I live at home and I eat what my parents eat. Though I want to live a healthy lifestyle, my parents fill our kitchen with junk food and candy. Because I’m eating so much crap, I’m even getting a belly. How can I convince my parents to buy healthier food?
As someone who lived at home for eighteen years, I understand your situation completely. When you’re young, you don’t necessarily have the resources to procure your own meals. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have influence or a voice.
This much I know: One of the most important roles that any family can fulfill is support.
Sit down with your family and have a judgment-free conversation. Start with those areas of agreement. For one, your family wants you to live a long, healthy and productive life. That’s a great starting place.
Then, connect the dots. By consuming unhealthy foods, you’re increasing your risk for obesity, a shorter lifespan, heart disease and so much more. Through a healthy diet, on the other hand, you’ll be able to lose weight, enjoy more energy and even have higher self esteem. Parents can be stubborn, so explain to them why eating healthy is so important to you.
Next, present a game plan. The reality is, most people don’t understand nutrition. Many people mistakenly believe that “reduced fat” or “gluten free” foods are healthier options. That’s not necessarily the case. In other words, don’t assume that your family is informed and educated about nutrition. Take initiative by giving your family a list of foods that you’d love to have. This list may include things like fresh or frozen vegetables, unsweetened almond milk, fruits, whole wheat bread, brown rice, beans, chicken, fish, dry roasted unsalted nuts, seeds, peanut butter and so on. It’s a common misconception that healthy foods are overly expensive; be mindful of price when selecting your food choices.
Some of the responsibility falls on you. It may mean accompanying your parents to the grocery store and helping them select foods you want to eat. And just because there is unhealthy food in the house, it doesn’t mean that you need to eat it.
The reality is, diet is a personal decision and your family may not be interested in eating healthier. If your family is cooking something unhealthy, opt for a leaner variation or find an alternative. And simply by keeping healthier foods in the house, you’ll have more options when someone opens a bag of potato chips. Maybe you’ll even be able to inspire change in your family through the example you set.
P.S. For help losing weight through nutrition, exercise and an improved relationship with your body, download Davey Wavey’s Weight Loss Program.