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Transitioning to a Healthier Diet

Changing our diet to a more healthy one can be difficult. It often means not only giving up many snacks for healthy alternatives, but also shifting to better carbohydrates and whole grains, not to mention more vegetables. A slow introduction of the new foods may make the process easier and more successful. This is a guide about transitioning to a healthier diet.
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By 0 found this helpful
September 2, 2009

I am trying to very slowly change my family's eating habits. I used to work full time and my family developed some bad eating patterns in order to get the food on the table quickly. I stopped working over a year ago, and I have made some nice, healthy changes to our diet just because of my being around to make dinner from scratch rather than using processed foods.

I think it's time for a second phase of change now, and the one thing I am trying currently to do is to slowly change the pasta I make from white flour to wheat flour. I'm at about half white/half whole wheat at this point. I am also replacing some of the white flour in the bread I make with whole wheat flour. Potatoes, rice, and pasta are inexpensive but not good for us, so I'm trying to reduce their portions in our diet and trying to replace some ingredients to make them healthier.

I'm trying to change my family from white rice to brown rice, but they're still balking at that a little bit. I'm trying the half and half approach now, which seems to be causing less problems with the transition. I know these moves are good ones to be making, and now I'm looking for other suggestions in easing my family toward healthier eating. I welcome people's sharing of their own family's transitions from eating processed foods to working their way back to healthier cooking. Thank you so much.

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By Tina Siegl

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September 2, 20090 found this helpful

Great! But hard! This is the first step. Your family will complain, but so what? You are stronger than they are :) and it will only last a little while. Are you cooking the white rice with the brown? that can make the white mushy because the brown has to cook longer.

Making your bread is a great way of turning things around. Try adding raisins and cinnamon to your bread that you use for breakfast. Cheese (real cheese) and roasted onion can be added to a sandwich or soup bread. All sorts of seeds; poppy, celery, sesame, flax etc can be added. By making the bread more interesting they won't be so fast to complain. Try part whole wheat flour in your muffins as well with lots of fruit to sweeten them. Pancakes are another item that you could slip whole wheat flour into.

Don't tell them when you replace something. Pasta doesn't really show as brown when cooked. There are times when they won't even notice.

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They WILL get used to it and get to the point where they will think white flour products are bland. I changed up years ago and now they can't wait to get home to taste something besides salt and sugar.

You could also put together a choice of menus for two weeks and ask them which they would like? If they are both healthy choices and more inexpensive they may feel better that they chose the meal themselves. You can also serve their favourite meals with the changes in them rather than trying new dishes until they get used to the change.Good Luck.

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September 2, 20090 found this helpful

You've probably already done this, but start out by not buying any chips, pop or junk food. Instead buy fruit. Have celery & veggies already cut up & in individual baggies with a healthy dip so they are easy to grab. If junk food's not in the cupboard, they can't eat it (while at home at least!)

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Secondly, cut out all red meat. Switch from potatoes to yams. I bake mine in the microwave. I'd always thought I hated yams until I cooked them this way (just wash then microwave). Buy fresh or frozen veggies & never canned. Don't talk about the change & do it slowly & they'll never know!

You can make your own healthy chips. Wash a yam then cut into thin slices then either microwave or bake in the oven until crunchy. (no oil needed) These are sweet, yummy & full of vitamin A. You can do the same thing with salted beets.

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September 2, 20090 found this helpful

I hear you even though I never had any children--but don't forget that I was once a child! We never once had any arguments whatsoever about food in our family. I don't know why. My mother was in charge of all the food, from breakfast to supper, mom was in charge, and none of us ever questioned it. But she wasn't mean, either.

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My mom never asked us "what we wanted to eat." My mom told us what we were going to eat, and why! She wasn't shy about it. None of us ever questioned our mother and what we were eating. Ever! For supper, we ate a piece of meat, and two veggies, with a salad that contained lettuce, carrots, bell pepper, onion, and salad dressing. We never ever questioned our mother. I don't know why, but we never did. There were a few times when money was really tight, and we ate pancakes and sausage for supper, but I loved it so much, I requested it.

My mom was very sparing with seasoning, she would lightly put salt and pepper on our two veggies, and our meat. It was pretty good actually. When she made pork chops, we would actually bread them with flour, salt, and pepper before she fried them. We didn't eat it because "ew" we had to, it was really good food to eat, and it wasn't processed food.

We did have some processed food in the summer, like, we had a butcher and they made the best bologna ever! Then we would make bologna salad to put on bread, and eat that. We used to make homemade pancakes, waffles, biscuits, even some donuts in our household, and it wasn't that the recipe was so long, it's because we could make the recipe in seconds flat without hardly even thinking about it.

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And the reason we could make these recipes so quickly all the time is because we weren't so engrossed in the tv set.
When I was little, the tv was whoa, something you watched but it was like whoa, whoa. We were still busy making stuff from scratch, not buried with our silly heads in the tv set!

And Mama ruled the kitchen! I don't know if I helped, but I hope I did. I lived in a world where Mama ruled the kitchen, not the kids, and mama knew best, and you know, mama did know best!

Love, Carol, PS, add some paprika to salt and pepper in the flour to make fried chicken.

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September 4, 20090 found this helpful

No children in our household, but we try to eat healthy. When I shop for cereal, I check the nutrition label, and avoid cereals with more than 5 grams sugar per serving, and check the fiber content...the higher the better. Cheerios is whole grain with low sugar and good fiber. Avoid Cornflakes...not too good nutritionally. I have read that "converted"white rice is almost as healthy as brown rice. I use it in some of my recipes. It is also labeled parboiled sometimes. I keep fresh apple slices in a ziplock bag for snacking. Grapes are good for healthy snacks to replace chips. And grapes can be frozen. Make sure they are dry after washing, and freeze them on a cookie sheet, then pour them into ziplock bags. Eat straight from the freezer. Just pour out what you need. I stock up on them when they are on sale.
Harlean from Arkansas

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