Weight Loss Tips
When You're Dieting But Your Family Isn't

Written by Sky Taylor, Diet Bites

A Weight Loss Challenge, Indeed!

It's so difficult to lose weight when you're the only member of the household on a calorie restricted daily diet plan.

Although the Health-Wise community likes to paint the picture as the entire family jumping on the Diet Band Wagon, both you and I know that's not true to life in the real world.

Yes, the main goal for all families should be achieving the highest level of health possible - dining on only the healthiest of foods. Again, both you and I know that's not true to life in the real world.

And when mama's on a diet and the family isn't, it's tough passing up pizza night, or chocolate when the mood strikes. And when daddy's on a diet, it's tough passing up hot buttered popcorn at the movies, or chips on the sofa in the evening while watching his favorite television show.

But one of the toughest Diet Challenges has to be cooking meals for the brood while you're on a diet.

Kids can be very picky, particularly when it comes to Veggieland.

Smaller kids like finger foods that are easy to handle in their small hands. Teens tend to flow with the favorite foods of their peers - foods like pizza, burger and fries. Generally, it's only when they start approaching Heart Attack Age that they begin to take a serious look at their daily diet plan and strive to make changes.

When dieting, breakfast and lunch can be a breeze because there are a variety of healthy food selections that appeal to most individuals - such as hot and cold cereals, bagels, English Muffins, eggs and toast; lunch can be prepared at home, transported or purchased to mirror the dieter's weight loss plan.

However, dinner time tends to be a tricky diet spot in the Weight Loss Trail because that is typically the main meal when the entire family congregates for eating. So on that Diet Note, let's see if we can come up with some healthier foods that the entire family won't snarl their noses at.

Serving Family Style Meals

First, Diet Bites recommends serving meals 'family style' with the meal ingredients as vastly dissected as possible. Rather than pre-assembling meals, allow each family member to personalize their food selections based on their preferred tastes.

Example: Betty is serving tacos to her family of four. She assembled the tacos as follows for each family member before placing them onto the plates and setting it before them: taco shell filled with spiced ground beef, topped with a good dose of salsa, then topped with a salad mix, then topped with chopped onions, then topped with sour cream, and finally topped with shredded cheese.

Fact is, little Jimmy doesn't like onions, so he snarls-up his nose and refuses to eat, Betty getting frustrated in the process.

Little Lora picks and pokes at her food because she doesn't like so many veggies. She's not going to eat the any taco that has been touched by a tomato.

Betty's husband Jim dives right in but later experiences heartburn, bloating and a 'hole' lot of gas - wishing he wouldn't have eaten the raw onions. His backside isn't feeling so hot right now....on the other hand, it actually does feel hot; the burning sensation 'down there' is driving him nuts - like ants in the pants.

And those added dairy products appear to be giving him digestive upset too as he ponders the possibility of lactose intolerance. In short, Betty would have better served her family by allowing them to combine their personal choices.

But enough about the Betty Blues for now. Let's get back to your family and your weight loss plan. First, share your weight loss plans with your family and let them know that you're struggling with family dining because on one Diet Hand, you want to satisfy and please their food choices. And on the other Diet Hand you're trying to drop excess weight to gain a higher level of health, and to feel better.

Unless your family consists mostly of babies and tots,odds are - you'll get a big round of support from your family (otherwise, drooling and perhaps some goos and aahhs and smiles); some family members may even volunteer to walk side-by-side with you, mirroring your weight loss plan until all your excess weight is gone. And odds are, they will support healthier changes at meal time.

Meal Planning Tips for the Family While Dieting

Now, let's see if we can come up with some snazzy, tasty meals that will support your weight loss plan and fit nicely into the family's range of preferred foods.

Grilled Meats

Hey! It's a family thing, ya know? Dragging out that rusty grill and shining it until it gleams creates a party mood for the entire family. Grilled meats contain far less calories and fat grams than fried foods. All that batter, grease and dipping sauces - your body doesn't need that even though your taste buds will insist it does.

Trust me, 'after the Diet Fact' your body will be fussing as it struggles to process the ship-load of unhealthy food. And it may just decide to pay you back in the form of tummy ache, upset bowels, grumbling belly and the unthinkable - excess gas.

Be sure to remove all skin and visible fat from the grilled meat before consuming, and if the family must have dipping sauces, be sure they are low in calories and fat content, and sodium content.

Spaghetti & Garlic Cheese Bread

We tend to add way too much red meat into our daily diets and it's generally in the form of fatty red meat. For Diet Bites Spaghetti & Garlic Cheese Bread recipe, we're ditching the red meat and opting for tasty red sauce instead. Simply prepare the pasta as directed on the package.

Serve with your favorite jar, can or pouch of red sauce. For the bread, drizzle your favorite crusty bread with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with garlic salt, top with low fat skim-based shredded cheese and pop under the broiler until cheesy and hot.

Tacos

If you opt for beef, make sure that it's extra lean. Although the cheaper fatter cuts of ground beef appear to be substantially more, they cook down greatly - not making that bargain price such a bargain anymore. You can also opt for ground turkey if you wish. We prefer drained pinto beans in our tacos. Veggie proteins are not only delicious, they are nutritious.

First, cook the beans or meat until done; add the following spices: ground chili powder,ground cumin, dried or fresh chopped cilantro, diced onion, garlic - to suit your personal taste OR use your favorite taco seasoning pouch as directed on the labeling.

Heat your taco shells; serve with a large bowl of assorted greens, and small bows of the following: chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped avocado, chopped cilantro, salsa, low fat sour cream, and shredded low fat cheese. Serve with sides of beans and steamed rice.

Great side dishes include:

Carrot Salad - simply grate a small package of fresh carrots, or purchase them pre-shredded, add 1/4 cup of golden or dark raisins and 2 Tablespoons of LIGHT Miracle Whip. Stir gently to combine. For a tropical twist, add a bit of drained pineapple tidbits.

Oven Fries - Slice potatoes into small wedges, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and pop into a preheated 350 degree oven until done. Serve with ketchup or steak sauce (the varieties low in calories and fat).

Quick Fries - Thinly slice potatoes and arrange on a microwave-proof rack. Zap every thirty seconds until crisp, turning if necessary. Serve with ketchup.

Veggie Platter - Take note if you have small children (under the age of 6) as small round foods or thick pasty foods can lodge in the throat and pose life-threatening situations. For those with older children in the family, serve an arrangement of fun finger foods such as grape tomatoes, broccoli trees, cauliflower trees, radishes, baby carrots and sliced cucumbers with a low calorie, low fat salad dressing.

Grilled Mushrooms - Very easy to prepare and so delicious and fun to eat. Simply toss some cleaned, fresh button-type mushrooms into a pan with a teaspoon of olive oil. Add a dash of lemon pepper to add zing if desired.

Pickled Foods - Oh wow, I absolutely adore pickled foods and odds are, a few of your family members might also. Experiment with pickled okra, pickled eggs and pickled beets - three of my favorite pickled foods.

Three Bean Salad - The canned versions will do just fine. Kids and adults alike enjoy seeing multiple species of the same food combined in one dish. Three Bean Salad typically consists of green beans, yellow wax beans and dark kidney beans - what a feast for the eyes and tummies alike! next page

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