In a perfect world we could take a giant trash bag and empty our kitchens of all chemically laden, unwholesome foods and ingredients that make you fat, zap your energy and promote inflammation. The next step would be to immediately restock with only all natural, locally produced, organic ingredients.
My world is far from perfect. Issues like finances, time and finicky families can make a total food supply "Reno-vation" impractical. So whadda ya do? You have to start where you are and do what works for you. Like any other change, "The Eat Clean" lifestyle is an ever evolving process.
It would be dishonest of me to say that my family has completely come over to clean side! Each of my children has a distinct personality; so my approach to teaching them about making healthy choices is adjusted for each one of them.
"The follower" will go along with the prevailing attitude of those around her. Setting a good example is especially important here. Definitely not the time to send mixed messages. "Do as I say not as I do" doesn't work! I try to encourage her independent thinking. For example: "Are you eating because you're really hungry?" "Use the 1 to 10 scale, how hungry are you?" Or "You have choice a and choice b. Which one will be better for you?"
I also have a defiant teenager. No matter what I say, he will fight to death for the opposite! Reverse psychology is the best practice here. I let him feel in control. Like eating healthy is HIS idea, not because I have any influence. So I make healthy choices available, should HE decide to partake. He also is exempt from having to eat veggies first, but he must eat them! (At 16 he is 6'2, 225 lbs. No problem getting him to eat). I also just ignore the complaints. I will never again buy sugar cereal no matter the huffing and puffing!
Last but not least my finicky athlete. For him I frame things in a cost/benefit analysis. I provide the facts of how food is fuel for his body and how that will help him be more competitive. We call him the contract attorney so negotiating is an effective tool. We plan a cheat day and let him pick his vice!
Be the example
I can't leave out my dear husband. As a great father; his own desire to be a good example to the kids has helped him open his mind when it comes to food choices. It makes me smile when brings home something I've asked him to pick up at the grocery store and he proudly shows me the ingredient list to prove that he was reading labels!
I try to give nutrition lessons when I have an opening. My kids know where to find serving sizes and to check how many servings are in a container. We have talked about carbs, protein, fats and what they do in our bodies.
I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease last year. Watching me have a flare up after I have slacked on my own food choices and seeing the disabling pain it causes me has had an impact on my family's attitude toward what we eat.
No one knows your family better than you! Tosca Reno's, "The Eat Clean Diet" series of books are full of great, useful, practical information to meet you wherever you are on your journey to wellness!