Perhaps lately you‘ve been growing tired of the typical meals that mom and dad have been cooking, and you want something more exciting to eat. Maybe you just want to eat healthier than your parents do but you feel like you don’t have much input for the grocery list. If you’re feeling stuck, here are a few tips to help you on your road to eating healthier when you’re not the one buying groceries.
Make a Plan with your Parents
- Talk to your parents. It’s important to be open with them and let them know that you want to eat healthier. Express why you want to eat healthier and let them know that this means changing your eating habits at home.
- Ask to go grocery shopping with them. Shopping with your parents allows you to make them more aware of what healthy foods you would like to start eating.
- Find recipes. Do your research on healthy food recipes that you know your family will enjoy and suggest them to your parents when a grocery list is being made. Finding these recipes allows them to become involved, see your dedication and also eat healthy with you.
If your parents are reluctant to let you pick out foods to eat, know that there are other ways to eating healthier. By making these changes, you’re still eating what your parents are cooking; you’re just eating more of one thing than another. These options include, but are not limited to:
- Controlling your portion sizes. If you think you’re eating too much, learn to cut back by using objects to determine how much food you’re eating. For example, eat meats that are the size of a deck of cards, and sides that are the size of your fist. If you’re still hungry after eating a full plate, add another side of a fruit or vegetable instead of a starchy carbohydrate. It’s OK to have seconds of the healthier food options.
Eating more fruits and vegetables. Substitute meats and fried food with colorful fruits and vegetables. There’s a large variety of fruits and vegetables. Keep trying them until you find some you like.
- Cutting out carbohydrates. This includes pasta, bread and simple cereals. Don’t rid of them completely, but try to make sure that they aren’t the majority of your diet. If mom only buys bread and potatoes, ask her to buy healthier alternatives like wheat bread instead of white or sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.
- Deciding on smaller desserts. If you’re like a majority of people, you love desserts! But they can be a detriment to healthy eating habits. Don’t cut dessert out completely. Instead, try not to eat one every night. Allow yourself the pleasure of eating the occasional dessert without the added guilt later. If you crave a dessert every night, or it’s part of your family evening ritual, cut back on the amount. Have one scoop of ice cream instead of two.
Selecting healthier snacks. It’s natural to snack, either when you’re hungry or when you’re bored. Snacking can be a great way to curb hunger, but it can also be a danger to eating healthy. Don’t grab a whole bag of chips. Instead, pull out a handful and place the chips in a bowl. Nuts, fruits and raw vegetables are great snack choices as well.
What if your family eats out more than they cook? Well, it’s important to know that there are healthier options at any restaurant.
- Look up the menu ahead of time. If you know where you’re going, finding the menu online is a good way to discover healthier alternatives to what you usually order.
Substitute the sides for something healthier. Instead of ordering fries with your burger, order vegetables or a salad. While salads are a good substitute, they can be just as unhealthy as fries if you load up the salad with dressings and extra toppings. Opt for the dressing on the side and add only what you need to satisfy your taste buds.
- Select water over soda. When you go out, order water instead of a sugar-filled drink. This way, you’re avoiding empty calories and curbing your appetite so you won’t eat more than necessary.
Know that your parents have your best interest at heart, and they do want what’s best for you. That thought alone should make it fairly easy to talk to them about wanting to eat healthier. If they don’t understand your desire for improvement, make changes that you can control – like cutting back on food and exercising more. If they think that you’re going off on the deep end with your new, healthier ways, be sure to let them know that you’re just making better lifestyle choices for a better you. Eating healthy is one of the first steps to becoming a stronger, more confident you. It may be challenging at first, but it’s a challenge that can be overcome no matter what the circumstances.