I have many clients that tell me they find it hard to eat well when they also have to please a family (including small, picky eaters).
I can totally relate – pretty sure I gave birth to the pickiest eater as some kind of karma for something I did.
In my house, it’s really important to me that we eat as a family as often as we can. Weeknights can be really hectic, but we try to sit down as a family for dinner.
I enjoy a wide variety of healthy eating but I also have to please a stubborn husband and hard to please young ones.
It’s hard, don’t get me wrong but for the most part, I have made it work. I try to keep it relatively healthy while still playing to their favorites and keeping them happy.
Here are some suggestions you can try with your family if you’re finding yourself up against some hard to please food critics while you try to build better eating habits!
Plan, Plan, Plan
This is really key! If I don’t map out some kind of plan for our suppers then it usually leads to eating out which is hard on our monthly budget and my stomach!
Because my time is pretty limited on weeknights, I keep this pretty simple – I plan meals that let me prep some things on Sunday and that is easy to throw together at dinner time (lean meat with a salad and rice dish, casseroles, pasta, soup, and sandwiches, etc.).
I decide what meals we’ll have during the week and then grocery shop for what I need to make them.
Stick With What They Like (and Allow Dipping)
I don’t force my family to eat vegetables I know they don’t like. I’ll plan to include the ones I know they like or will at least tolerate.
My youngest doesn’t like any vegetable cooked, so I’ll leave hers raw – then there’s no fighting and she’ll at least get some good stuff!
It’s also important that they at least try new things so we’ll talk about things they are willing to try and come to a comprise – they will usually give most things a try if I let them dip it in something.
Work With Their Favourites
Food is meant to be enjoyed and family time around the table is great bonding time, so I don’t lose sleep over serving favorites if it makes them happy.
But I will play with recipes to make certain ones healthier or hide in some chopped veggies…sssh! I’ll make spaghetti with homemade sauce that has a lot of veggies in it, I’ll make turkey burgers and sweet potato fries, homemade pizzas, etc.
It helps a lot if I include them in the planning and the kids in the making sometimes! If you let your family know that you’re working on getting healthy and feeling strong they just might surprise you with wanting to help!
And for my family, that usually means at least humoring me through some vegetables!