How do you cook for your family when you're trying to diet?

Being on a diet is hard enough, never mind having to also cook for your family at the same time. What are some tips for cooking for your family when you are trying to eat lighter?

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16  Answers

21 1

Cook the same meals. I don't believe in diets,eating should be a healthy lifestyle. I do eat smaller portions and have no snacks when I needed to lose weight, but lots of greens and a serving of protein is good for everyone. As that my daughter is growing and really skinny I do offer whole milk, cottage cheese and regular cheese to her.

0 2

When I am watching what I eat I typically cut out carbs and sugars. Since my husband has to have a carb/starch for dinner I make him something, I add more veggies in for me and we eat the same protein. It actually works out really well because my two year old daughter gets a choice of two veggies, the carb/starch, and protein. I don't feel like I'm really doing that much work and everyone is happy!

6 16

if you are trying to eat better (try not to use the word diet. . .it really makes a difference) and lead a healthier life style, just feed your family what you are having. Why complicate your life and your health. I am on a new path towards eating, and I cook only one kind of food at our meals. They eat it, because they are hungry. Make plates colorful with fruits and veggies. I've lost 30 pounds so far. . . it's working for us.
Smaller portions, more fruits and veggies and not buying the "junk" really is worth it for the whole family.
Blessings on your new healthy lifestyle.

1 48

Cook the same thing for them... Don't complicate your life!

16 0

Since the others have already said to NOT cook more than one kind of meal, and that "diet" is a dirty word ;), I will simply share some of my tips:

Prep any produce as soon as you bring it home! Wash, seed, slice, chop and then store it in clear containers on the shelves in your fridge where you'll see it and EAT IT.
Repackage any snacky things into actual portions (weigh and measure!) in snack-size ziplocs or reusable containers.
Cook once and use twice! If you're browning up ground meat, do twice what you need to feed the fam, and put the second batch into a freezer container, label it and have it for a quick meal next time!
Pre-make things as often as you can - making salad? Make rice on Sunday night, package it into batches for meals (lunches, dinners, whatever) so it is ready to grab, heat through and serve. Make up things like breakfast burritos in Casera size tortillas (8 inch). You control what ingredients go in as well as portion size, and you can make them for CHEAP!
Make healthy options accessible for everyone - keep a bowl of fresh apples and oranges on the kitchen counter. The kids will want those because that is what they see.
Make sure you are measuring and weighing portions for yourself, and do NOT put the serving dishes on the table. Keep them on the counter so you have to get up and refill plates.
Get the family involved!!!!! Let them pick a dish or meal once a week, and have them help as much as they are able!

My kids are almost 6, 4, and just 2, and they all pitch in! The older kids set the table, clear the dishes, help rinse them off, and load/unload the dishwasher. I get the things onto the shelves as they're not tall enough... They also help stir, and watch while I chop/slice. They get to help measure whenever possible. Knowing they get to help make the meals, they are more excited to eat it.

Do not allow (or continue to allow) the "I don't like it" to rule your table! We have a 3-bite rule. EVERYONE must follow it, including me!

The more textures and varieties of flavors, and types of foods you expose them to the better!

My mantra has become "when you're a grown-up, in your own home, YOU can eat whatever you want".

Hang in there - it gets easier, and remember that you're modeling good food choices for the family - teach them that eating healthy is a lifestyle choice for the long haul, not just to drop 10 pounds because you're feeling unhealthy (or whatever the reason may be).

13 0

Diets are just a test of willpower. If you eat healthy and exercise then a diet is not needed. The whole family should be eating right and active at the same time.

0 0

It feels like a lot of the responses come from people who are comfortable with their bodies and in control of their consumption. I wish to understand the same thing as well. I struggle with food. Making food for the family is something I have to do but it is like being an ex-smoker and buying cigarettes for a friend. You can still eat too much of healthy foods. It's not fair to say that my kids can't have any chips, cookies, ice cream, etc because I can't control myself. What are we supposed to do so that everyone's needs are met?

3 0

I feel the same way

18 0

I have high blood pressure and cholesterol. I started making super health meals, with fake or no salt. Oh wasn't I a great Mama! Right up until my football and softball playing kids starting getting lethargic and one had a vassel-vasso episode. Off to the hospital were I was told to give my kids salt, and joking told "For pete's sake he is 16, give this boy a whopper" If your diet must be extreme, make seperate dishes but eat together. If not gradually introduce better foods into their diet while you go strictly better. Good Luck and congrats on feeling better soon

61 33

3 meals plus 2 snacks a day. Make mostly the same things as you do for them with some modifications. Example: I made stuffed bell peppers using LEAN ground turkey, and brown rice instead of white. My hubby never knew! Delish! You can have one of those and a side of steamed veggies or a small side salad, while they have a baked potato or the same veggie as you. There are so many ways to take ordinary dishes and make them with half the calories and fat. YES have snacks! It keeps you going! Make them around 100 calories and healthy choices such as, cottage cheese with cinnamon and a sprinkle of sugar sub, or a special K granola bar.

