Do you eat a paleo-style diet but others in your household don’t? This can be a bit aggravating, especially if you’re in charge of most of the meals. I know this for a fact because this is precisely the case in my own household! But guess what… you can stop pulling your hair out trying to please everyone because I’ve got some simple solutions for you!
First things first:
HAVE A CONVERSATION
Make it clear to your family (or roommates, friends, etc.) why you’re making this choice for yourself and tell them that you’d love it if they would support you.
But PROCEED WITH CAUTION.
Unless they express genuine interest in joining you, be careful not to use a tone that suggests you expect them to adopt this lifestyle for themselves. That’s a slippery slope that could end in an unnecessary argument or hurt feelings for both parties. It’s a mistake that many of us make (albeit out of good intentions) and one that I’ve made myself in the past. It’s not worth it!
The conversation should simply be an opportunity to share your plan for your own personal change. An invitation to join you might be appropriate, as long as you are prepared to politely accept no for an answer.
A loving partner will most likely find a way to be supportive of you in your efforts, even if they don’t choose your same path.
FIND COMMON GROUND
Find paleo-friendly meals your household does enjoy and include them often in your rotation.
There are a lot of meals out there that lend themselves to be paleo by nature, without giving the feeling that you’re making an exclusively “paleo” meal: for example, soups, stir-frys, entrée-style salads, egg & bacon breakfasts… these are all great paleo options that most everyone can enjoy in some form.
TWEAK YOUR “ACCESSORY FOODS”
I love making a main dish that my husband and I both enjoy and then just tweaking the “accessory foods” to meet our individual needs. Here are some examples:
Stir-frys, chili, & curries – I like mine over cauli rice but my husband still prefers white rice. Trader Joe’s sells frozen organic rice that cooks in the microwave in 3 minutes (SO EASY). We both get what we want without sacrificing extra time or energy. WIN.
Spaghetti – I love zoodles but my husband doesn’t. However, he DOES like the quinoa & brown rice spaghetti noodles from Trader Joe’s, which are gluten free – so that’s a step in the right direction in my book. I’m happy to whip up a quick meat sauce and boil him some noodles separately – another quick fix that takes very little effort and makes us both happy.
Burgers, dogs, wraps, & sandwiches – This might be the easiest meal to customize without any extra effort. Buy your mate some gluten free bread, buns, or tortillas, and use lettuce wraps for yourself. Or you can make these paleo tortillas from Stupid Easy Paleo and load them up with whatever main dish you like. My gluten-loving husband even gives them two thumbs up so we are both happy to eat them whenever I have time to whip up a batch!
And lastly, when all else fails:
EVERYONE FENDS FOR THEMSELVES
If you’re going to the trouble to cook healthy food and the rest of your household doesn’t want it, then their dinner can become their responsibility. #sorrynotsorry
Thankfully, my husband has no problem with this.
Sometimes dinner is way less than glamorous (a couple of hard boiled eggs, avocado, and sauerkraut, for example). If he’s not feeling it, he heads to the taco shop and gets something he does want.
Do I love the idea of him eating crappy Mexican food all the time? Of course not, and quite frankly, he probably doesn’t either – but every now and again, it happens and whatever. LIFE GOES ON. Do not make a thing out of it.
NOTE: This post is written only from my own experience, which at this point, doesn’t involve children. I don’t assume for one minute that it would be simple enough to just say “fend for yourself” when kids are involved. Since I don’t have kids of my own, I can’t guarantee that these tips will work in that type of family dynamic – heck, I can’t guarantee that these tips will work for anyone – but consider them a jumping off point to get you headed in the right direction. For tips on making paleo work for families with kids, check out Nom Nom Paleo, The Paleo Mom, and The Paleo Parents – all fantastic blogs with some great ideas!
Now, I wanna hear from you! If you implement some of these ideas, please let me know how they work out for you. Do you have some ideas of your own to add to this list? Please share them in the comments so we can all add them to our bag of tricks – because let’s face it, we can use all the help we can get!