Changing My Family's Eating Habits?


I am looking for some advice. I am planning on changing my family's eating habits on Jan. 1; we are a typical American family who loves hamburgers, fries, sweet cereals, etc. I am working on losing weight on the Flat Belly Diet (see, which follows the idea of burning fat using MUFAs, mono-unsaturated fats, such as avocados, nuts, olive oil, etc.


We WILL NOT use Splenda or any sugar substitute, but I know we especially need to cut out the sugar and bad fat in our household. Any ideas to help me out? My husband is fairly receptive but I still have three teenagers at home.

Kim from Crawford, CO

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By velsgal from Missouri (Guest Post)
December 11, 20080 found this helpful

hi, we too changed our eating habits..we kinda fell off the wagon but are climbing back on! Are you going to be using natural sweeteners? I use honey, molasses, xylitol and for canning stevia. My kids are younger but they did really well adjusting for the most part. I encourage you to explain why you are doing this and that it is not a diet but a lifestyle and you want your family to be healthy.


then when they go somewhere, have a party etc break out the junk food. For the most part they didn't really like the junk after getting used to good stuff. Remember Rome wasn't built in a day so do this gradually. Blessings on you and your family! Hope this helps.

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By Anne (Guest Post)
December 11, 20080 found this helpful

I use this recipe to curb that "sugar" craving melt a small amount of choc. chips in microwave, add sliced banana
vanilla yogurt, walnuts (optional but healthy).

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By kathleen (Guest Post)
December 11, 20080 found this helpful

It's very easy. Buy cereal with no sugar, cook only veggies & good cornbread to go with them. Serve tomatoes twice a day with the veggies, canned ones are good if you can't serve fresh, cook only the right size meat for each person,the size of a deck of cards, cook breakfast for supper or dinner every week,eggs, grits & etc,they can't eat it if it's not in the house!


Do not serve sweets every day. Walk a mile every day. It takes about 20 min,if it's raining or too cold walk inside 20 min. This works for us. We are retired & not over weight. Good luck.

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By jsham (Guest Post)
December 11, 20080 found this helpful

You will have better luck if you start slowly, especially with those teens, That is, pick one thing to change, such as sugar. Gradually eliminate the sweet cereals by substituting a whole grain cereal with raisins, or another naturally sweet fruit. A good breakfast is oatmeal with raisins and walnuts.

After a couple of weeks then move on to the next thing, i.e. instead of hamburgers 'n fries fix Salisbury steak with rice and a nice green salad.
Don't try to totally eliminate all the things the family has been used to at once, just change a little at a time, and you will have a more lasting effect.


Good luck, and be sure to check back and let us know how it goes.

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December 11, 20080 found this helpful

We changed our diet about 3 years ago. there is no magic, but what is apparent now is that the "old " style food tastes gross. Lots of fresh / dried fruit for snacks and treats. We still have an occasional burger. I grind my own very lean hamburger. Turkey burgers have become the usual fare. Oven fried potatoes ( including my favorite sweet potatoes) using healthy oils are yummy. We have pizza. I buy some of the dough from the pizza shop($2) and add our low fat cheese and fresh veggies.


The most difficult, mostly time consuming was finding which store carried the healthy products. I have to shop about five stores, each one carries a few low fat, low sodium items. The library can be a good place for recipe ideas. I like Eating Well Magazine, Cooking Light. About the sugar, I have found agave syrup at trader joes, it is natural but doesn't cause the glycemic spike of sugar. Good Luck

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December 11, 20080 found this helpful

All I can say, is do it gradually and don't say anything. I have a picky husband, if he knows something is different he can "taste it", if he doesn't, he never says a word!

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December 11, 20080 found this helpful

I would make small changes and don't advertise them! They will not notice and will be eating healthier in no time. using olive oil and making favorites healthier by revamping recipes is a good idea. Also making fresh fruits and veggies available as snacks helps.(if bad snacks aren't in the house, they cant eat them.) Also mix sweetened cereal with healthier cereal, gradually using less of the sweetened one.


Nuts and dried fruit are good snacks too.

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By Ann from Wisconsin (Guest Post)
December 12, 20080 found this helpful

You could theme some nights of the week, to make it easier on you, and give the kids some idea of what to expect. Some themes to consider:

1) Stir-fry night - where you serve brown rice and veggies, along with some chicken or pork and a delicious sauce that you buy or make from scratch.

2) Mexican night, where you add some black beans to your cooked hamburger, to stretch it out and make it healthier. Provide cut-up tomatoes, canned corn and shredded lettuce. A low-fat ranch dressing is good, along with generic salsa and/or sour cream. Soft shells would be healthier than hard shells, and more filling too.

3) Chicken breast/veggie night. You could let the teenagers take turns finding an appropriate recipe each week and get them involved.

4) They will all love a pizza night, with individualized pizzas maybe, to each person's liking. Just provide lots of toppings, keep it casual and fun.

