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Regardless the type of diet you are trying to follow, it becomes 750,000 times harder when you have a family to feed as well. If you’ve ever had to diet when you were single, the difference will be startling. Shocking. Almost impossible. No one wants to eat your “diet” foods and you can’t eat their chosen meals, no matter how much you may want to indulge. Sure, it is much easier it is to just make food and not worry about the nutritional details, but that probably isn’t going to carry you to your goal. You have to stick to your plan.
How to Diet like a (Mom) Boss
The good news is that there are millions of women who are able to swing this challenge, so it really isn’t impossible – even if it feels that way at first. To be honest, there is a fair amount of work, preparation, and planning that goes into being successful. All the work will be worth it though when you meet your goals. Good health is one of the best personal investments you can make. Here are 11 great tips to help you be successful in your diet while also feeding the rest of your family.
Do not plan to fail by failing to plan. Create a list of meals you can eat and another for meals your family will eat. Try to align types of protein or like ingredients on the same nights (i.e. chicken night. You have a cobb salad, the family has BBQ chicken). Also, calculate your recipe to double or triple the amount you need to feed your family. We’ll talk about why later. 😉
If your diet plan requires you to make two separate meals for you and your family, try prepping all ingredients at the same time. Chop carrots, celery, and onions all at once. Mince enough garlic for both meals. Prep proteins all at once. This will help save time in the kitchen when you are doing 2x the work.
Okay, so remember when I told you in the PLAN step to double (or more) the recipes you are making for yourself and your family? Here’s why. When you make more than you need, you can freeze the extra in either family-sized portions or individual sized portions to consume later. If you do this for 7 days, then you have meals prepared and frozen for everyone for the next week! Or, you could cook one meal for yourself and serve a previously frozen meal for your family. If you plan it right, you would only need to cook one meal a day instead of two. You are really only limited by the size of your freezer.
Make sure there is one common food at each meal.
If you are cooking for the whole family, then it will dramatically simplify things for you if you pick a common food as the center of the meal. This is usually a protein of some sort. Everyone has steak, chicken, meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, a salad, etc. then the sides vary.
Consider serving foods deconstructed and family style.
Tacos can easily please a crowd if they are deconstructed. Leave out what doesn’t fall in line with your diet, only consume what does on top of some greens. Hamburgers are another great option. Leave off the bun and pile on the veggies! Have spaghetti night and provide conventional spaghetti noodles to the family while you have zucchini noodles. You can get super creative with this concept once you get the hang of it!
DO NOT EAT YOUR KIDS LEFTOVERS
Save the foods they don’t eat for another meal or throw them out. I know it’s a waste that kids don’t clean their plates, but that is not an excuse for you not to follow through with your goals. Period.
Water, water, water
Water is essential to any diets success. We don’t all need the same amounts, but you do probably need more than you are consuming now. Drop the sugary drinks and replace with water. Our bodies can do funny things when they need to be watered. Eyes can become dry, fatigue can set in, hunger pangs can hit, or you can get that dry throat feeling. The best advice I can give is to drink water whenever you are feeling less than 100%. If water doesn’t resolve the issue, then try a food or whatever else you need to perk yourself up. If you are not a plain water person you can add flavored electrolytes or water enhancers, just make sure they are sugar-free.
Create substitutions for family favorites.
Pinterest is full of creative and healthy substitutions for modern family meals. Pizza, tortillas, lasagna, and mashed potatoes (just to name a few) have all been revamped and made healthier. Try a few and see if some of them can work with your dietary goals and please your family. You just might be surprised by how delicious some of these alternatives are!
Make desserts that everyone can take part in.
Most people on diets miss what they can’t have. It’s super rare to have someone (especially in the beginning of a new diet) say that they don’t have cravings for their old favorite foods. Often this is sweets. Once again, thanks to the internet, there is a plethora of desserts that have been “healthified.” Sugar-free, dairy free, AIP, Whole30 (although not many), paleo, keto, non-fat, low carb…seriously, just google it. By serving a common dessert you will feel included with your family at mealtime and help to keep you on track with your diet and not binging on pantry junk foods in the middle of the night. Just don’t overdo them or they will sabotage your progress. Just keep it a once in a while thing.
Find packaged alternatives you can be happy to serve your kids.
Some people struggle with this more than others. I don’t like to give my kids packaged foods. Before I started changing my eating habits, I did some research and found a couple products I am comfortable giving my kids. They are not perfect, but they do help save quite a bit of time in the kitchen making foods that not everyone can have. Eventually, I would like to refine their little pallets to enjoying the healthier foods I am eating, but that’s a struggle for another day…
Join a support group
Find people either online or within your local community to support each other through your diet plan. I cannot stress enough how difficult it is to diet alone, especially with an uninterested/defensive spouse and grossed out children cringing at everything you put in your mouth. It can be a very toxic environment. Finding the right like-minded community can make a huge impact on your motivation and successes. Online discussions on new recipes, what you ate today, and regular weigh-ins will help to hold you accountable; and physical groups can offer friendships, exercise dates, and meal prep or make ahead freezer meal dates.
A few final thoughts… and some tough love ❤️
Although these tips can be very useful, their success rate relies on you. I don’t want to sound like a scolding mother, but all the good advice in the world won’t make a bit of difference if you aren’t committed to your goals (#sorrynotsorry). Dieting is a difficult process for many, many people. Make it less difficult by choosing to commit 100%. Failure is not an option. Go the extra mile and do a little research on what you can have when you just need something sweet, salty, alcoholic, from the drive-thru, or at a fancy restaurant. Find possible solutions before the need arises so you are prepared for anything. Shop your grocery store with intention and a good list of what you need, don’t aimlessly wander the aisles deciding what to make as you go. That just doesn’t work long term. Embrace the challenge and see it through. Diet like a boss. You are so, so worth it!
I would love to hear about your plans, successes, and tips in the comments! I can’t wait to read them!
Until next time,