Once you’ve decided it’s time to take your health and well-being into your own hands, it should be the beginning of a brand new and very happy story. “The easiest, least-expensive way to reduce your risk for cancer is just by eating a healthy diet,” says Rachael Stolzenberg-Solomon. Unfortunately, it’s not simple. There is a contingent – your family – you’ll need to consider when you commit to a healthy lifestyle. It helps to have everyone on board as a support for your healthy eating choices.
Perhaps you’re adopting a new approach to eating on the advice of a physician, family member, or personal trainer, due to a medical condition like diabetes, which requires more attention to daily diet. Maybe you’d like to lose weight, or you simply want to eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet because it’s the best thing to do for your body. Regardless of the reasons, your healthy new lifestyle will require a positive attitude, research, hard work and determination.
Your family may not initially understand your newfound commitment to healthier food and smaller portions, but you can lead by example with an array of colorful fruits and vegetables, and by finding recipes for exciting meals. By understanding how to choose the right foods, you may find yourself gaining ground on those in your family reluctant to join you in your healthy crusade. Lead health-hesitant family members by example with lunches like these:
1. Go Mediterranean
The Mediterranean Diet, which gets its name from the region of the world where it originated, is built around healthy fats and vegetables. Mediterranean meals often include olives and olive oil, tomatoes, cheeses, and whole grains.
To create a tasty Mediterranean lunch, pack up some hummus along with sliced raw vegetables and whole grain crackers. Select from a variety of flavors of hummus, and pair the hummus with vegetables carrots, celery, broccoli and cauliflower. Sprinkle some feta cheese into your hummus for an extra dose of protein and flavor. Follow it up with a small apple as a dessert. This low-calorie lunch has eye appeal for you, your family and colleagues.
2. Go Fish
It’s easier than you think to create lunches that are both low in fat and high in flavor, and fish is an excellent alternative to other sources of protein like beef and chicken. Fish like salmon, tuna and trout are also high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which research has suggested may protect against cancer and might even alter responses to cancer treatment. Sliced salmon on a bed of romaine lettuce and spinach can be the foundation for a lunch salad full of flavor, healthy proteins and fats. Slice tomatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables you think would spruce up your salad, and toss them in. Choose a light salad dressing—or make your own with olive oil and vinegar—to lightly sprinkle over your salad.
3. Go Yogurt and Fruit
Your kids will love you if you pack them a sweet lunch! Choose a yogurt that’s high in protein, like Greek yogurt, and slice a variety of fruits to dip into it. Apples, pears, melons, and strawberry slices are all packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals. For a little extra crunch, sprinkle some low-fat granola into your yogurt.
Adopting a healthy diet is a lot easier said than done, but don’t be discouraged if your family isn’t on board right away. Changing your eating habits should happen with persistence. But Committing to a new diet can be the first step you and your family take toward a happier, healthier life together. Learning to eat right could be the difference between prevention and a serious health problem. Take control early and stay determined along the way.