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5 Tips to Managing a House Divided


We hear you…

In 2020, the #1 question we receive is: How do I make meals for my divided house? And no, we don’t mean politically divided—we mean divided in food. How do you keep the peace when members of your tribe disagree on what to eat? Here are five tips to help you find balance around the table.

1. Focus on the Common Ground

Instead of drawing attention to the food choices you disagree on, focus positive energy toward the things you all enjoy and make these the base of your meal. Try a nightly theme with a variety of options. (Yes, even if that means offering meat and cheese.) 

An easy weekly plan could include:

Monday - Pasta Night: whole grain pasta with choice of sauce and toppings.

Tuesday - Taco Night: corn tortillas and a variety of fillings, seasoned brown rice.

Wednesday - Leftovers! Make quesadillas or burritos from Taco Night

Thursday - Baked Potato Night with chili and assorted toppings.

Friday - Pizza Night: Use our whole grain crusts so at least the base is healthy. Everyone makes their own!

Build daily themes on the shared likes of your family so you all come to the table to enjoy some variation of the same meal. If you need to provide meat or dairy options, make them available without judgment. To save yourself from handling these products, grocery stores have many pre-cooked options. Place positive energy into offering lots of colorful and delicious plant-based offerings for your family to choose. 

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2. Make the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice

Take the time after each shopping trip to wash all produce. Slice up fresh fruit and place it front and center inside your fridge. Pick high traffic times during the day to place out bowls of cut up fruit or veggies, pretzels and hummus. As your crew wanders into the kitchen, make the path to plant-based snacking as accessible as possible. 

3. Offer Transitional Plant-Proteins

Stores are filled with alternative products designed to replicate animal protein in meals. We know the majority of these options are laden with oil and sodium and are not going to help us reach our health goals. But they do have a place in helping resistant family members reduce their meat or cheese consumption. When preparing your meals, swap out meat with one of the many alternative options now available.

4. Stop Trying to Convert Them

If there’s one thing a reluctant teen or spouse can smell, it’s an attempt to win them over. What if you stopped trying? It’s hard when you know what you know, to bite your tongue when a loved one is piling on the cheese. But it turns out, if you concentrate on your own plate, are joyful about your choices, and set a thriving example of positivity, you will be way more effective in enticing family members to lean in. No one likes to feel judged at the dinner table. Give space and time for your family members to change at their own pace.

5. More Plants Might Be Enough

If you aren’t successful in eliminating meat, dairy, and processed foods from your household, but you successfully increase your family’s consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains—consider that a WIN. It can take a long time for people to make the change to a new lifestyle. Practice compassion and focus on the progress you do make, no matter how small. Over time, you might be surprised how far they come.

Do you have suggestions for managing a house divided? Send your tips to