Set realistic goals. Don’t expect family members to go from loving burgers to craving broccoli overnight. Nutrition is rarely high on a people’s agenda, so plan for the process to take months, years-even decades Every two to three months, set a mini goal. Some examples: Switch from 2% milk to skim or from regular to low-calorie salad dressing. Over the long haul, these small changes will make a huge difference in your family’s overall health.
Emphasize the positive. Don’t say french fries will kill you. Suggest instead that they try baked sweet-potato fries, because they contain a lot of beta-carotene, which will reduce the risk of cancer (for a man), keep skin looking great (for a teenage girl), or help build muscle (teenage boy). .
Lose the attitude. You can undermine best intentions if you present a tasty, healthful meal with a ‘holier than thou’ attitude. Leave your judgements and opinions at the door and come to the table with an open, accepting manner.
Stock up on healthful foods. People are much likelier to eat nutritious food if it’s available. So fill the fridge with easy-to-grab, healthy snacks. When the family prowls the kitchen, they will surface with fresh fruit (already cut up), dried fruit, frozen grapes and whole wheat crackers. Leftovers are anyone’s best friend, so make sure there’s always a little extra from last night’s nutritious meal.
Make healthy versions of their favorite foods. It’s amazing what you can do with ground turkey breast. Use half ground turkey and half extra lean ground beef when making chili. No one even knows the difference. Use fat-free half & half, baby prunes instead of fat in baking, cooking spray instead of butter, and chicken broth when sauteeing.
Disguise healthy foods. Add chopped spinach to soups, grated carrots and zucchini to spaghetti sauces, blueberries in muffins. If the problem food at your house is broccoli, grind it up and add to pesto sauces. Puree vegetables and add to cream sauces or soups, add spinach and crumbled tofu to lasagna, cook oatmeal in nonfat milk, mix wheat germ into your coating for chicken, or use two egg whites for every one whole egg in cooking. Add green peas to Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, cooking your rice in V8 juice, and add mashed bananas into pancake batter.
Pump up the flavor. Even when your family wants to eat healthier, you still need to make the foods taste great. That means using savory flavors, such as fresh herbs, garlic, chilies, ginger, lemon, sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, horseradish or salsa. Try mixing flavors, like adding winter pears, fresh raspberries or sliced peaches to a spinach salad. Skip the cutesy garnishes and the finely chopped celery and focus on the type of meals most men like best- straightforward, uncomplicated and satisfying.