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Old 09-11-2013, 12:27 PM   #1
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Getting your family on board with healthy eating

I hate to push my way of thinking or eating onto others. But I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what is the healthiest way to eat, especially for my family. My daughter is 4 now and my husband, well he is a decent cook himself but likes the old favourites. I have been trying to learn how to cook and make everything from scratch, using as many whole foods as possible. However, I struggle with getting my family onboard with eating things made this way. Last night for example, I made chilli the texas way using real beef and fresh tomato juice. My husband took one look at it and said: "this isn't chilli." He ate it reluctantly and dumped tabasco sauce all over it. The same is true with my daughter, she just seems to like her processed food too much. If we give her heinz ketchup for example, she basically eats that with the odd french fry (from real potatos of course) for dinner. I made homemade pate and dijon mustard from scratch last week, two foods my husband loves, and he won't even try them. Yet they are so delicious compared to the processed foods.

Does anyone else struggle with these issues? Do I just give up and eat these things myself? My grandparents were farmers and never had any processed foods so I don't understand why anyone would want to eat processed foods when someone is making everything homemade for them. I don't get it.

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Old 09-11-2013, 12:58 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by hamlet_cat View Post
I hate to push my way of thinking or eating onto others. But I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what is the healthiest way to eat, especially for my family. My daughter is 4 now and my husband, well he is a decent cook himself but likes the old favourites. I have been trying to learn how to cook and make everything from scratch, using as many whole foods as possible. However, I struggle with getting my family onboard with eating things made this way. Last night for example, I made chilli the texas way using real beef and fresh tomato juice. My husband took one look at it and said: "this isn't chilli." He ate it reluctantly and dumped tabasco sauce all over it. The same is true with my daughter, she just seems to like her processed food too much. If we give her heinz ketchup for example, she basically eats that with the odd french fry (from real potatos of course) for dinner. I made homemade pate and dijon mustard from scratch last week, two foods my husband loves, and he won't even try them. Yet they are so delicious compared to the processed foods.

Does anyone else struggle with these issues? Do I just give up and eat these things myself? My grandparents were farmers and never had any processed foods so I don't understand why anyone would want to eat processed foods when someone is making everything homemade for them. I don't get it.

Many times it's easier to feed 4 year olds processed foods because of their limited appetite, but I would gradually switch to whole foods, My grandson is 5 and recently started eating grilled chicken instead of chicken nuggets and fresh veggies. He occasionally gets nuggets or a hot dog in a pinch. Try to get her used to healthy foods before she starts school.

As far as your husband is concerned, you might never change him. Maybe instead of completely changing a recipe, start off with small changes, like using real beef, but leaving the other ingredients alone. Next time, change another ingredient. My husband usually can tell as soon as I change something. I have given up on changing his diet.
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:11 PM   #3
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I think I wouldn't worry so much about condiments like mustard and work on simpler things like grilled or pan-roasted meats, salads, mashed or baked potatoes, etc. And if people want to add sauces, etc., don't take it personally. It might take some time to change what you've been doing and the sauces help with that. With children, I think the best way to avoid processed foods is not to bring them into the house My four-year-old niece runs to the fridge for raspberries when she wants a snack.

I don't like chili so I don't make it; why does your husband think it wasn't chili? Is he used to canned chili? Does he know what ingredients are in it?

Keep in mind that your grandparents didn't have any choice. The whole reason processed foods became popular is because they are such time-savers. Farm people had to grow their own wheat, thresh it, cut wood, make a fire, and bake their own bread. And that's just one product. Processed foods aren't all evil.
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:26 PM   #4
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If you ask your pediatrician, he will probably tell you, "keep offering her the healthy food. Eventually she will get hungry enough to try it and even eat all of it." I assume you do the grocery shopping. If you don't have the foods she will only eat in the house, you can't break down and give in to her. So don't buy them as a "possible backup just in case."

When my children were ready to start solids, I always put some of the veggies in a separate pot for the baby. Less salt and no other seasoning. They started out with well mashed and lightly seasoned table foods. A half carrot, small beet, and any other root veggie and squash. After Cream of Wheat, veggies were their first table foods. And in very small amounts. Since there were no jars of baby food in the house, I had no choice but to cook for the family and the baby.

