Convincing Your Family to Eat like the Flintstones

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Written by Jackie Stevenson, DTR

So, you want to go Paleo. You’ve read Paleo 101, Paleo on a Budget,  seen all of the delicious recipes we post on Facebook and Instagram, and you have decided that Paleo is the life you want to live. That’s great! What’s not so great is that you also prep meals for your family, and they are less than thrilled with the idea. Bummer. Yes, there will always be an unsupportive S.O., or a family member hooked on junk food, but don’t let that ruin your plan. Here’s what you can do.

TRY to convince them that going Paleo will be awesome

You can try to make them read Cordain’s books about the Paleo diet, or even our blog for a simpler explanation to learn the benefits of Paleo, but let’s be honest, that’s probably not going to happen. Although there are countless benefits, start with these talking points:

  • You will likely lose weight by eating healthier, less processed foods.
  • You can still eat meat (This was my husband’s first and only concern).
  • The 85/15 rule-you don’t have to be perfect all the time.
  • We’ll try it for a week and see how it goes.cavepeople-paleo-713x535

Likely arguments you will probably get:

  • “I’m skinny already, I don’t need to be on a diet.” My answer? You may be at a normal body weight, but you’re feeding yourself garbage. Try this, you may feel better.
  • “I like my dairy, grains and junk.” Answer? Try eating whole foods for a week instead of processed options, see how you feel. They will feel great, problem solved.
  • “What the heck are we going to eat?” Answer? We’ll try some new recipes this week. Don’t worry, I’ll do all of the planning, you just show up for dinner (Yes, you may have to lead by example on this one and do all of the meal planning and prep on your own for awhile. When there’s nothing else for dinner, they’ll eat whatever you’ve made).
  • Here’s a great article by Jeremy Hendon at PaleoFlourish.com to help with the conversation.

If convincing them doesn’t go well, do it anyway

You tried your hardest to convince them, but their stubbornness won. There will always be an excuse to put off healthy eating, don’t let your family bring you down. Theoretically, they should be supportive, but don’t count on it, and don’t let it stop you. Try these tips to go Paleo with little effect on others.

  • You don’t eat every meal with family. Most of us do breakfast or lunch away from home, so plan those meals to be Paleo. It won’t affect anybody else anyway.
  • Modify recipes you already make to be Paleo. Simple swaps from non-paleo  ingredients can make meals Paleo-friendly with little difference in taste. Example: Paleo Meatloaf.
  • Stick to the meat, veggies and starch model at dinnertime, just leave out the starch serving on your plate. Example: Make steak, mashed potatoes and mixed veggies, skip the potatoes on your plate, load up on veggies instead.
  • Use your 15% wisely. That comes out to be 3 meals a week (based on eating 3 meals a day, 21 per week).  There will likely be family meals that just won’t be the same without grains and dairy. It will come up, so call it your 15%, and don’t feel guilty about it. Example: Gluten-free, dairy-free “mac and cheese” isn’t good.  Just make the real stuff. Eat it. Enjoy it. I would suggest moderation and adding a heaping serving of veggies with it too. Unless you have a serious intolerance (celiac disease, lactose intolerance), there’s no reason you can’t indulge yourself here and there.

How will this plan play out in the long run?

You will likely lose weight. You will gain a good amount of energy. Your S.O./family will notice how healthy and glowing you are. They will want to changeits-not-about-perfect their eating habits, too. I can’t guarantee the last one, but it’s okay. If you make the choice to do something good for yourself, don’t let anyone tell you you’re wrong. Stick to your guns and do what’s right for you. If they want to convert from the dark side later down the line, help them (and silently say ‘I told you so’).

 

 

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