Dear Cassey: It’s so hard to eat healthy with my family…

Dear Cassey,

After seeing your food haul, I wanted to ask if you and Sam eat differently and how you guys do that? I live in a home that is not willing to change up their diet, which is making it hard on me, because I’m near foods I want to avoid and because it’s harder to eat together.


Frustrated by Family

family meal healthy unhealthy foods dear cassey

Dear Frustrated by Family,

Yep, Sam and I do eat a little differently! And that’s okay, but I totally understand your frustration. It’s not always easy for me to be around some of the foods I buy for Sam, because there’s no denying that they’re delicious! Also, I think this is a super common thing for families. Everyone has different taste, different goals and different values when it comes to food. For me, I feel better when I keep that in mind. Sam and I aren’t the same person, and that’s ok! We’re all in different places – even the ones we’re closest with.

That being said, it sounds like you want your family to eat healthier and I know how difficult that is too! When you’re passionate about eating healthy and doing the best for your body, it’s frustrating when you can’t convince your loved ones to look at it the same way. But I will say this – the more you do your thing and continue eating healthy without pressuring your family to eat everything you eat, the more likely they are to follow in your footsteps with time. They’re probably just not ready to change their diet.

This has been true for Sam too! Even though he still likes HIS foods, there are a TON of things he’s willing to eat now that there’s no way he would have eaten a few years ago. Just be a good role model, show them that healthy food is DELICIOUS too, and who knows, maybe your good habits will rub off on them – when they’re ready.

Here are some ways that I do it –

  • I compromise – I try to plan meals that we’ll be eating together with an entreé that we both like (chicken, salmon, turkey burger, etc.) and then a couple side options that might include something healthy that I want, but maybe he isn’t so crazy about. That way he has the option to try it, but there’s no stress for us.
  • I ask him to help me prep/cook. There’s just something about seeing how recipes come together that make them more appetizing! I’ve seen this as a picky eater tip for kids…but it works for adults too 😊
  • I communicate – Sam knows that eating healthy is important to me, and why. Even if your family isn’t ready to change, it’s important that they understand and respect your choices. Communication is everything with family! If nothing else, it might save you some tension at meal time.

In the meantime, you said it’s difficult for you to have other foods in the house that you would prefer to avoid. TOTALLY get that. It’s soo much easier to just keep those foods out of sight and out of mind. In your case, here are some ideas that might help:

  • Designate an area in your pantry or fridge for these foods that helps keep them more out of sight for you.
  • Just consider these foods “theirs.” If I tell myself a bag of pretzels is “Sam’s,” I’m just less likely to even consider eating it. It sounds kinda weird, but it works!
  • Most importantly – If you do give in and eat a few chips, or a bowl of ice cream, or WHATEVER it is that’s tempting you, accept it and move on. Don’t get down on yourself! Sometimes a small serving of whatever we’re craving is exactly what we need to move past the craving and avoid bingeing on it later. And you know what? It’s about the LONG TERM. If you’re eating healthy most of the time, an occasional treat is not going to ruin your goals. So if it happens, it happens. You’re human!

Oh, and one more thing that you’re already doing and should keep doing – lean on your POPsters for support! Your question is a problem that sooo many of us (maybe even most of us) have experienced. I love this community because we all value health and fitness and we can support each other! It’s seriously amazing.

I hope this helps you out. I’m so proud of you for sticking to your goals and especially for wanting the best for your family too! Just keep doing your thing – they’ll get there.

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

31 thoughts on “Dear Cassey: It’s so hard to eat healthy with my family…”

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  1. Deb says:

    I love the idea of considering those junk foods “theirs.” I will resist eating my daughter’s snacks at all costs because I’d hate to see her look for it in the fridge the next dat and feel disappointed. I should practice the same for my husband, lol. To sort of bounce off hiding temptations, I also try to display healthy options in plain sight, like a fruit basket on the counter or some protein bars on my desk. The more accessible and convenient a snack, the more likely I I am to eat it!

