One of the biggest challenges in sticking to your diet is trying to make it "work" with your family and cook for a household. It can get hard to cook a meal that is macro/diet friendly that will keep everyone happy in the house, especially with kids who don't just want to have grilled chicken and vegies every night. Or when you're not doing the cooking that night, you don't always know how much or what has been put into the meals so how do you track it? How do you cook meals that your kids will like and keep on track? How can you take your family out for dinner and not have a blow out?
These are some of the most common questions I get asked from clients with families who are struggling to keep track with their food. Eating healthy doesn't need to be boring, you can still take your family out for dinners, and eat tasty meals.
These are some of my biggest tips for eating with families
For example, my fiancé cooks an amazing spaghetti and meatball's that the kids, and I love. Now the spaghetti doesn't fit in my macros so does that mean the family can't have them? Or do I have to sit there and have chicken and vegies and watch them eat this yummy meal? No! I can still enjoy this meal, but I make up a salad with the meatballs and the rest of the family can have the spaghetti and meatballs. You can do this several different ways with a meal, you just need to be creative and think outside the box. Another example is home-made hamburgers, you can have an open hamburger have everything that you would normally have on it, but don't have the bun. Making these little changes will help stay on track and keep everyone happy.
- Not eating everything that is cooked
If you didn't cook the meal that night, and you are unsure of the macros, you don't have to eat everything that is cooked. For example, if your partner has cooked up a roast dinner with veggies, potatoes and gravy, you do not have to eat all of it. Load your plate up with the meat and veggies and leave off the potatoes and gravy. Just pick all the foods you can have and pass on the one's that you don't need.
- Picking up take-away.
We all have those days when we have had a long hard day at work and don't feel like going home and cooking dinner. So, on the way home you go through drive-through at McDonalds and pick up dinner for the family. Why? There is a chicken shop in every town. So why not stop in there pick up a BBQ chicken or some salads take it home, rip off the skin and serve it up. This way, you will have a good healthy macro friendly dinner ready in 5 minutes. This is a great way to keep everyone happy with a nice dinner and not have to cook after a long day.
- Planning fun meal nights
Planning is the "key", everyone loves a good fun night with family and friend, and most of the time it is built around food. One of my favourite family fun nights is a pizza and movie night with snack food. So instead of ordering pizza from a shop, where you don't know how they cook it or how much is on it, we make our own. We get our own toppings and cook them ourselves. We like to use Lebanese flat bread as the base. This way you can control what's going on the pizza and you can fit it in your macros. It can also be a good mental break, that you may need because it can trick your brain in to thinking you're not dieting, and therefore reduces stress levels that can come with dieting.
- Eating out
A lot of people think that you can't eat out when you're on a diet, or when they do go out, they just eat whatever they want. It then turns back into a habit because that one "bad" meal turns into a bad day or weeks. This is simply, not true. You can eat out easily without blowing out your macros, all it takes is discipline and strong will power. There are many restaurants you can get steak, chicken or fish with veggies or salad. You can have that and ask for the gravy or sauce on the side so you can control how much you have. This is a perfect way to eat out and can fit into your macros and you don't have to worry about it.
A lot of people over think it and make it boring or don't stick to the macros. But there is a happy middle where you're not compromising your goals, and you're not feeling bad about making your family eat what you're eating. All it takes is just some thinking outside the box and discipline. Then everyone is a winner and happy.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.