Confession #1: My Family Doesn't Listen to Me Either.
Like anyone, I want my family to eat healthfully. I wanted it so badly that when I had a chance to return to college, my focus became dietetics.
It turns out that becoming a dietitian is hard. It requires:
- A nutrition-related bachelor’s degree (or higher) from an accredited university
- Completion of an approved RDN program. This includes 1200+ practice hours in hospitals, schools, and community programs, and is crammed with an exhausting chain of biology, chemistry, metabolism, and nutrition courses. This took me 18 months to complete after my bachelor’s degree.
- Passing the Commission on Dietetics Registration exam.
My husband and children were first-hand witnesses. They watched and worried as I tearfully clawed my way through school one day at a time. They seemed proud when I managed to graduate from my program with honors.
When I offer my teen daughter a helping of broccoli, she scowls.
When I ask my husband to join us at the family table for dinner, my request is met with a challenge stare if there’s a good game on television. He’s a dedicated sports fan which means there is always a good game on television.
My adult son is compliant in front of me, but I’m not blind. I see the empty energy drink cans in the garbage when he comes home to visit.
It’s quite maddening, actually.
What I do about it:
Sometimes I pout and cry. Six years of college, and another seven years of experience teaching clients and staff as a practicing dietitian, and my own family doesn’t listen to me.
Or do they?
Every once in a while, I am tossed a baby carrot.
Recently I overheard my daughter teaching food safety to her little cousin while they were baking together. “No, no Livi. I know it tastes good, but it’s not safe to eat dough before it’s cooked.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I catch my husband choosing oatmeal for breakfast. He doesn’t love oatmeal.
Last week from his college apartment, my son proudly sent a photo of the healthy dinner he cooked for himself.
Again, the tears. (Yes, I cry a lot.) And then I keep trying.
My efforts may not work every time, but I know that every bite of nutrition they do get matters. I look for the little wins, and use them to energize me to keep trying!
I encourage you to do the same. Keep trying. I promise that it’s worth it.
How do you encourage healthy eating in your home?