How do you eat healthy when other people in your home don’t?
You’re tired and hungry, and you’ve got everything for your next meal. Maybe it’s something like chicken, rice, and steamed vegetables. In the perfect world, your kitchen would only be stocked with foods on your meal plan. Grab a fork and enjoy. Easy, right?
If you live alone and find yourself staring into a refrigerator and pantry filled with food that will only stall your progress, maybe it’s time to throw some of that stuff out.
But if you live with a partner, kids, roommates, or others, they might not have the same tastes or interest in dieting as you. Then what? All the wrong foods might be in your face every time you’re hungry.
The same thing frequently happens at work. Your colleagues make plans to go out to eat, but the menu is nothing but pizza, or burgers, fries, and soda.
Ever found yourself in this situation with family and friends? It can be pretty frustrating, especially if you’re prone to giving into cravings to eat all the wrong foods.
The results typically look something like this…You gain a little weight. Body fat increases. Self-confidence takes a hit. And you start to your doubt your ability to actually achieve your goal to shred fat, build muscle, or transform your body. Sound familiar?
How do you follow your diet when others don’t?
Ever thought about hiring a personal chef and dietitian to cook all your meals and travel around with you to make sure you’re eating clean? That might work if you’ve you’ve got an unlimited budget, but most of us don’t.
So you have to find other ways to make this work. No, it’s not impossible. And yes, thousands of Team RSF members in a similar situation have done it.
There’s not one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter solution to eat healthy when others around you don’t. But there are some things you can do to make dieting for you (and the people you frequently eat with) a little easier.
1. Have a conversation.
It’s one of the easiest ways to get support for following your meal plan. When your family and friends know you’ve got a goal to eat clean and train hard, most will be willing to support you (or at least not get in the way). But that starts with having a conversation. about things like your:
- Fitness, health and weight loss goals.
- Daily calorie and macro goals
- Meal planning/cooking
- Grocery shopping
- Going out to eat
- The trouble with too much junk food, or meals that aren’t part of the plan
“The good thing about the meal plan, is that it’s normal food made healthy,” says Team RSF member Andrea Eng. “Who doesn’t like a good chicken salad for lunch. My husband claims to have no cooking skills, but he eats the same meals I do…and loves it.”
But what if you have little kids? Maybe they’re used to sugary cereals and high-calorie snacks and resist eating healthier foods. Consider it an opportunity to teach and learn together.
“While we are all making positive changes, why not slowly start to impose them on your children?” says Team RSF member James Tyler. “Seeing changes in your eating habits makes it so much easier for them to follow suit. Slowly the snacks and temptation disappear.”
2. Cook together
For whatever reason, a lot of people fall into the trap of SAD eating. The Standard American Diet is typically high in empty calories, sugar, and sodium, and lacks nutrient density only found in fresh fruits and vegetables and other whole foods.
That might even describe your diet right now. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. You can learn how to eat healthier and cook at home more often. And so can your partner, kids, roommate, and others you spend a lot of time with.
“We cook the meals at the same time twice a week,” says Team RSF member Melissa Palmieri. He eats what I do, just more of it. And he adds his own flavoring or extra toppings on his portions.”
Research shows it’s also a way parents can teach children to develop lifelong healthy eating habits, to prevent weight gain, obesity, and chronic disease. That’s worth a little more time in the kitchen, right?
“I try to teach my kids proper eating and exercise habits,” says Team RSF member Rebecca Leach. “When I feel like eating something bad or tempting, I remind myself I have to set an example. I want my kids to know what a healthy relationship with food is.”
3. Multiple meals
Here’s another way that might work when others don’t want to eat the same food as you. Make multiple meals.
You whip up a breakfast with oats, fruit and a protein shake. And everyone else eats pancakes drenched in syrup. While they’re eating pizza, you’re munching your way through fish, sweet potatoes, and a leafy-green salad.
It’s not ideal, because it means you’ll have to spend even more time in the kitchen. And you’ll probably spend more on food, too. But if it’s the only way you can stick to the plan, and make everyone else happy, it’s an option.
Team RSF member Kay Jordan was used to cooking lasagna, tacos, jambalaya, manicotti, and chicken pot pie that she shared with her boyfriend. But that changed when she started her own 8-week shred. And cooking multiple meals seemed to be the best option.
“That is what I’m doing now,” says Jordan. “It just gets expensive and time consuming. I guess I just need to make my meals and tell him to figure it out. Maybe I’ll cook my healthy meals with him a couple times a week. Or he will get sick of eating chicken and cook himself.”
4. Remember your goals
Changing your diet and exercise habits to transform your body is a highly personal decision. You might be surrounded by other people at home or at work who don’t share the same goals. And that’s OK. But you can’t let their thoughts, ideas, and relationship with food interfere with yours if you want to be successful.
Find ways to keep your nutrition goals top of mind, such as:
- Post your meal plan and healthy-ingredients shopping list on the refrigerator
- Share healthy cooking tips and recipes with others
- Talk about why you’re eating healthier
- Share your progress with others and discuss your diet
- Review your training and nutrition plan daily, and your goals to get lean, build muscle, or transform your diet.
- Set a good example for healthy eating, without being critical of food choices others are making
Can you eat healthy when others around you don’t? Absolutely. It might take a little more discipline and planning, but with a little effort you can be successful.
Looking for help to improve your diet? Let’s discuss on Facebook.
1. Grotto, D., et al. (2010). The Standard American Diet and Its Relationship to the Health Status of Americans. Nutrition in Clinical Practice. From: journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0884533610386234
2. Lindsay, A.C., et al. (2006). The role of parents in preventing childhood obesity. Future Child. From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16532663