So, you’ve decided to try a low carb lifestyle. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you have to eat “diet” food while the rest of your family feasts away. Atkins is an amazingly flexible way of eating, where you can sit down to dinner and enjoy many of the same foods your family is eating. Instead, look at this decision as your chance to set a positive example, because obesity is not just an adult problem, but also one that can start in childhood, which is why it’s so important to show your children how to embrace healthy eating habits from an early age. A low carb diet like Atkins is inherently family friendly! Here’s how you can make it work:
- Put a positive spin on your low carb lifestyle. Be open with your family about your decision to improve your health. Ask for their support, and focus on promoting a positive body image. Don’t say you want to lose weight because you don’t like the way you look, but explain how eating this way will give you more energy, help you sleep better, make your heart healthier and make it easier and fun to do more activities together as a family.
- Give your kitchen a low carb makeover. It’s time to get tough, because I know how easy it is grab a bite here and a bite there of tempting treats purchased “for the kids”. Follow these tips for overhauling your kitchen and pantry.
- Hop on the organizing trend. Arrange your canned goods and condiments for easy access, and invest in clear glass or plastic containers. Who needs candy, chips or processed food when you can turn your fridge into a stunning and colorful display of cut-up vegetables and fruit.
- Snack smart. Snacking is simple once you fill your pantry and refrigerator with low-carb snacks, making it much easier for you (and your family) to resist the high carb-and sugar filled packaged snacks. Atkins has some convenient low carb snacks, and you can stock your pantry with almonds, macadamia nuts, pecans and berries (in those clear containers for easy access). Make sure you have turkey, ham, and cheese on hand for quick and tasty roll-ups. Use leftover grilled meat to make a quick lettuce wrap. Make an avocado dip and have cut up veggies available for dipping. And don’t forget eggs. Hard-boiled or deviled eggs and egg salads are also easy and taste great.
- Plan ahead for home-cooked meals. Get your family involved in choosing meals everyone will enjoy eating together. Even better, home-cooked meals tend to be healthier and cheaper than eating out.
- Eat together. Studies show gathering around the dinner table as a family a few times a week or more has huge benefits, from allowing you to reconnect after a busy day and staying in tune with what is going on your children’s lives to instilling healthy eating habits. Children who eat with their family tend to eat more vegetables and fruit and less processed foods and have fewer weight problems. Most important: Turn off the TV and put the electronics aside!
- Raise the bar. There’s no need to make separate low carb meals for yourself. Make family meals a breeze by setting up a taco bar, chili bar or salad bar. For you, fill your plate with protein, high-fiber veggies and healthy fats, and then your family can round out their meals with tortillas, rice and beans and other grains or bread.
- Pack your lunches. Make brown bagging it a family affair. Turn those leftovers into meals you can easily reheat in the office microwave, and help your kids pack roll-ups of sliced turkey and cheese wrapped in a lettuce leaf, a few slices of carrots, and a small container of fresh berries or nuts. Or smear peanut butter on whole-grain bread and include a bag of celery sticks and perhaps a small apple. Or give your child a leftover roasted chicken leg with cut-up veggies and hummus or guacamole on the side, and a piece of fruit.
You can’t expect your family to totally overhaul their eating habits overnight, but these tips can make it easier to make gradual, healthy changes while you embrace all the benefits a low carb lifestyle has to offer!