  2. drea093 says:

    Dear Cassey,
    Im currently on a weight loss journey, and I would just like some information on workouts. At the moment, I am not at the gym neither do I have weights at home, except for 5lbs. I would like to lose 18lbs. Is that possible with home workouts? I know its best to pair workouts with weight training but Im just trying to achieve my goal with what resources I have. I am also eating healthier foods and trying to hit my macros Please help!

    Slightly confused

    1. Amy says:

      Yes that is 100% possible! You might not be able to train as hard as you would with a gym, but just make sure you’re consistent in your exercise, and eating well, and you can do it! Most of weight loss is about diet, in fact some people can lose weight without even exercising. Obviously, exercise is still important in any weight loss journey, and has great benefits away from weight loss, but not being in the gym won’t hurt your weight loss. Good luck!

  3. magenmh922 says:

    Thank you SO much Cassey, I needed this too! I live with my partner who is amazing but isn’t interested in eating healthy, so it’s been a lot more difficult to stay on track than it was when I was living alone. Back then my strategy was to just not have unhealthy foods in the house so I wouldn’t be tempted. Your advice especially to allow myself to splurge in moderation has really helped me not be as tempted to binge every time I see junk food he bought. Thank you again!!

  4. Panos says:

    That’s a great post! Good job!!

  5. Krusha Mae says:

    This was very nice and helpful! Thanks Cassey 🙂 love from Belgium!

  6. Jahanvi says:

    Hi I am 16 and I follow your exercises. Could you pls suggest me about the food I should have and what not

  7. Shreya Khandelwal says:

    Dear Cassey ,
    I saw an article you posted which said “It’s so hard to eat healthy with family.. “. I wanted to ask a similar question too.

    I was diagnosed with PCOS a few years ago so my family knows it’s important for me to eat healthy. But only my mum cooks in our home and there are 5 members in our family. So it become really difficult for her to make food separately for me.

    I am a student so it becomes really difficult for me too because I have a big exam coming up in a few months and I don’t have time to cook 3-4 meals for myself. It’s okay that their taste is different and I completely respect that. But this thing is really bothering me for a while now. Can you share your thoughts on this pleaaasssssseeeee????
    Yours sincerely ,
    A stressed out student 😔

    1. Connie says:

      I have the exact same problem! I’m also a university student with PCOS. I can totally relate with how difficult it can be when your health depends on eating differently than the rest of your family (I have two athletic teenage brothers, who eat absolutely everything and anything in sight!) I’ve managed to keep the peace and find some balance by sometimes preparing and eating my own lunches at different times than the rest of my family. That way I don’t have to see or feel bad about not having what they’re eating, and my family doesn’t feel insulted that I’m not eating the meal they prepared. When I do eat with my family such as at dinner, I try to eat a portion of the food that is balanced and healthy. If my brothers eat a giant bowl of pasta, I’ll have pasta too, but a smaller portion. It’s also helpful to fill more of my plate with the healthy options my parents prepare (salads, grilled veggies) and take smaller portions of the food that aren’t as good for me. That way I still have a full plate and my mom feels like I appreciate her cooking (which I do!) but I still stick to my body’s needs. 😀

  8. Tania says:

    Dear Cassey,
    I’ve been following you since 2013, love u for everything ❤️…i lost 30 kgs in a year following your workouts but after 2-3 yrs i started gaining weight due to bad eating habits i have started binging and gained all the weight back rather gained more weight 😭 i have lost all my motivation to workout and eating clean …please help me

  9. Mary says:

    Cassey, thank you so much for this! This has been exactly my struggle since coming home from college on March 18. I am Mexican, and my parents cook all the time! Unfortunately it’s almost always dairy-galore and really fattening. It’s hard for me because as much as I love their meals, it makes me feel really bad about myself because I have gotten myself so used to eating better. I’ve been trying to include vegetables or fruits with whatever meal they serve me and eating half of what they normally serve me (they serve me way too much hahaha). Doing your videos every morning right when I wake up helps, too. I’ve been spending a lot of time in my room by myself, and I just have to thank you for helping me get through this time. I had never done pilates before your videos and started in early March, I can say that I’m now addicted and I love it!! Much love to you and Sam!!

