From finances to belief systems, it’s always better when family values align. But, as we all know, that may not always be the case. If you have chosen a drug-free nutritional path towards strong and healthy bones, you might find it challenging to follow it if your spouse, partner, or family member who lives with you has not adopted the same dietary philosophy.
Food is more than just nourishment. As a society, we connect over food, and our relationship with it can be quite complex. In fact, our food choices often times are deeply connected to our childhood years. For that reason, eating habits vary from person to person.
Since it is more challenging to follow a bone-healthy diet when those who live with you do not have the same goals, today we share with you five ways that will help you stay faithful to your bone-building nutritional plan under those circumstances.
The Evidence Is Clear: Social Ties Influence Eating Patterns
There is no question that cultural norms and social ties influence our eating behaviors. Studies have confirmed that we tend to consume more when eating with others as compared to when we eat alone.1 That’s what typically happens at dinner parties and during the holidays.
While family and friends certainly influence our eating behavior, studies have shown that couples shape one another’s food choices.2 Researchers analyzed the eating patterns of close to 3,500 members of the Framingham Heart Study over a period of ten years. The study concluded that of all peer types, including couples, friends, and siblings, spouses had the most significant impact on their partner’s dietary patterns.3
Five Effective Ways To Stay True To Your Bone-Healthy Diet When Your Family Chooses Otherwise
Consuming a healthy diet and eliminating bone-depleting foods can be challenging without the support of your loved ones. However, there are ways to make it easier! And who knows, perhaps over time, your success will rub off on those you love.
1. Solidify Your Bone Health Philosophy
Defining your bone health philosophy ensures that your decisions are rooted in your values, which makes following your path much more manageable and increases the chances of your success.
If you have a good understanding of the principles your nutritional decisions are based on, it becomes much easier to follow them when you’re tempted by other choices. When you are clear about your motivation, you are far less likely to stray from your path. For example, if your partner would like to eat out, the choice of a restaurant will matter a whole lot to you. Your bone health philosophy will give you more confidence to express your opinion.
2. Find Your Support System Outside Of Your Home
Identifying a support system that shares your bone health philosophy is an integral part of your success. In an ideal situation, that support should be provided by your partner, spouse, or family. However, when that is not the case, it is important to look outside the home for your “bone-health tribe”.
In the past, support groups consisted of face-to-face meetings. We are very fortunate in this day and age that encouragement is just a click away. The Save Our Bones community is constantly growing thanks to like-minded Savers from all around the world who strive to naturally build their bones.
If you lack support in your journey, you can lean on the Save Our Bones community for reassurance and motivation. Understanding that you are not alone in your pursuit of reversing osteoporosis or osteopenia will help you to stay committed to your goals.
3. Plan A Meal-Prep Date Night
When people are invested in a project, they are more likely to be flexible and creative. So why not plan a once-a-week bone-healthy meal preparation together with your loved ones? Play some music and perhaps pour some wine, all the while you cut, chop and sauté your way to a bone-smart meal. It may only be a matter of time before your loved ones realize that your version of lunch or dinner is not only healthier but more delicious.
Date night aside, if you have little ones or grandchildren, they are at the perfect age to get involved in food prep! Kids are impressionable, and studies have shown that including children in meal preparation increases their vegetable intake.4 The same may also be true for your partner or spouse.
4. Be Flexible And Prepared
While commitment is fundamental to building healthy bones, flexibility is also essential. For example, agreeing on the number of nights that you will eat out at a restaurant will require you or your partner to be a little flexible. Perhaps you decide that you will dine out one or two evenings per week. It’s not difficult to avoid bone-depleting ingredients at most restaurants while enjoying a night out. And together you can choose a restaurant that may suit both of your desires.
The key to eating out and not stray from your nutritional plan is to be prepared. First and foremost, you never want to arrive at a restaurant famished, as that will increase the chances of you reaching for the bread basket or an unhealthy appetizer. Before you head out, have an alkalizing snack such as a fruit or a handful of almonds. If you don’t have an opportunity to eat before you go, many restaurants serve a crudite platter of raw vegetables.
An important advantage nowadays is our ability to view restaurant menus online. By deciding on your food choices before you go, you are more likely to stick to your plan.
5. Get Creative With Cooking Dual Meals
There are many ways to get creative in the kitchen to suit the needs of both you and your partner or spouse, if he or she is unwilling to join in on your healthy eating habits.
Your partner wants pizza for dinner? No problem! For example, you can prepare a make-your-own pizza station! Simply set out some shredded cheese, an assortment of sliced veggies, and sauce, and make an extra-thin whole grain crust. Then you can balance the pH of your slice by using less cheese and more veggies and tomato sauce. Or better yet, try our bone-healthy pizza alternative, the Pizzini.
Another creative dual-meal idea is a Mexican-style dinner. You can prep all the ingredients for a delicious burrito. While you follow this bone-building burrito recipe, your partner can make subtle adjustments as desired. You may choose brown rice and fish, but it’s easy to sauté up some beef and white rice as well.
Your loved ones might be surprised to find out that even their favorite fried foods are not out of the question when following the Program. There are bone-smart versions of nearly every food, including french fries and onion rings.
Build Your Bones And Enjoy Your Meals!
While it’s always helpful to have your partner or family on board when committing to bone-building diet, it’s entirely possible to be successful on your own.
The evidence-based Osteoporosis Reversal Program was designed to be easy to navigate on your own. And in the years since I’ve created the Program, we’ve received many requests for a cookbook that would showcase the Foundation Foods and other bone-building ingredients. Our answer: Bone Appétit.
Many of the recipes in Bone Appétit, can be adapted to suit the various needs of your family, while still supporting your bone health. In fact, the cookbook was specifically designed to be user-friendly and easy to follow.
Eat Your Way to Stronger Bones!
Discover over 200 mouth-watering bone healthy recipes for breakfast, smoothies, appetizers, soups, salads, vegetarian dishes, fish, and plenty of main courses and even desserts!
If your partner ultimately makes a food decision that is not in alignment with your bone health philosophy, you can select your own bone smart alternative from the handy “Quick Pick” section in Bone Appétit, where you will find a selection of recipes that can be prepared in 20 minutes or less. So keep up with your bone-healthy meals and enjoy them!
Till next time,
1 de Castro JM, de Castro ES. Spontaneous meal patterns of humans: influence of the presence of other people. Am J Clin Nutr. 1989;50(2):237–247. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2756911
2 Bove CF, Sobal J, Rauschenbach BS. Food choices among newly married couples: convergence, conflict, individualism, and projects. Appetite. 2003;40(1):25–41.Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12631502
3 Pachucki MA, Jacques PF, Christakis NA. Social network concordance in food choice among spouses, friends, and siblings. American Journal of Public Health. 2011;101(11):2170-2177. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222397/
4 Ven der Horst K, Ferrage A, Rytz A. Involving children in meal preparation. Effects on food intake. Appetite. 2014 Aug;79:18-24. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.03.030. Epub 2014 Apr 4. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24709485