Remove the foods that she will only eat, one at a time. She will only eat chicken nuggets? Make your own. Don't buy them all ready to pop into the zapper or oven. And if she sees you eating them, she will get the idea that they can't be bad. Also have her help you in the kitchen. Children will almost always eat what they helped make. You can do the egging, she the breadcrumbs. And how can Daddy turn down something she made just for him. Talk to her about how she is cooking for Daddy. For veggies, you can peel and cut, she can put them in the pot and add some of the water. Even toss in the small amount of salt after you have measured it out for her. If she insists on helping with the cutting, guide her little hand while holding the table knife and let her put all of her pressure on it. A potato is a great first veggie to do this with. Slice off a piece from the bottom so it sits flat. Once she discovers how difficult it is to slice, she will lose interest quickly in that chore until she is older. Let her snap the green beans in half.

The changes aren't going to happen overnight. Just be patient. Your daughter is the key to your success in your endeavor toward healthy eating for your family.
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:46 PM   #5
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.... "keep offering her the healthy food. Eventually she will get hungry enough to try it and even eat all of it." ...
I was of the same opinion until #4. She is 11 now. She will not eat things she doesn’t like. Every Friday night we leave the house and spend next day till evening with friends at their place. Sometimes I cook, most of the time not. Sometimes we bring something for her, sometimes not. If there is nothing there that she will eat, she will not eat period. Sometimes she comes home Saturday night so hungry, she nearly faints, but she refuses to eat stuff she doesn’t like. One time we spent there 3 days and had nothing special made for her, by special I do not mean something Special, just something she would eat, plain boiled noodles or potato is perfectly fine, anyways she ate 3 times in three days, morning cereal. By the time we get home I had to nearly carry her in the house she was so weak.

P.S. Our doctor told us to feed her. And not bother fighting.
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:52 PM   #6
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I brought forward my father's theory on that and it's worked now for more than 5 decades. I cook it, they eat it and get good lab reports when they go the the doctor. They don't like it, supper is over or they can eat peanut butter sandwiches. I've had more than a few jars of peanut butter go stale. To this day it's a rare event to see my kid drink a soda. I never demanded that he what I put on his plate, but he had to taste it. The same goes for the father.
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Old 09-11-2013, 03:02 PM   #7
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I've always done 95% of the cooking in our house, and what I put on the table is what's for dinner. Period. Whether anyone chooses to eat it or not is up to them.

Our daughter was always raised on healthy food, and she continues to eat that way more or less now that she is at college. I know from time to time she goes out and has fast food with her friends, but it's more of a once-every-couple-weeks kind of thing.
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Old 09-11-2013, 03:20 PM   #8
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I brought forward my father's theory on that and it's worked now for more than 5 decades. I cook it, they eat it and get good lab reports when they go the the doctor. They don't like it, supper is over or they can eat peanut butter sandwiches. I've had more than a few jars of peanut butter go stale. To this day it's a rare event to see my kid drink a soda. I never demanded that he what I put on his plate, but he had to taste it. The same goes for the father.
My parents did the same when we were kids.
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Old 09-11-2013, 04:24 PM   #9
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Processed food is addictive and the only way to break the cycle of addiction is to make it no longer viable to sustain that sort of lifestyle anymore.
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Old 09-12-2013, 06:15 AM   #10
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I don't think processed food is evil but if you read the labels and research behind how they are made, the food goes through a lot of treatments before it makes it to your table. Also where I am from, they have to identify almost everything in it. There are so many weird additives that have strange names. They may seem harmless when you look up what they are, but I am not sure they are all that good for you. Even some of those cold cereals now have artificial sugars to lower the actual sugar content. ? I would think natural cane sugar is better than an artificial sweetener, unless you are diabetic. I think it is better to get your sugars though from fruit and veggies than a box of cold cereal. But that is my opinion I guess. My husband and I fight over it all the time. Maybe I should focus on being more of a role model and hope my daughter just picks up my eating habits. My husband gives her candy as a treat, I don't really like it, but I don't want to get a divorce over it too.
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