How to make healthy changes to your diet when you live at home
Here are some things you can try if you want to make changes to your diet at home
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
It’s not always easy to make diet and lifestyle changes when you’re still living with a parent or guardian who prepares most of your meals for you. Whether you want to cut back on meat, eat less processed food, or try different recipes that the rest of your family may not be interested in, it can be a challenge to find a way to make it work.
However, by talking to your family and coming up with an arrangement that suits everyone, it can be possible to make healthy changes to the way you eat when you’re still living at home.
How to make changes to your diet when you live at home
Every family is different, and you may need to negotiate with the person or people in your household who prepares food in order to make changes. Here are some things you can try:
Talk to your family members
Talk to your family members and let them know why you want to make changes to the way you eat. If you want to go vegetarian or vegan, explain your reasons and tell them what you’re going to do to make sure you get all of the nutrients you need. If you simply want to cut back on certain types of food like processed foods, tell them why it’s important to you and what you want to eat instead.
They may not understand your choices, and this can make things difficult. Other families might be more open to it, and you can encourage them to join you. Either way, avoid judging them and their choices, and try to avoid an argument if you can. Instead, come with suggestions for how you can make it work for everyone.
Come up with a plan
Once you have decided to make changes to your diet, figure out how you will achieve it. Make a list of the food you want to replace, and what you will replace it with. Figure out which meals will help you to achieve these healthy changes while still getting the nutrients you need. Take the time to experiment with different foods, but also try to find some quick and easy recipes you can use to make it easier to stick to your healthier diet.
Take it one step at a time
You may not be able to completely change your diet overnight, but taking small steps in the right direction is still a positive move. Start off by choosing one thing to cut out or to introduce to your daily diet, and build it from there. If you keep making positive changes, you will eventually find yourself with healthier habits overall. This can also make it easy for your family to adapt to your new changes, and gradually over time, they will get used to your diet and eating habits.
Make a list of ingredients you need
Once you have an idea of what sort of meals you’d like to make, figure out what ingredients you’ll need that you don’t already have in the kitchen regularly. If other family members are the ones who do the grocery shopping, ask if they would be willing to include these in the shopping list. If you are in a position to do so, you could offer to cover the cost of the items that only you are using. You could also join them during a trip to the supermarket to find the items yourself so that they know what to look for next time.
Otherwise, take this list to the supermarket yourself to get the ingredients you need if you would prefer not to ask your parents or guardians, or if they are not able to get these things for you.
Arrange a cooking schedule
Whether your family eats together or everyone eats at different times, it helps to work out some sort of schedule so that you don’t end up with clashes in the kitchen. The likelihood is it will become stressful if you and another family member are cooking at the same time, so think about what you could do to make this easier. It could mean agreeing on set times to cook, prepping your meals in advance so you can make them quicker, or coordinating your meals so that you are eating the same thing, but with one or two changes. Figure out what suits your household best and try it for a few weeks.
You could also offer to help with cooking meals for the whole family to make the change easier for them at the same time as getting to eat the foods you want to eat.
Following a different diet to the rest of your family can be difficult and may require some patience, but by gradually introducing changes and working with your family to find a system that works for everyone, it is possible to do.