Guest Post I wrote for http://www.talkvegantome.com/home/blog/guest-post-the-ultra-motivating-b-j-tucker
First of all, whenever one person in the house makes dramatic changes, they cannot expect others to follow immediately no matter how hard you try. Over the course of a year, I went from eating the SAD (Standard American Diet) to eating tons of fruits, veggies and ultimately - giving up meat and 98% of the dairy! To add more to the equation, I do not eat sugar or processed grains except for the occasional treat.
I am a father of five kids and have been married for 27 years. While the family sees the dramatic results of my changes, they are not on board with many of the changes I have made. I went from a sedentary, overweight person, to a plant-powered ultra-athlete. We cannot force our ideas onto others - they must make them their own and I have seen some changes in their eating habits. We put some limits on the things the kids have access to at home, but our panty still has cereal, cookies, chips, and a fridge full of milk, cheese and meat.
For me personally, I support what the kids want to eat (within reason), and I make and eat my own foods. Since I am not the main cook during the week it works out pretty good.
On the weekends when we have family dinners, I still cook a regular meal which includes some sort of meat for everyone. I am the Grill Master and can still cook a mean steak or chicken; however, I have changed the meats that I buy. I only buy high-quality meats and avoid the processed stuff all together. This has raised the price of the meal, but I know in the long run it is well worth it.
I also buy most of the foods that I eat, making sure to get enough to share with everyone else. The kids do eat more fruit and my wife is now making smoothies in the morning. In the long run I think they will come around to eating healthier, but when your kids are athletic and relativity thin - they do not see the down side to what they eat.
This is my challenge! I made this change after the kids – except one - were all teenagers, so their ways were already set. It is much easier to start them on the right path early in life, but that is not the case here.
If the head of the grocery-shopping is on board, then it makes the journey much easier as they control the food that comes into the house. Limiting the amount of processed foods is key and providing lots of healthy options will help them to make better choices.
The way I have managed to maintain my healthier lifestyle is to cook simple dishes for myself. I am a man so simple is good! I do pretty well eating my own dishes without adding a lot of complication to dinner time. I make my own smoothie in the morning, take my own lunch to work, and graze on raw food throughout the day. So when dinner time arrives I do not need a very large meal.
I share my thoughts with the family, share examples of how much better I feel, and from time to time I mention to them what the foods they eat do to their bodies in the long run. In the end they will remember these lessons, but it is up to them to follow them.
Finally, do not make dinnertime a time of stress! You want the kids to feel comfortable eating as a family, and some sacrifices and compromises will need to be made. If kids grow up resenting dinnertime that can have long term negative effects on them and may foster a bad relationship with food. This can lead to much larger issues as they begin to see the negative effects of their lifestyle.
In the end, stay true to your beliefs; create a positive environment around food, and work hard to get them to eat healthier foods by making it fun, creative and enjoyable.