipes for you here, with new ones added each week. You’re guaranteed to find something for everyone and every craving—from savory to sweet. Print out your favorite recipes and keep them in a folder—or save them to your computer—so you have a whole collection of tried-and-true family-pleasers ready when you’re not sure what to make.