Sometimes the most challenging thing about making a lifestyle change is getting your family on board. Overcoming cravings and missing your old comfort foods can be hard during those first days of the Whole30 challenge. To put it simply, it can be tough to resist the bread, chips, and sweets you may have been accustomed to eating. You don’t really need the temptation of having these foods in the house, so if possible, put the whole family on Whole30 with you!
Some of you are shaking your head. You’re telling yourself there is no way your family will get on board. I feel ya, really I do. It was a bit of a struggle getting my own family to accept the changes in our meals when I first started eating the Whole30 diet way. At first, there was complete resistance, but over time, they figured out that eating this way doesn’t mean deprivation as much as it means eating well.
How to Get Your Family on Board with the Whole30 Diet
Here are just a few tips to help you in your mission to get your family on the Whole30 diet bandwagon.
Sharing with your family what you are planning and why is a good first step. If you’re one of those wives/moms who is always “dieting” you may get the, “oh no, here we go again” response. But if you have educated your self well on the health benefits (not just the potential weight loss) and approach this dietary change from that perspective, you may get a little more empathy. Don’t be afraid to tell your family that you need for them to help you get through these 30 days and that you would like for them to hold you accountable and support your efforts wholeheartedly. Approaching this from the viewpoint of improved health for all of you may increase their willingness to give it a try.
When you are doing your meal planning and preparing your grocery lists, try to find recipes that are similar to what you know your family already likes. A Whole30 recipe that mimics a family favorite is far more likely to be enjoyed than a brand new recipe that no one is familiar with. You may find that you already have some recipes in your box that are either Whole30 diet compliant already or can be with very simple modifications.
Invite your family to help you pick out new meal choices. Kids (and adults) are more likely to be interested in trying new things if they feel empowered to make some choices of their own. If you do choose to try a new recipe, try it out on yourself before you prepare it for a family dinner. This will give you time to perfect the preparation and cooking methods involved, as well as a chance to decide whether or not you actually like the dish yourself.
Once you have your meal plan and grocery list ready to go, you don’t have to go it alone. Bring your kids (or even spouse) with you and let them help you. The more you can engage them in every step of the process, the more interested they are likely to be in the final result. Give them a rough outline of the types of foods that you need to pick up, and let them take the reins. You can even make a game out of finding all of the items on your list. With older children, you can give them each a piece of the shopping list and offer a prize for the winner who returns with all of the correct items first. For younger kids, try giving them a small choice and letting them take their time to pick for themselves. Tell them that you need three types of meat and a fruit in every color and see what they come up with. Making grocery shopping fun and engaging is a great way to get them more interested in the meals that these ingredients will become.
When you get ready to start preparing your Whole30 meal, let your kids help you. For many moms, this can be a little bit scary. But kids usually like to get their hands dirty and do a bit of experimenting. If you are worried about the way your child’s food will taste, cook the same dish right alongside them. Not only will they feel empowered because they were able to make their own dinner, but you will have a backup dish on hand if you need it, (and if you don’t need it you can freeze the extra dish to use as leftovers).
When Your Family Won’t Get on Board with the Whole30 Diet
In the end, you may have members of your family that just will not give in to the Whole30 diet lifestyle. It’s not any easier for them than it is for you, and they may not have the same health-related motivations you have to succeed. It is not an expectation you can have for most of your family members. If this is the case with your family, there are a few things you can do to please them while staying on plan yourself. For example, you can cook a Whole30 compliant dinner for everyone and then add rolls, a side dish, or dessert just for them. It will take an extra measure of self-discipline on your part not to eat these foods along with them, but it can be done if you have plenty of Whole30 diet- friendly foods to fill your plate. Another idea is to offer your family their regular foods for breakfast and lunch (meals that many kids and spouses might not mind fixing for themselves, lessening your temptation) while enjoying a Whole30 dinner together.
Embracing a new lifestyle is hard, but having the support of your family will make it much easier. Hopefully, that support can come in the form of your family enjoying Whole30 diet meals along with you. But if not, I hope you can enjoy and accept whatever support they are able to offer.
Next Up: A Whole30 Guide to Reintroducing Foods