Living at home comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Especially eating healthy can be a bit tricky since it’s not only your own habits you want to improve, but usually the whole family’s. Trying to do so by making demands probably isn’t a good way to go, so here’s a few ideas and simple steps you can take today to eat healthy while living at home.
Begin with the simple one
it varies in every family but when I lived at home, I had four daily meals. Breakfast, lunch in school, a snack before football practice and finally dinner when I came home again. Of those four meals, I only had the dinner together with the rest of the family.
If you’ve got a similar situation – begin with those meals. We are creatures of habit and it’s not uncommon to eat the same breakfast every day for years. A small change such as going from daily sandwiches to porridge and egg could make a big impact in the long run.
Try different recipes until you find a healthy one you really enjoy.
What about the meals you can’t change?
Obviously there will be meals you can’t change. For example, countries have different rules about food in school and I’m extremely glad for the quality we’ve got in Sweden.
What you can do is to make the most of it. Take more protein such as chicken, fill the plate with nutrient rich vegetables such as broccoli and cut down on all processed food. Another good thumb rule is to avoid drinking your calories. Go for fresh cold water.
What to do about the dinner?
We’ve gone through the individual meals and what you can do to make the most of it when you don’t have a chance to decide but what about the family dinner? The worst thing you can do is probably to throw research at them and make demands. Instead – do your best to be involved by coming with suggestions on different dishes and helping out in the kitchen.
Go with your parents when they buy groceries
Parents, like everyone else, have a lot to think about and asking them to buy something unknown just piles on. Instead, join them when they go shopping so you can show exactly what you want and where in the store it is. By doing so it will be much easier for them in the future.
A related recommendation is to get a shopping list on the fridge. I, like many others, have a terrible memory so I’m sure it would help a lot if you want them to buy something.
Print out and suggest recipes
I remember my mother regularly asking us kids about what we wanted for dinner and nine times out of ten, we gave the same answer – it doesn’t matter. She replied with a sigh and went to the store, hoping to come up with something along the way.
It’s extremely difficult to come up with new ideas and it doesn’t really help when someone ask you to come up with something healthy. The solution is to be more involved, go through recipe sites online and find something that looks promising. If you come with suggestions and show a delicious photo, I’m sure the person deciding what to eat will appreciate it.
Consider going for simple meals that takes less than 30 minutes and doesn’t include a bunch of expensive ingredients you never use. I’m using Paprika to store recipes and the 15 min category is a great help whenever I have trouble coming up with something to eat.
Create a weekly meal plan
Suggesting recipes is a good start but when you get home late after work, probably the last thing you want to do is buying groceries and trying out a new dish. To avoid this, plan ahead by writing a weekly meal plan once a week. It also saves a lot of time and headache to buy the ingredients once a week. Another benefit is that every store visit increases the risk of buying sweets.
Consider taking at least one day every week when you try something new. At the end of the year, it would result in 52 new healthy dishes your family can choose between.
Find your passion for cooking
The final and most important recommendation is to make the food yourself. Help your parents by making dinner for the family so they don’t have to rush home to make it in time. Your parents will appreciate it, you’ll have free hands to cook whatever you want and you’ll benefit from the knowledge when it’s time to live by yourself and you have to cook.
If you’re completely new to it, begin by helping your parents when they make the food so you can learn a thing or two. Next step is to try out some new recipes by yourself to lunch during the weekend. When you finally stumble upon a good recipe, offer to make it for the family.
The main takeaway is to be helpful and participating in the kitchen by cooking food and suggesting recipes. I’m sure it will have better results than mentioning boring research and making demands on the food they take their time and money to make for you.
Anything missing? Please, leave a comment below with your thoughts.