How To Stick To A Healthy Diet When Your Family Won’t Cooperate

The topic was on my idea list for a while, and today seemed the perfect time to write about it – Healthy diet with an unsupportive family. When trying to make the switch to a healthier diet, women sometimes encounter the obstacle of their family not eating what they cook.

refusing meal

While I would love it if my husband and family were more health-conscious, I am fighting a serious uphill battle that I stopped worrying about a long time ago. Rather than trying to fight this battle, I set an example and serve healthy food options alongside their favorite foods.

My husband doesn’t inherently eat “bad”, but he certainly isn’t health conscious either. Thankfully he doesn’t have a sweet tooth and has a natural shut-off button when he’s full. I am not that lucky.

What to do when your husband and/or children won’t touch the healthy food you cook?

refusing to eat healthy food

Do you cook twice? Do you force them to eat your new healthy way of eating? Is there anything you can do about this?

While these are just my two cents, I have been successful at keeping my weight within a healthy range. I say stop forcing them to eat what you eat. The “if they don’t like it they can starve” method, in my opinion just does not work. It creates an unsupportive and hostile home environment and sets you up for failure. First, fix yourself. Before you tackle your family, make sure you are on solid ground.

Tips to get your unsupportive family on board with a healthy diet

Breakfast and lunch

healthy breakfast

For breakfast and lunch, cook just for you. Make double portions and save the extras so you have go-to foods and you’re not always cooking twice. Lunch and breakfast can be the same as usual for your kids and husband.

healthy family dinner

Family Dinners and a Healthy Diet

Dinner

Be okay with serving separate meals sometimes. Just eating together is a family meal. Just think of it like a night out for dinner. It’s still a great family meal even if nobody eats the same thing every time. I always serve vegetables. Often more than one so they have choices. Whether they eat them or not is up to them, but they must at least try one bite.

Honestly, I only aim for 2 to 3 meals a week that I eat close to the same as my family. At first, it was difficult, but now everyone is used to it, and nobody cares. If you can get your family onboard, even better! Make your goals higher.

I switched to a plant-based diet almost 3 years ago. Nobody is getting on the plant-based train with me. So, what’s a girl to do? I make side dishes for my main meal and then I prepare meat to serve with it. Sometimes, I don’t cook at all and they’re on their own. This is great for take-out nights. I cook for myself, and they get take-out. Win-win.

Finally here are some links to places to get you started on healthy food choices with your family – Healthy Eating for Families from My Plate and Healthy Eating Tips from the American Heart Association.

What if your husband or family wants to eat healthier too?

husband helping cook healthy food

Let’s say your husband does want to lose weight or eat healthier. That’s fantastic but remember this is your journey. Support is a plus, but you two will likely be at different places along the way and you need to be alright with that. You’ll have setbacks. He’ll have setbacks. It’s okay if he decides not to stick with you on this journey.

Junk food and temptation in the house

unhealthy food

What to do about the junk food in the house?

This one is HARD. How do you stick with a healthy diet with junk food in the house? Everyone says just get rid of junk food and don’t keep it in the house. Fantastic if you can do that, but what if you can’t?

That’s damn near impossible for me to do with 4 kids still in the house. Some of them are old enough to drive and buy their own stuff. I am not the food police! My husband is going to buy Girl Scout cookies and my kids are going to pick up potato chips and ice cream. It’s there. It’s impossible for me to get rid of it.

I think it’s lousy advice anyway. I mean really? Can you really live in a bubble? Food is everywhere! It’s at your work. It’s at your neighbor’s. It’s at church. To avoid temptation, I take different steps that I believe are more effective. Here are my best tips to get your unsupportive family to be more cooperative with a healthy diet.

junk food temptation

I keep my family’s snack food in a different cabinet. I put it up. It’s not on the countertop. It’s not in plain view. I have a lot of my staples in a separate cabinet from my kids. By doing this, I won’t even see their food as I grab my staples.

The same is true for the freezer and the refrigerator. I keep all my stuff on the bottom two shelves in the freezer. Theirs on the top two. I organized the refrigerator in the same way. I have one shelf that is all their stuff. My food is on the bottom shelf.

healthy foods in the refrigerator

By having my food exactly where I want it, I don’t have to sort through their junk food to find what I want. I can stay focused on what I planned to eat.

What about exercise?

healthy family exercising

The same advice applies to exercise. Your family may or may not want to exercise! I love it. It makes me feel awesome. It takes time though for your body to adapt to working out. If your partner wants to work out with you, that’s fantastic. If he doesn’t, that’s okay too.

Please know with all of this, I am human, and I’ve been very upfront about my lifelong issues with food. I am not without flaws. Sometimes I fail miserably and fall right down the rabbit hole of sugar and temptation, but today as I write this, I remember to be kind to myself. Most of the time, I am very health conscious and my food demons do not own me.

Be Kind to Yourself

self love of healthy diet

A final note on sabotage! Yep, I said it! Your family may not love the new you! They may fight you every step of the way. Getting rid of the power struggle is crucial here. Your family may be difficult and uncooperative with a healthy lifestyle.

I am grateful that my family has come around to accepting that this is who I am, but it wasn’t always the case. My family is still not entirely supportive of a healthy diet, but they are no longer uncooperative with my food choices.

I cannot promise that your family will come around easily. Don’t give up, soon enough they will be used to the new you.

Hopefully, with your success and changing attitude, they will gravitate to your way of thinking, and if not, that’s okay too. Ultimately, you are only in control of yourself. Rember to show love to yourself and your family.

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2 thoughts on “Healthy diet with an unsupportive Family”

  1. This is a great topic and always a challenge. Now that my kids are out of the house, I’ve really shifted to cooking for myself and my husband can like it or lump it — or fix himself a peanut butter sandwich. 😉 It’s a challenge because I don’t want to cook meat much and he doesn’t like to eat vegetables much. We found a compromise with salmon and tuna and pasta.

    1. Hi! Pasta tends to be our compromise too. I hadn’t thought much about what it will be like when the kids all move out. I actually can work around him easier than my kids though. Thanks for stopping by.

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