How to Get Your Family Involved with Healthy Eating
Building healthy eating habits isn’t the easiest journey to go on, especially if you feel like you’re doing it alone. But when you’re supported by your family, it can make a huge difference in your own ability to address the challenges that come with building and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with diabetes.
Check out these tips to get your family involved and excited about the healthy eating changes you’re making in your life.
What is Healthy Eating?
“Healthy eating” is a frequently used term but one that is not discussed as often as it should. Healthy eating can imply different things in different cultures, countries, and individual approaches, but regardless of this, it has certain basic characteristics that are important to consider:
- Healthy eating has to be sufficient in both quality and quantity to guarantee meeting each person's individual needs.
- Healthy eating takes into consideration age, sex, height, the movement you perform (at work or as an exercise), and your overall health. Healthy eating is individualized, so it also takes personal and cultural preferences into account.
- Healthy eating involves variety. By eating different types of fruits, vegetables, etc., you are expanding the amount of vitamins and minerals we consume as well as the types of fiber that contribute to better nutrition for your body.
Once all the above have been considered, the next consideration is how we can help our family eat healthily.
Four Tips to Make Healthy Eating a Family Affair
Lead by Example
One of the best ways to encourage your loved ones is by showing how healthy eating is having a positive impact on your life with diabetes. Don’t be shy about how to make modifications in the way you eat, including how you keep track of what you have eaten. Show them how you maintain a healthy balance by eating a variety of foods, including foods that some may deem “bad” for people with diabetes. If you have meal planning and organization tips that keep you on track, encourage your loved ones to try them too!
Finally, track your wins and share how you’ve overcome challenges with your family. Everyone loves an inspirational story and your family is no exception.
Get Them in the Kitchen
Ask your family to get involved in the cooking process. Many believe healthy eating is bland and flavorless. However, asking for help preparing food, including allowing your loved ones to contribute their styles of cooking, is a great way to bond over healthy food. Are there flavors, techniques, or specific dishes your family has always wanted to explore? Use those opportunities to try something new as a group. Also, while you and your family are cooking together, this is a great time to teach them about concepts like portion sizes and the Diabetes Plate Method. Share your healthy cooking tips and have them try some of your recipes or recipes from Diabetes Food Hub®.
Bring Them Grocery Shopping
One of the barriers to healthy eating is not knowing how to read a food label or believing that you always have to buy fresh fruits and vegetables (when frozen works well too). Show them around the store and teach them how to read food labels that will aid in the decision making. Also, if you have any money-saving tips on healthy foods, this is a great time to share that knowledge, too.
It is not only about the amount of nutrients we consume, but also the quality of them. Learning to read labels is very important and, in addition, you should consider the ingredients list. A product that is low in carbohydrates or low in fat does not always mean that it is good for you, especially if it is a product that contains many ingredient names you do not understand.
As a person with diabetes, you’re aware of how important it is for you to maintain these habits. You’re also aware of how beneficial support from loved ones can be. But remember that acquiring new healthy habits is a process and it is best to gradually make changes. Everyone’s health journey is different, and it may take your family some time to catch on. Communicate your desire to have your family try new ways to enjoy food with you and be open to teaching them to be the support system you need.