You may be on board with cutting out processed food, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your family fully supports the idea. This can certainly lead to some challenges, but for those who truly care about the health of their family members it is hard to simply look the other way. We initially cut out highly processed food and refined ingredients because we thought it was the right thing to do, but the unexpected improvements to our health that followed were almost a little scary. I had no clue that giving up white flour, sugar, and other processed junk would cause my daughter’s asthma and constipation to disappear as well as result in a 50% increase in my HDL (a.k.a. “good”) cholesterol! And here I already thought we were a fairly “healthy” family, which has a lot to do with why I spend my time trying to convince others (including your family members) to make the switch to real food.
I used to be absolutely clueless about the food we were eating and then one day I read Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food and watched Food, Inc. That was enough to give me a huge wake up call and while these resources are a great start for anyone who needs some convincing, it might take more than that to convert the most close-minded of spouses. My husband happens to be on board already (or I could never do all of this!) so I reached out to my wonderful 100 Days of Real Food facebook community for their advice and following are the results. If you have any additional suggestions please leave them in the comments below.
How to convince a reluctant spouse or other family member to make the switch to real food:
- Rent the documentary Food, Inc.
- Get a hard copy or audio version of In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
- Make some real food meals to show how good and filling they are (check out the Recipes and Resources page for meal ideas)
- Don’t tell your family member up front you are making changes…just stop buying and serving the processed and refined junk
- Start by making familiar recipes with better ingredients…like local steak with organic baked potatoes
- Buy different (and better organic brands) of familiar products like peanut butter, pasta, and dairy products
- Take baby steps by slowly adding healthier options like veggies to your weekly menu
- Share facts and tidbits on why one should cut out processed food (here are 10 reasons to get you started)
- Agree to work together to set a good example for your children
- Serve fresh, in-season and well-prepared produce to those that don’t think they like veggies (the taste is quite different from what comes out of a can!)
- Sneak veggies into meals and tell them about it afterward
- Track and share spending at fast food joints and other restaurant vs. eating at home and packing lunches
- Tell them to eat what you are serving or they are on their own!
- If they don’t like something don’t keep making it…move on to other real food options
- Enforce the same “3 bite rule” that your children have to follow
- Make changes for yourself (and your children if you have them) and hope your reluctant spouse will eventually follow suit on their own
- Moderation is key…don’t harp on the occasional junk food!
- As with any unwilling or picky family member (young or old) remember to practice patience and persistence
If your reluctant family member is a picky eater some of the tactics listed in this post may work as well: Winning over your picky eater