If you’ve ever wondered how to eat keto when your family doesn’t, then you are not alone! It does not have to be difficult and you CAN succeed!
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How to eat keto when your family doesn't
Let's discuss how to eat keto when your family doesn't eat keto. It doesn't have to be hard!
Being a parent or spouse is rewarding and challenging all at the same time. Sounds a little like the keto life, right? Rewarding and challenging! There is no need to make either one more challenging.
First and foremost, this is your journey. This is not anyone else’s journey around you. You chose keto, they did not. Unless they did, in which case – rock on! But if they didn’t, then you cannot expect them to eat the way you do.
This is the hardest part for people sometimes. Let’s face it, it is more often women who choose keto so let’s talk specifics.
Often women are the ones who start this journey and then have this expectation that their husband/boyfriend/SO will jump on immediately too. This is simply unrealistic and quite frankly unfair to the spouse.
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And then we throw kids into the mix!
As a parent, I do not force my kids to eat keto. I make a keto meal and depending on what it is, I may add a healthy carb such as sweet potatoes.
I have four teenagers in the house and they require a lot of food! There are times that I know my keto dinner is not enough for them and I do want to provide them with more healthy carbs. They are getting the benefit of healthy food without ketosis, which I don’t think they need.
If you currently run a household that eats less than stellar and you suddenly make this massive dietary change, you can certainly expect pushback from the kiddos.
If they are younger, then the pushback will be stronger for a while, but they’ll end up being the easier ones (in my experience). I wish I would have changed my eating patterns when my teenagers were younger.
My middle schoolers are the best when it comes to eating because I changed their food when they were quite a bit younger.
My 5-year-old? Well, he has had to deal with food allergies and other issues from birth and so his food tastes are difficult, to say the least. What I do know though, is that kids will eat when hungry.
If you feel sad that your kids eat crappy, you can easily change that since you oversee what they eat. Just like transitioning to keto is difficult, transitioning children to healthier eating can be difficult.
I commonly hear moms that DO feel bad that their kids eat crappy. My response is the usual no-nonsense response and that is to say “Then stop buying it”. That either brings on enlightenment or defensiveness.
Here’s the deal. You can control (mostly) what your kids eat at home. You can’t control what they eat when they are at school or out of the house. But you CAN teach them healthy eating patterns. That starts with YOU and that starts at home.
Teach your kids how to eat healthy.
Notice I say eating healthy, instead of keto. I do not recommend keto for children unless you speak with their pediatrician.
As for your spouse? I’ve seen cases where spouses are even more difficult than children, especially if you are the household cook. Try not to get upset and force your choices onto your spouse. Remember, they may not understand why you are doing what you are doing.
None of this means you have to cook 2 meals, by the way.
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Here are some hacks that I found work when your family does not eat keto. These can help the transition and understanding.
1) Talk to your family and explain what you are doing and WHY. This is incredibly important. Your WHY is stronger than you might think and will mean something to your family.
Do you want to live longer?
What about having more energy for your kids?
Do you want to feel great in cocktail dress out at dinner with your hubby?
Whatever it is, be honest and open.
2) Have an open conversation about what real food is and what fake food does to your body. It is mind baffling how many people still don’t understand that Twinkies are not food and are full of chemicals.
I’m not even joking and I’m not saying that to make anyone feel bad. It is a real statement to show that sometimes WE are at a different place in terms of knowledge than other people and we simply cannot assume everyone knows what we know.
Take the time to educate.
I’ve talked to my kids for YEARS about food. And what I said 5 years ago is NOT the same as what I say now. For example, 5 years ago I probably said eat whole grain bread.
And Now I say stay away from that darn bread, it is poison. We all start somewhere and we all grow. Take them on the journey with you but slowly.
3) Start with one meal. I started with dinner. My family ate their normal breakfasts and lunches, but dinner was now a healthy keto dinner plus a healthy carb.
Make the transition to healthier eating slow. Dinner is the easiest. Meat and veggie as the base and then add in sweet potatoes or sweet potato fries or something along those lines.
Here is a GREAT family Keto Meal that will fill up the whole family: Keto Hash
4) Slowly add in other changes: snacks, breakfast, and lunch. After everyone is used to dinner, stop buying sugary cereals and fruit snacks. And replace them with healthier options. Again, one at a time and slow is key.
5) Find a nice restaurant (doesn’t have to be expensive) that has your spouse or kids’ favorite foods and has options for you and plan a night out. This might be important to your spouse as he/she may be worried that you won’t be able to dine out and have fun anymore. You can even have a glass of wine if you wish. Check out my keto guide to wine!
6) Buy a keto family cookbook or dive into Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/trinakrug/ is a great place to start on Pinterest).
7) Slowly stop buying the snacking crap. Save the most loved item for last.
8) Be patient and understanding. Again, this is YOUR journey, not theirs. But it is important to get your family eating healthy, even if it is not keto. We shoot for Paleo with cheese in my house for the rest of the family.
9) Do not let a non-supportive spouse derail you. This is your journey. Some spouses just aren’t supportive. And it is what it is. This is your body, your health and your journey.
10) Make it fun. Experiment with food. Make a keto dessert – I have plenty available to choose from!
A SURE hit with the kids are these Keto Cream Cheese Cookies!
You CAN do this!
Trina Krug is a Holistic Nutritionist, Integrative Health Coach and host of the Carbless Conversations Podcast. With a Master’s Degree in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, her single mission in life is to facilitate self-healing in herself and those around her through awareness, lifestyle shifts and low-carb eating. As a current Doctor of Science student, she continues her studies in functional nutrition.