All Aboard... Let's Get On Track!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

KdartNow that you have made a commitment to getting nutrition on track, it’s time to get the rest of the family on board. I’m not going to lie, this whole other side of the journey is so tough! It’s hard enough to figure out how to get yourself on track with a healthy nutritional lifestyle, but getting the family on track can often be another beast! Here’s a couple of tips for you.

Sometimes, that’s all you can do; because it’s all you have the focus for, it’s all your family will allow you to do, or it’s just important to make it about you for a bit because you put everyone else first too often. 

One way to get your family on board is to educate them about the reasons to make changes. Rather than becoming a power struggle, the process of eating healthy can be more about doing what’s right for everyone’s body and brain. Show older children articles about studies done on how some our food supply is poisoning our bodies, how processed foods wreaks havoc on our organs, or how metabolic syndromes affect our quality of life, the amount of money we’ll spend on healthcare, and change our mortality rates. Tell the younger ones that we all want to be around for a long time, healthy and happy, and that means putting better things in our body. 

Start getting the processed food out of your food lifestyle. It’s true, things in packages are bad for us! So find a few things each week that you can get out of your pantry or fridge, and find an alternative. Whole foods are the key. The more you can use that has not been touched, added to, or changed from its original form, the better they are for us. If you can, start replacing with as much organic, nonGMO foods as you can. Aldi and Woodman’s are great places to get these things at a reasonable price. Avoid foods with artificial flavors, colors, high fructose corn syrup and other “syrups”.

Many people will load up a plate with pasta or rice, and their sauces, and leave very little room for protein and vegetables. (Did I mention that you should aim to eat twice as many vegetables as fruit each day? You should!) And switching to grains that are minimally processed, or milled, are good ways to get more fiber and lower the glycemic levels of pasta and rice. 

Find websites that have recipes with whole food cooking. I just googled “roasted meals” and found a great number of recipes that are super yummy and healthy. Stock up on real spices and get away from seasoning packets, sauces, and pre-made dishes. Seasoning with herbs is the best way to get the flavor impact out of whole food.

Make salad your friend! I use my dinner plate for a big salad, and my salad bowl to hold my protein and vegetables. I’m controlling the amount caloric intake while still getting a good volume of food (I’m a volume girl, I love eating “a lot” of food.) Even my kids like a salad a couple times a week. Start adding some spinach, arugula, or kale to regular lettuce or romaine to get the real nutritional impact of salad.

I can’t express enough how important it is to have a plan. Just like going into the gym having no idea what you are going to do, or even knowing how to exercise, would make it difficult to get results or keep you motivated to go back, so is not knowing how you are going to fuel your body for results and/or your health. Food is fuel, period. Society has tacked on an emotional element to almost all of our eating habits: stress eating, cooking to show love, giving kids treats as rewards, celebrating with food, commiserating with wonder we have food issues! Start to read about, and think about, how food fuels our organs, brains, and other systems in our body so that you can correlate the necessity for creating a nutritional lifestyle that is good for you all. I’m not suggesting never having a treat, I love treats! But I have them when I truly want them, and many times I have found a way to make it healthy so that I don’t have to go outside of my lifestyle.

All AboardGet everyone involved in the process. Let them pick meals they like to be put on the menu. Let them shop with you, giving everyone their food list and letting them get their items on it. Let them chop and food prep. When kids feel like part of the process, they are more bought in to the food that’s being eaten. My kids love it when I put a menu on the whiteboard in our kitchen. It has really taken the whole “I don’t want that!” piece out of meal time. When they can see ahead of time what we’ll be eating, they look forward to meals they love, and they are sure to eat better during the day on days they don’t like the meal as much!

I hope this helps. It’s a work in progress and something you’ll get the hang of. Keep at it! And remember, sometimes you have to come first, and then the others will follow, and are more coachable, when you have the experience, strength, and stamina to tackle it. So step on the train, and turn around and get everyone aboard. This truly will be a ride you’ll be glad you took with your family.

Kim Elsing Greater Green Bay YMCA
Certified Personal Trainer, FNS, Nondiet Weight Management Certified, Trained in Holistic Life Coaching through GAHP (Global Association of Holistic Practictioners)