Transitioning to a Healthier Diet

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.


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.

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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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 213 Posts
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!)


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.


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.

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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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 148 Posts
September 4, 20091 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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September 4, 20090 found this helpful

What I like to do with my family is when I make spagetti I always add any type of bean to the mix. I mash them up really well and everyone thinks it is just the ground beef. When I make chili, hubby does not like a lot of beans, so I put about 1/4 of the can in full beans, and then 1/4 mashed. He does not even realize it.

Another tip is for wild meat. Hubby does not "like" deer or moose meat. Yet when I cook it, I always use a really good marinade, and then use the meat in a stir fry. He just thinks we are having steak.

Hamburgers or meatloaf, I like to add oatmeal rather than bread crumbs with the egg to hold them together.

Fried rice. I bought brown rice and hubby was not pleased when he saw it. Yet when he ate it in my Chicken Fried rice, he had no clue. Brown rice was covered in Soya sauce so he could not tell the difference. If I make another meal with just rice I use white.

Hope this helps.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 190 Feedbacks
September 4, 20090 found this helpful

As a former WW member, I learned there is no bad food, just everything in moderation. I use one exception to that; butter vs. margarine. I will not use margarine. Even bugs won't eat margarine. I don't want to disagree with anyone, but in my mind, red meat is not bad....again, eat in moderation; maybe once every couple of weeks. Don't forget, lean pork is the other white meat. I happen to love brown rice, but like the other posts; you have to cook it a little longer. I love adding craisens and sunflower kernels to rice for great taste and texture. I also plan on eliminating white sugar from my diet as soon as I use up what I have. I plan to switch to Stevia and/or Xylethol (sp?). These are both plant derivatives and natural. I will not use any artificial sweeteners as I believe they along with white sugar are cancer causing.

I also agree with the above post that said they had no choice, what mother said was the rule. When I was growing up, my dad's mantra was "this is not a restaurant, if it's good enough for me, it's good enough for you". And that was all there was to it. I think today we give our kids too many choices and let them rule. I even have a friend that let her daughter choose the church they attend. But, that's a whole other story. Good for you for cooking from scratch. Oh, by the way, I don't believe potatoes are bad either. There are many different varieties on the market such as purple ones.

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Bronze Request Medal for All Time! 64 Requests
September 4, 20090 found this helpful

Personally I don't think potatoes are bad neither white rice nor pasta! I have been vegetarian for 25 years and eat no meat, fish and eggs but do eat dairy. My family are pretty healthy and I have always had two rules. Cook from scratch (saves on any additives) and do not buy junk food! I make homemade cakes, muffins, ice cream, etc. but it is all home made and I always lessen the amount of fats in anything by substituting half with applesauce or mashed banana plus the fact that fresh or dried fruit is a great natural sweetener so less sugar/honey is necessary in recipes. If there isn't any junk food in the house nobody will eat any! Simple, really.

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