Ready to feel the #realfoodmagic and commit to a Whole30 but no one else in your household is onboard? Afraid you’re going to have to cook two meals every night for a month, one for your bad ass healthy eating self and one for your family full of heathens who don’t want to eat your weird food? Fear not, my darlings, I have a few ideas to help.
Tip One - Choose familiar flavors and your family will have no idea they’re eating health food!
The great thing about Whole30 is you get to eat foods that people don’t typically associate with a diet. When meal planning, look for recipes with flavor profiles that your family already enjoys -bacon, ranch, buffalo, Mexican, Italian, BBQ, etc.
Here are a few crowd pleasing dishes you can make Whole30 compliant:
- Orange Chicken or Mongolian Beef
- Sloppy Joe’s
- Chicken fingers or Buffalo wings
- Hamburgers and hot dogs
- Bacon wrapped chicken thighs
- Coconut shrimp
- Chicken soup or beef stew
- Tuna/chicken/salmon salad
- Tacos or nachos
Tip Two: Continue your trickery with sides!
Play your cards right and your posse of particular eaters won’t even notice you made a Whole30 compliant version of dinner. You can substitute basicbitch components of each meal with healthier options for yourself!
- If you’re making an Asian dish, serve your family regular rice and make yourself a side of cauliflower rice.
- Mexican night? For tacos, serve up a meat and veggie filling in regular shells for the fam and in lettuce wraps or on large bell pepper slices for yourself (or make stuffed peppers!). For nachos, your family can enjoy their regular tortilla chips while you eat your fixin’s on a bed of greens, or over home made plantain chips or sautéed plantains! (Just be careful with plantain chips as they can easily turn in to “food with no brakes” and set you back from your habit change goals).
- Hamburgers or hot dogs/sausages are another great option. Enjoy yours with a knife and fork, on a lettuce wrap or salad, or toasted sweet potato slices.
- Make Italian meatballs and tomato sauce - serve yours over zucchini noodles (or any other type of spiralized veggie) and boil some pasta for the family.
- There are also plenty of side dishes your family will not notice that you’ve made Whole30 compliant. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are especially versatile. Sneakily replace butter and milk in your favorite mashed potato recipe with ghee and coconut milk. Roast sweet potato wedges in olive oil instead of canola oil. Serve shredded hash browns pan fried in bacon fat instead of butter - they may even enjoy that more than the original!
Tip three - Channel Judge Judy for strength and tell your family - "I'm the boss, applesauce!"
If you’re the primary cook in your home, your family should be grateful for the home cooked healthy meal you’ve made with love. I don’t have children yet so I won’t pretend to know what it’s like to deal with a three year old who won’t eat anything green. However, I know I occasionally make dishes or vegetables that aren’t my husband’s favorite (if he had it his way, the only vegetable we'd ever eat is crispy roasted broccoli). But he eats what I make because he’s a grown man who knows the variety of food I cook makes him healthier and fuels his training, and he appreciates the effort I put in to our meals. (But I do draw the line somewhere - he will divorce me if I ever try to make him eat mushrooms.)
If you’re going the Whole30 alone, it’s worth having a conversation with your significant other to explain why you’re eating this way and ask for them to support you in your goals. Give them specific reasons like “I’m hopeful this diet will help me have energy so we can ride bikes together again” or “I hope after this program I’ll be more patient, calm and focused, so I can be a better partner and parent." Make it personal to your situation. Any quality partner should be more than happy to try some new foods and help persuade kids to try them too, if they understand the reason for your “diet” and know it will make you all happier and healthier.
Have you done a Whole30 with kids or with a live in partner who wasn’t on the program? Do you think these ideas could help you tackle a solo Whole30? Leave me a comment and let me know!