Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Question of the Week: Avoiding Temptation in an Unhealthy Environment

The following question was submitted for discussion on this week's blog: "I have pre-diabetes and am struggling to eat healthy.  My brother and his family live with me and there are tons of junk food temptations in my kitchen.  I want the entire household to start eating healthy with me, they can all benefit, but they are resistant.  Any suggestions?"

It can definitely be a challenge if other people in the same home as you do not share the same eating habits as you and can put alot of temptation in your way.  It sounds like you may not only be the one doing the food shopping and can only really control what you are bringing in the home.  Here are some suggestions that may be of help:

1.  Try sitting down again with your brother (and his wife).  Explain to him about your diagnosis and the importance of improving your diet and your desire to remove the junk foods (and replacing those items with delicious healthier options) from them home.  Explain to them the ways that doing this will not just benefit you, but he and his family as well (weight loss/maintenance, blood sugar levels within normal limits, healthy blood fat levels, etc.).

2.  If this doesn't work, focus on what you can control.  Do your own food shopping and food preparation.  This way you can control what you eat.  They may be intrigued by what you had made, try it, and like it!

3.  Experiment with new recipes and try new foods.  By introducing some of these new delicious dishes and healthy foods into the house, you may inspire your family to join in.  There are endless websites with recipes and countless books that feature healthy recipes.

4.  Invite the family to help you with the preparation.  Sometimes being directly involved can create inspiration.  Once they start seeing results, it sparks more motivation.

5.  Make healthy delicious substitutions.   Cook or suggest leaner protein dishes over higher fat choices.  Select whole grains over simple carbohydrate choices.  Alter some of your favorite recipes so that they include more veggies and/or fruits.  You can show them that it is possible to still enjoy treats in moderation and with minor tweaking....  For example, substituting apple sauce or other fruit purees instead of oils can improve the nutrition content of some baked goods.

6.  Incorporate exercise into your day.  A balance of a healthy diet and regular exercise is a good plan for anyone.  Ask one (or more) of the family members to join you in a walk or other type of physical activity.  This could be a walk, run, or even a bike ride.