- Question from xerxes: My family has been right with me every step of the way through treatment, but when I try to make changes in our meals, they scream. I really don't want to prepare two meals every night—how do I get them onboard?
- Answers - David Grotto I'm applauding you for making those changes! That's probably one of the biggest problem our patients have—what they do profoundly affects their family, so we try to get the whole family involved in that consultation to help them make healthier choices. I have three daughters, so I realize it can be a challenge to get the family on board. But by getting children involved in food preparation, shopping, picking foods they like, that makes a difference. There is research showing that eating together as a family helps children make better decisions as adults. So it's not only eating the right foods, but eating as a family unit that helps.
Getting everyone invested in it is important. Give your children a chance to select something they want to eat during the week so they know their preferences are regarded and respected and they'll feel more involved. And also, make it fun! I know sometimes it feels like it's making two meals, but you can do things that will make everyone satisfied without feeling that someone is eating “healthy” and someone is eating “normal.”
We feel our food is normal, but happens to be healthy as well. For example, if you make chili, you can season it so it tastes familiar. You can get organic taco shells if you want, and make your own tacos with beans, salsa, guacamole, so it's kind of fun and people get to make their individual ways. Among my four kids, not one likes exactly the same things as the others. So if they get maybe one thing they each like in a meal, that makes it a more pleasing experience.
We were talking about the importance of not always having to be “full disclosure” with your family. To this day, my kids think salmon is chicken!
When I first met my wife, she cooked some wonderful family dishes from her Eastern European background. She made a traditional cabbage roll with meat, white rice, and red sauce. So we switched out the white rice and used brown, used a fake meat instead of real meat. She loved it, and introduced it to her grandmother who also loved it until she found out what it was and then said she thought there was something wrong with it!
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Buying Healthy Food and Drink featured Penny B. Block, M.A., David W. Grotto, R.D., L.D., and moderator Judith Sachs answering your questions about finding, buying, and preparing the healthiest food and drink for people with breast cancer and their families.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in July 2005.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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