When You’re Not the One Buying Groceries
Your mom’s holiday cooking is in full swing with all the fat, starch and sugar that she uses every year. Or, perhaps you‘re just growing tired of the typical meals that your dad’s cooking, and you want something more exciting to eat. Maybe you just want to eat healthier than your family, but you feel like you don’t have much input on 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 preparing the meals.
Make a Plan with your Parents
- Talk to your parents. It’s important to be open and let them know that you want to eat healthier. Help them understand this desire by expressing why you want to eat healthier. Then let them know that your eating habits at home will have to change.
- Go grocery shopping. Shopping with your parents allows you to make them more aware of what healthy foods you would like to start eating.
- Select 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 eat healthier. You can still eat what your parents are preparing; but by making some minor changes, you’re satisfying your desire to live a healthier life:
- Control portion sizes. If you think you’re eating too much, learn to cut back by using objects as a marker to determine how much food you should take in. 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.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Substitute meats and fried food with colorful fruits and vegetables. There’s a large variety of fruits and vegetables, so try new ones until you find some you like. Try to limit added sugars or sauces on your fruits and vegetables as well.
- Cut down on carbohydrates. Don’t rid of pasta, bread and simple cereals completely, but avoid making them 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.
- Slim down on desserts. If you’re like a majority of people, you love desserts! But they can be a detriment to a healthy lifestyle. Instead of cutting out dessert completely, try not to eat one every night. Allow yourself the pleasure of eating the occasional dessert without added guilt. 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.
- Select healthier snacks. It’s natural to snack, either when you’re hungry or when you’re bored. Snacking can actually be a very healthy habit to build, however, if you aren’t snacking on the right items it can 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.
What if your family eats out more than they cook? Restaurants have become very good about offering healthier options, so don’t be discouraged.
- 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 as unhealthy as fries if you pile on the 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. Water will help you curb your appetite, so you won’t eat more than necessary, plus you’ll be avoiding empty calories.
Your parents do have your best interest at heart, and they want what’s best for you. That thought alone should make it easier to talk to them about changing your eating habits. Sometimes they might not know or have the energy to make a change. If they don’t understand your desire for improvement, make adjustments 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 healthier routine, let them know that you’re just making different lifestyle choices to improve yourself. Eating healthy is one of the first steps to becoming stronger and more confident. It may be challenging at first, but it’s a challenge that can be overcome no matter what the circumstances.