Can’t We Just All Get Along?

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tiger-doesnt-lose-sleepDo you live near your family or are you trip distance away? The Kid and I are half a country from all of our family but we get to see them a couple times a year for visits. It’s a challenge to feed everyone when we all eat with different styles. My mom is a vegetarian. My dad is a carboholic that doesn’t like healthier choices. I eat as healthy as I can and usually have meat involved. The Kid strangely enough is the one that’s happy eating just about anything as long as it’s dairy free due to her allergies.

As you can see when we get together, it’s the perfect storm of eating preferences. My parents don’t outrightly disagree with the way I eat, but it’s clear they are confused by my eating constantly throughout the day. Smaller meals here or there when they are used to 2 or 3 much larger meals. I really stood out like a sore thumb this weekend since I felt like I was always chewing something. 😉

My workaround for this situation is to carry my own portable snacks with me so that I’m prepared regardless of where we end up. It’s actually much easier to eat out most times since everyone can order what they want. At home, the cook ends up a short order chef preparing several different meals to make everyone happy.

When we go out, I carry packets of tuna, protein bars, protein powder, and even the occasional chicken breast in a baggie. This came in handy when we ended up at a vegan restaurant this weekend. It requires a little bit of creativity sometimes. I ordered the veggie wrap which had no protein whatsoever, but it was packed with tons of veggies, avocado and nuts for some healthy fats. The wrap part itself was huge! I ended up unwrapping the wrap and eating the insides along with about a quarter of the wrap.

I didn’t worry about the lack of protein since I had a packet of tuna stashed in my purse. I did refrain from eating the tuna IN the restaurant. I’m not a barbarian! Just because I don’t follow their eating choices personally doesn’t mean that I don’t respect them. Everyone is different and that’s what makes life interesting. We don’t have to all agree but we do have to get along. 🙂

I think that’s an important part of any family situation when one person chooses to eat differently – be it low fat, high protein, vegetarian, paleo, and so on. It has the potential to cause conflict at meals. Significant others and kids can feel pressured or forced into eating in a new way. You don’t have to follow the same path, but being understanding of the other person matters greatly. Compromises help immensely and make things much happier for all involved. Maybe there are side dishes that will make everyone happy and the main entrée can be different. Or maybe everyone will eat the main part and put their own sides together.

That’s what family is about is compromising for each other and respecting different opinions. I have to admit I’m glad I’m not faced with this on a daily basis. Do you struggle with eating differences? Do you or someone in your family follow a different way of eating? How do you cope?

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