What do you do when your family isn’t onboard with healthy living? What can you do if your husband, partner, or child hates healthy food?

In this video and post, I’ll unpack some tips on how you can deal with this family issue.

Note: The Mike scenes in this video are from a funny bit we did a while ago called Bad Mike 🙂

Tip 1. Accept the situation.

While this isn’t usually what we want to do, it always helps. By accepting the facts, we can reduce some of the frustration and create a more peaceful environment. Very few people can be coerced into changing and by accepting our family where they are at, we will increase the possibility of openness and change.

Tip 2. Lead by example.

The greatest way you can “convert” someone to lead a healthier lifestyle is by doing it yourself. When your partner sees you sleeping well, filled with energy, maintaining a healthy weight and getting a clean bill of health from the doctor, this will speak volumes over anything you say.

Having said that, with my children, I will often explain to them why we don’t want to eat blue cotton candy or shocking pink cookies. Once they understand that the color is due to chemical dyes which can be harmful to the body, they are less apt to want them.

Tip 3. Don’t enable.

While we can’t convert them through coercion, we certainly don’t have to make it easy for them to eat junk. You can set a boundary that you’ll only be purchasing (relatively) healthy food. If your husband wants to eat his Doritos or fast food, let him purchase it for himself. If you have small children, you can decide what goes on their plate, while your partner can decide what goes on his.

Tip 4. Let someone else be the messenger.

I find that my husband needs to hear things from others… from 3rd parties… for it to really sink it. For example, he used to hate paying for our spring water delivery. I repeatedly told him about the importance of drinking clean water. It didn’t make much impact. It wasn’t until he heard a podcast where a doctor talked about how good, clean water is the most important thing we can ingest that he made a turnaround. Get your partner the book Omnivore’s Dilemma, have him watch Food Inc, or subscribe him to some health bloggers like Chris Kresser or Mark’s Daily Apple. Let others be the messenger for you.

Tip 5. Find healthy substitutions.

Healthy food should taste good and be enjoyable. We are resigning ourselves to eating broiled chicken and steamed broccoli for the rest of our lives. No one could stay on that bandwagon! Instead, think about ways to replace your family’s unhealthiest indulgences. Do your kids love boxed mac and cheese? Make it yourself with gluten-free noodles, raw cheese, organic butter and milk. Top with sea salt. While it might take a few times for them to adjust, real food tastes great!

Do they love ice cream? You can make yourself with real cream (or try with coconut cream) and healthy sweeteners like real maple syrup. Do they love pizza? You can try this delicious recipe. Do they love candy bars? You can find healthy “mock” recipes for nearly anything on Pinterest. I’ve even seen one for the Shamrock Shake!

Make food fun! Most kids would be more willing to try raw fruits and veggies if you had fun dips from raw honey to sweetened/spice yogurt to salsa. Very few kids can deny that mango is one of the sweetest foods out there! Use coconut rolled dates as your fudge. Experiment with cacao. Try this delicious oatmeal recipe that even picky kids likes. Freeze grapes for a summertime treat. Make homemade cherry lemonade. The ideas can be endless if we keep an open mind (and rely on Pinterest!)

How about you?

Does your family hates healthy food? Has anything helped your family eat healthier? How have you dealt with a reluctant child or partner?  Share with us!