27 11

Definately cook the same meals. I just have slightly less portion size than my husband and he is quite happy with that. I am going to scottish Slimmers and if I stick to it then I do lose weight but I also Save calories [ or rather checks ] and then I can have a bit of a blow out when I am out for a night out. Same meals for everyone. Your kitchen is not a cafe.

13 0

Dieting is a lifestyle. Everyone should be eating healthy. My husband and I are both trying to lose weight be eating healthy and in the meantime, we are teaching our kids to eat healthy. I think it's the best thing you can do for your kids so that they don't end up being obese and unhealthy.

80 0

I always found what works best for my family is I definitely good with a lot more veggies..more home cooked meals that aren't frozen foods. I will cook with wheat pasta...drink lots of ice water...if I have a starch like potatoes or rice..I will give them more veggies than a starch like the potatoes or rice...but don't completely eliminate that starch either. Just watch your portion control...drink water before dinner and during. You can always make homemade iced tea or lemonade as well. To me what it really comes down to is portion control...and exercise. Everything in moderation. What I always say is if you are craving something like a snickers bar eat half then maybe freeze the other half, because if you are craving it you may try to ignore that craving but snack on other items to try to fulfill that one craving.

Do the best you can do...stay in moderation.

77 0

I totally agree with Amy! I have twin boys and they eat whatever we are eating. As a family we lead a very healthy lifestyle. I've been eating healthy before, during, and after my pregnancy. I gained 35 lbs. during my pregnancy and lost 33 lbs post pregnancy within 6 months just by eating what I have also been eating. Once my boys (they are 19 months now) are ready for solids it's not complicated to cook for them at all.

737 0

You don't need to diet, nor does your family., Eat the same foods, just serve them healthier foods. One thing I do is make everything from scratch. If you have teenagers, they need to learn to cook too, so now's a good time to teach them.
The one exception to it is if dad has a job that expends a great deal of calories, then you need to make allowances for him.

4 0

Great suggestions so far.

I've struggled with my weight for years, and have to cook for my family. I also cook one meal only, everyone eats what I make. I love how someone else put it... "diet" is a way of life, not something we do to lose weight. By "moms" eating healthier to lose weight - the rest of the family is eating healthier. If anyone needs more calories than me (like my growing kids), there are healthy snacks or larger portions for them - which I avoid.

Biggest thing that has helped me - I control what is in the house since I do most of the shopping. I don't buy junk food or sweets (since I know I'll eat them), so they aren't there for anyone to munch on. This has helped my kids immensely! If my husband wants something like cookies - he buys them himself and puts them in an upper cupbord so I don't know about them, or I'm less likely to eat them. I buy the fruits and veggies - so that is what I have there to snack on.

I've done Jenny Craig before, and it was a challenge eating the prepared foods and making something else. Last time I did Jenny Craig I didn't have children - so it was much easier. Maybe eat your food first - then make others if you find you're snacking as you cook. I've switched to Weight Watchers after I had my girls, since it was much easier to prepare foods I could eat (and thus the rest of the family). Good luck with JC though, I did lose about 25 lbs with it. :)

Consistency is what is needed no matter what anyone does. Portion control and good choices available at all times. Thats the way to have a healthy family overall!

6 3

I'm having the same problem. I'm on the Jenny Craig diet and am eating their prepared foods. I still have to cook for my grandson and I am slacking on preparing good meals for him.

236 7

So what are you going to do when you get tired of eating JC and paying for their food? I have always wondered that about these programs.

1 0

Iam currently on a "diet" and I do cook 2 separate meals. I eat mainly salads and lean meats, I have 3 boys... 11 yrs, 3yrs, and 1yr also my husband and my mom comes for supper almost everyday. I will not make my boys eat salad everyday that's why I have 2 meals. I also buy them they're snack foods as well as mine they are eating healthy and enjoy tasting my salads but can't handle them always. Iam very overweight so this is very important me and my boys. I just recently stopped breast feeding and weening myself off Dom-peridone this is why I gained so much wieght. So yes for me and what works in my home I do make 2 meals sometimes 3 as I have such a huge age difference with all my boys.

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