5) Soup night.

You get the idea!

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By Deeda in Seattle (Guest Post)
December 12, 20080 found this helpful

My family isn't perfect either, but we've cut way back on on processed and packaged foods, white flour goods, white rice, and white potatoes--that's how most Americans get their "sugar" in their diet--these white carbs just instantly convert to sugar in the blood. At the same time, we now eat a bunch of fruit and veggies, and whole grains. So I might make brown rice, or whole wheat rolls, WW couscous, or cornbread (whole grains), along w/ baked chicken, and salad or veggies. Sometimes we might skip over the carbs altogether.

I find myself making granola a lot--rolled oats are cheap, and we eat them more than mushy oatmeal! It tastes way better than any other processed cold cereal, and they get a ton of fiber and nuts--I keep it cheap by adding bulk sunflower seeds(raw), sesame seeds, and pepitas(pumpkin), and buy honey and brown sugar cheaply--at least it's not white sugar! My husband could eat this 4x a day!

I've been trying to make homemade treats rather than buy them--tastes a whole lot better, and better for you--more whole grains, less high fructose syrup and trans fats! So far I've made: yogurt (this is a kick in your crock pot!), Jam (canning was scary at first, but now easy), apple butter and applesauce, pumpkin butter (cooked down cheapo pumpkins after H-day) and pumpkin puree, pumpkin bread/muffins/pie, and the usual banana bread, etc. from leftovers and cookies and stuff. My kids would now rather eat homemade stuff over bought most of the time.

As a bonus, for x-mas we are giving away apple butter, pumpkin bread, granola, fudge, peanut brittle, and truffles! I still miss potato chips and takeout fried chicken, but we can always still have that for a treat--not everyday.

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December 12, 20080 found this helpful

There is a brand of whole wheat noodles they sell at the store called "Dream Feilds" that you can use in your pastas instead of the regular stuff. I think it taste pretty good too.

When eating salad use vinegars, olive oil, or just plain salt to add a little flavor to your salads instead of using dressings that are fattening and high in calories.

Use whole wheat or whole grain bread instead of white bread.

Sense you are not looking it using sugar substitutes and you are trying to cut out sugar, use honey to sweeten up your food.

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December 13, 20080 found this helpful

Sounds like you have gotten alot of good advice already. I too am making some lifestyle changes for better health. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lots of herbs add alot of flavoring and are good for you. I cut out caffiene and only drink water or decaffinated tea or hot teas that are herbal or make my own. I have gotten into gardening and it is great for exercising and much freshier and without all the chemicals. I only try to eat baked or grilled fish or chicken or tuna. It is hard to stay away from red meat since my husband loves it. Nuts are wonderful too. Remember this is a choice and your health and others come first. Education is vital to change.

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By Darlene (Guest Post)
December 16, 20080 found this helpful

One thing that will help you to watch your fat content while cooking, is to buy a George Foreman grill a large one with different sheet's you can change for baking or if you are trying to do a Hamburg which you always fry instead do it on this grill. You will use the sheet that is rippled and let's all fat drain off and into a little pan they give you esp for that reason. Then there is another sheet you can bake your fries on.

When you bake, use egg substitutes.And applesauce in place of oil.Bake your meatball's and any other thing possible.If you love ham and have a grill with a lid ( like a Weber) using a tray underneath, on top of the coal's to catch the fat from the pan, bake it on your grill.There are 2 recipes here for ham.The first is for a canned ham, the second is for a smoked or cured ham.First recipe, get rid of the rind,score it and insert your cloves. Bake for 9 min per pound the internal temp should 140 degrees or 60 degrees C,when done.

During the last 30 minutes baste it.Then add pineapple ring's the last 15 min.But I always add them he same time I baste the ham.Smoked or cured ham should be cooked to a internal temp of 160 degree's or 60 degrees C. The main thing about cooking on the grill is the great and simple fact, you lose allot of fat this way and that makes it much healthier for you and your family!

Brown sugar glaze for ham:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsps prepared mustard
water to make a paste.
Combine all ingredients;mis well
Spread on top of ham allowing it to run down the side's
Now for Baked potatoes give up the sour cream,use something like I can't believe it's not butter.Try to make as much food at home without buying the quick food's that may make life easier but life allot less happy later on in life. Do you like yogurt? The light yoplait yogurt is great.When buying cheese make sure you use the low fat cheese.And make your grilled cheese sandwich on your George Foreman grill they are great! You can also cook your turkey on the grill cooking it 11-13 min per pound or to 180 degrees internal temperature or 82 degrees C when done.
Good Luck Darlene

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 116 Feedbacks
December 17, 20080 found this helpful

My advice, as far as making the changes stick is probablly not to expect the kids (or yourself for that matter) to make the changes all at once. If you do them gradually, it won't be quite as big a shock to the system, and you won't feel quite as deprived. Good luck, it is really a great thing to do.

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