If you or your partner have recently been diagnosed with high cholesterol it can be pretty tough to know what to eat. The minefield of which foods are good and which foods are bad can be difficult to navigate at the best of times. But if you’re living with children, it gets even harder.
Kids are highly likely to have little understanding or experience of the healthier foods that come with a low cholesterol diet. So to help you plan meals that will be nutritious and tasty for the whole family, we’ve put together 5 top tips.
- Explain Why Your Diet is Changing
Children are much more likely to co-operate with change if they understand the reason behind it. Start this process by sitting them down and explaining what’s going on. This can be a great learning opportunity, not just about cholesterol and heart disease, but the importance of staying fit and healthy in general.
- Get Their Input
If change is simply imposed on little ones it becomes something to be struggled against. If you need to start creating a low cholesterol diet, research the different options and possible recipes, then get your children to give their advice on what the family should eat. You could create a traffic light system to help them understand the good and not so good foods. Take them shopping so they can pick out which vegetables and unsaturated fat products they like best.
- Try a Range and See What Works
Although we often think of healthy, reduced cholesterol diets as restrictions when you start looking into it there’s so much that can be enjoyed guilt free. So while it’s tempting to find just a few good recipes that you enjoy, work hard to develop a real range of different meal ideas. That way, kids won’t see it as being stopped from eating lots of nice things, they’ll be excited about this new array of foods you’re introducing to them.
- Introduce Diet Changes to Children Gradually
Even if you do all this, there might be times when the change-over feels a bit tricky. Switching over from one way of eating to another is a long-term move that’s going to set your children up well for life. But it doesn’t need to happen overnight. If you or your partner have been told to start a low cholesterol diet immediately, switch your own meals but introduce new foods to your children slowly. That might mean cooking two dinners each night, but only temporarily. By the end you’ll all be enjoying the same food.
- Make Sure it Tastes Good!
Lastly and most importantly, the key to eating healthily at any age is making sure it tastes good! This is so important and can be used to teach your children that good health doesn’t have to be about sacrifice. Research products, meals and ideas for foods that fit with your diet and which you actually enjoy (and your kids think taste good)! There are lots out there … it just takes a bit of looking.
So, in summary, explain what’s going on and involve your children thoroughly in the process. Get them to find foods they like and introduce the change gradually. Once you find all those tasty, low cholesterol foods you love, neither you nor your children will ever go back.