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3 Tips to Sell “Healthy”

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This post is inspired by my good friend, Jodi of Off The Wall Painting.  We were at her house Saturday for movie/pool night with the kids, and she said, “Hey, you need to blog about what to do when YOU want to eat healthy, but your family is so NOT into it.”

I’ve seen this time and time again even with my own family.  Sometimes Kate and Jack still cry “UGH!”  when I say “let’s get a healthy snack” OR “Try this. It ‘s so healthy for you.”  Even though they know the drill living with a health coach, they still sometimes nag and complain when I drop that “healthy” word.

fathers day dinner lg
(Wouldn’t it be nice if those June Cleaver-esque days were still around? I bet you these kids didn’t complain about healthy meals.  They look so happy. I know, I know, this is NOT real life!)

Healthy eating is rather unpopular if you think about it.  We’ve been told that healthy means boring, no flavor, bland;  that healthy food tastes like cardboard.

So announcing that you are going to start cooking healthier is going to backfire.  No one wants to think they’re eating cardboard for dinner.

Here’s were it gets even trickier: you are exercising, drinking your water, learning how to eat foods that nourish you, (even meditating),  and then you have to cook for the naysayers.  This is extremely difficult, in fact, almost darn right impossible at times.  You have the motivation, but the crap you get from the skeptics is what stops you.

Since those familiar with real healthy eating-seasonal, fresh whole foods- know it is actually delicious and much more tasty than the processed junk food that has numbed our taste buds for the past decades.

So how can we get others to come over to the “healthy” side?  You are going to have to sell it.

I asked the naysayer experts (aka, my family) for some tips on how to  sell “healthy.” 

Here is what they suggest:

1.  Use psychology.  Perception of taste is actually deep rooted in psychology.  If you believe something you’re going to eat will taste good or bad before you eat it, chances are your experiences won’t be too far off from your expectations. 

You can use this to your advantage the next time you choose the right words when describing your meals.

Use  words like  tasty, delicious, juicy, scrumptious (Kate’s favorite), freakin’ amazing. Food is more satisfying if it is described as “tasty” or “delicious” rather than “healthy.”

2.  Be excited. Each time someone asks about what you are cooking, it’s an opportunity for you to make your food taste better and be more satisfying. Make sure to show your enthusiasm by mentioning getting fresh veggies hand picked  from your garden. OR you can steal from restaurant menus.  Check out the chef’s specials.  You will see words like roasted, chilled, marinated, drizzled, spicy to describe the meals.  Try to use words to appeal to all the senses to psyche up your audience about the fabulous meal they’re going to have.  This especially works great with adults.

As for children…

3. Make it their idea.  I have to say, this works like a charm.  Let the kids help you in the kitchen.  Have them sit down with you and decide on what to make. Let them cook with you.  Even if it’s kale chips, make sure to involve the kids, and they will most likely eat their creations. (okay, we are still working on the kale chips).

Take it from me, these suggestions do work. BUT it is only the beginning.  Look for Healthy Eating Part II  next post. I’ll show you how to put together healthy meals (oh no I didn’t! ), I mean scrumptious meals that will leave your diners happy.

How do you get the naysayers to eat healthy food?

What is one way you get your family and friends to share your “healthy” enthusiasm?

Leave your tip below.

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10 Responses to 3 Tips to Sell “Healthy”

Jodi Roberts

Hey Lisa – Thanks for mentioning me! One way I get my family to eat healthier is to trick them. Sad but true. There’s no need to tell them that this is whole wheat pasta or turkey meatballs. Just serve it and see what happens!

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    Tricks can always work! I will be giving more specific ways to get those “healthy’ foods to the table. I am still working on this with the fam myself and even though it takes tons of time, it works. Thanks, Jodi!

Kathleen shoop

I just make a healthy meal and make a big deal out of the tastiness of it. One of my kids favorite meals came from your winter detox menu–chicken and sweet potatoes. Who could have imagined that? Much of this is in the presentation of it all–just like you said!!!

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    Just love hearing how your kiddos like the detox food. Awesome! Presentation is the key!

Mindy Berry

You really hit it out of the ball park for this article, especially number three. We had a garden when the kids were little and they started helping in the kitchen at a really young age. Now they are 18, 21, and 23 and love their veggies and healthy food. I might add presentation to the list… a little garnish goes a long way. And perhaps gratitude as well. A prayer that is thankful for the bounty reminds us that we are indeed blessed to have such wonderful food and people to share it with.

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    Oh, Mindy! Gratitude! I love that idea. I know that we don’t typically say a prayer, but I will add this to our family meal time. Even if it is just a thank you for being so blessed in our lives. Thanks so much for your message! AND hope to see you soon.

sasha

Such a great topic. I try to show and tell my family what is healthy. My daughter is not always into all of the healthy options. However I do have a stack of healthy add options that she is used to using. She now knows what these are and asks for them. So for example some of her healthy additions are ground flax seed, fish/flax oil and hemp seeds. She has these in her section in the fridge and it has become a routine to make sure these are added to her meals.

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    Wow, Sasha! I LOVE your idea of having add on options and actually having a special section in the fridge. This is brilliant! I will have to implement your idea A.S.A.P. I really think Kate and Jack would like their own thing. When working with families, a lot of this is about control. Thanks so much for sharing, Sasha! xx

Liz Longacre

This reminds me of the quote “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Wayne Dyer. Loving healthy food is all about frame of mind and re-programming. I used to think healthy food was boring too but now that I eat less junk, I can really taste all the amazing flavors of healthy food. Now the junk takes more like what it is, junk 🙂 And I can actually associate the word “healthy” with delicious. But with kids I bet it’s sooo much harder. Great tips Lisa!

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    Man, just love that Wayne Dyer! Good quote. I am with you, now I pretty much just want to eat healthy because the food tastes so much better. Of course, I have my glass of wine or two, but even that is organic, sulfate-free, etc… (okay, I guess I am trying to justify!). My kids, of course, are a bit harder to convince, but even Kate told me if I don’t use the word healthy, she would eat mostly anything I serve (hence, she is one of the experts in the post). So smart. Thanks for your comment, lady. Keep on with your healthy self! xx

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