Today I gathered some advice from extremely healthy eaters who live in a household where they are the primary clean eater.

In other words, their partners (roommates, parents, etc.) don’t follow their healthy habits.

If you get our weekly emails, then you know I’m pretty lucky as Peter follows the same diet as me, and sometimes he’s the one talking me out of dessert.

However, there are some situations where I think to myself “If it was just me, I would eat a lot cleaner!”

For example…

  • I’m totally fine with zucchini noodles in my spaghetti. But for Peter, it’s not filling enough – which means I end up buying rice noodles, and then, naturally, I want some since we’re making them.
  • Same thing with peanut butter. I normally wouldn’t eat that but if he’s eating it, then all of a sudden, it becomes a little more appealing, and I find myself putting it on my pancakes.

Today I’m sharing advice from those who face bigger challenges when it comes to temptations.

I’ve asked some of my blogging friends, which some are vegan but their husbands eat meat, or mom’s who are extremely health-conscious but have fussy kids. I also want to share advice from a college student who is the only one in her house who buys superfoods, but still goes out with her friends to fast food restaurants.

They are full of wisdom on how to make it work, and hopefully it encourages and helps you along your journey.

The Best Advice on How to Eat Healthy when nobody Around You Does

Q: How do you navigate making healthy choices in social settings, where others are not healthy?

A1: “I’ve gotten used to bringing something that I can eat to events. If there’s nothing there I can eat, I sip on tea or water and then go home and eat later. And I’ve found that, with time, the decision becomes easier and easier. I know those foods are unhealthy and bad for my body, so it’s really a no-brainer not to eat them! And besides, the point of a social occasion is really to interact with other people. Even without food, you can always chat, joke, laugh, listen. :)”

~ Ricki Heller – Vegan/ clean eater for over 20 years/ married to a carnivore  

A2: “I often eat beforehand if I don’t think anything will be vegan. When I go to parties/BBQs I always bring a hearty vegan dish to share. I also remind myself I am at these events to be social, not to convert anyone to veganism and not to have the best meal of my life. I go to these events to be with my family and friends – food takes a back seat sometimes”.

~ Gretchen Caldwell – Vegan for 9 years, mother, and husband is not vegan and most likely will never be

A3: “Plan ahead, if eating out at a restaurant call ahead/check out the menu. You have to be ok with being a little different when eating in social settings, and trust us it get’s easier as time goes on.”

~ Sarah & Peter – Plant-based & loving it for 5+ years

Q: Do you make all the meals in your home? Do you make multiple meals? How do you handle temptations?

A1: “I make most meals at home, sometimes I will add cheese or meat to others dishes but not mine. Temptations are difficult but I remind myself why I am vegan in the first place, how it has helped my body to heal itself of pain from the arthritis and how the animals are better off without me adding to their pain”.

~ Marie Roxanne  Been on the healthy eating wagon for 4-5 years, no friends or family members eat similar

A2: “My husband and I both make the meals. I think of him as my “sous-chef” (or, as I tell him, “you’re a great chopper.”). Being a cookbook author and recipe developer, the ideas for new foods come to me pretty easily, so I’m the one who generally decides what we’ll be eating. I don’t make multiple meals—my husband is great about trying out whatever I eat even though he’s an avowed meat eater. But he’s always happy to have my main course as his side dish. If he wants a piece of meat or fish, he cooks that himself .”

~ Ricki Heller – Vegan/ clean eater for over 20 years/ married to a carnivore

Q: How do you stay motivated and keep your spirits high when no one wants to join in on healthy eating?

A1: “Ultimately, it’s a personal choice. You can’t force someone to change; you can only go so far as to show them that there is an alternative, and it’s up to them to choose that path if they want to. That’s the foremost thought I keep in mind whenever I cook vegetarian/vegan meals for someone. Another way I stay motivated is to have fun cooking! As a food blogger, the kitchen is like my second home and lab. This is where I play around with unusual flavour combinations and food pairings. It’s an exciting and therapeutic process, and I think if people can feel that energy from you, they will be more inclined to give healthy eating a chance. Also, it’s good to start with baby steps. Instead of presenting a plateful of kale and send people running, start with comfort food like vegan quesadillas or spinach curry with vegan paneer cheese (which are huge faves in my family), or make a popular dish meatless. This usually works well, and I’ve had my parents requesting certain vegan dishes every now and then!”

~ Yuko Shimomoto –  Clean Eating college student. Parents, grandparents & boyfriends don’t follow the same diet

A2: “I think it’s a process. I used to try to convince my family and friends that they should be concerned, too, about what they ate, or try to convince them to try my foods. I’ve learned that that’s a huge waste of my energy, since I can never change someone else’s mind or behavior. Now, I just eat “my way” and am happy to share time and space with them while they eat “their way.” If they choose not to socialize with me because of it, I’m sad, but I don’t let it alter what I’m doing to improve my health.”

~ Ricki HellerVegan/ clean eater for over 20 years/ married to a carnivore

Q: How do you handle family & friends that don’t understand why anyone would be Vegetarian/Vegan Or Eat Healthy?

A1: “I am now very blunt. I tell them – I don’t bother you with what you choose to eat, please don’t bother me”.

~ Marie Roxanne  Been on the healthy eating wagon for 4-5 years, no friends or family members eat similar

Q: Do you have any other advice or helpful tips to share?

A1: Offer To Help/Be Prepared-“When I am visiting family back East, I always offer to cook some meals or prep some veggies so I know that I have something to eat in a non plant-based household and people get really excited to a-not cook and b-watch me do something that i really love.”

~ Emma D’Alessandro  Refined sugar-free and clean eating for 3 years and a vegetarian for 7, boyfriend & family members don’t eat the same, but are coming around

A2: “Remind yourself that there was probably a time when you thought chia pudding, kale chips and quinoa sounded very strange. Cut people some slack and try not to worry about what they think of your food. Figure out what kind of food your family likes (is it spicy, or hearty or sweet etc) and make healthy foods that still fit in those categories.”

~ Gretchen CaldwellVegan for 9 years, mother, and husband is not Vegan and most likely will never be

A3: “I find if food tastes good, people like it. I bring dishes to work to share, as well as social gatherings. However the online community has been a huge support & provides some place to discuss these issues & vent when needed.”

~ Jenelle York –  Clean Eating/ Vegan for 5 years, husband not vegan

Eating healthy is gaining in popularity, but it’s just not there yet

In the meantime, remember why you are doing it – for yourself, for your health – and take some of the advice from our friends above and apply it.

Are you the primary healthy eater in your life?

How do you handle it, or is it still something you’re working on? Leave a comment and let us know!

    4 replies to "Healthy Blogger’s Advice: Succeeding as “The Healthy One”"

    • Gretchen

      Great article and advice from multiple sources. Thanks so much for including me!

      • sarah

        Thank you Gretchen! We hope to include more of your advice in the future:)

    • I am the only vegan/clean eater in my family. My husband will eat any and everything I cook though, he often times is vegan certain days just because I made all his meals. The rest of my family is supportive and curious. I love when I am visiting and my mom makes sure she eats exactly what I do. As far as those who do not understand, I just smile and keep doing what I do. I live a healthy, happy life. People notice and want a piece of that. When they decide to ask questions, I grin and bare it, telling them more or less, that my body is now aligned with my values. It tends to shut down any shade they may have wanted to throw my way :)

      • sarah

        Hey Jennifer! That’s so great your husband is so open to veganism/clean eating, and your good attitude probably helps a lot:) Having a supportive family really helps, I’m glad you are so lucky!

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