  10. Paola says:

    Dear Cassey,

    I have been somehow active most of my life and I have been training martial arts for almost seven years (routines, no combat). The first two years I only took a 120 minutes class once a week. Since then, I usually take it twice a week. That sums up to four hours in total. Occasionally I took pilates or do the workouts in you calendars, adding another hour some other day in the week. The problem is that, it’s been seven years and I end up with sore muscles after everything single martial arts class, to the point of not being able to do any other workout the other days of the week. Also, I always feel like I’m not giving my 100% because I’m sore ALWAYS. During holidays, I realize I almost forget what feels like not to be in pain. I understand that I’m pushing me further and further, going out of my comfort zone, but… Shouldn’t I be able to workout without being in pain, especially after so many years? Do you think I’m maybe overexercising? It’s only 4 to 5 hours a week. I need your advice. I love working out but I cannot be hurting all my life.

    Perpetually Sore.

  11. Martina says:

    Hi Casey, you look so kind. So my problem is with my father. I’m a teenager and me and my mum love eat healthy food, but sometimes we eat also little snacks why not ! My serial problem is my father that I have argued for years because he buys and eats too much fat things . Sometimes he tried to start a diet but it doesn’t finish very well. This time I see my father in a very bad way with food and I trust to say him that it isn’t a good behaviour for him in each way but I don’t know what else say to him because he doesn’t want listen to me.. What do you recommend to me ? Please help me because I hate every time this situation in particular now.
    Ps. I love your blog, you smile every time and I think you motivate very a lot !!!!

  12. Leslie Reeder says:

    Cassey do you recommend being vegan?

  13. Dellie says:

    Hi Casey, I’ve been following you and love doing your workouts and especially your ‘calendars’. Thank you. Your energy and positivity shine through. May I say I think you look fab and have always looked fab. I remember a while back that you had come under fire from some ignorant folks for not being super lean. I believe you had some tests which proved why it was super hard for you to be massively lean even though you exercised massively and ate healthily. You followed up on this knowledge with some changes in your lifestyle which you felt made a big impact on your aesthetics. Could you share what these changes were? I eat extremely healthily and exercise (probably a little too much in my battle to be lean). This constant battle affects my mental health so I’m hoping that the inspiration I get from you to exercise may extend to these too. Thank you so much.

  14. Sharon says:

    Great post Cassey! Me and my boyfriend are the same 😊 I used to try to get him to eat what I ate, but I quickly learned that was counterproductive and creating unnecessary tension. Instead I learned how to “healthify” foods that he liked and make a base entree with sides that he liked and sides that I like. Just like you said! And now we’re both happy, and cooking is fun instead of stressful 😋 But yes, communication and honesty are key. They will understand, and even if they don’t, they will eventually come to respect your commitment and consistency to your way of eating (as was the case with my parents 🙂).

  15. Autumn says:

    I struggle with this too since I’m vegetarian and the rest of my family are omnivores. So to work things out, I talk about meal plans and we buy both vegetarian food for me and meat products for my family. Most of the time, everything works out well in the end and everyone is happy.

  16. April says:

    Hi Cassey,
    How do I stay thin while keeping up with cooking and baking? I love cooking and baking. Whenever I have time, I bake stuffs that filled with carb and sugar. I know that is not good and healthy but I am so enthusiastic about baking and cooking and I cannot give them up. Healthy substitutions for basic baking ingredients are kind of expensive and not so affordable for me. I love eating my work which makes me feel guilty soon after consuming and I am also dealing with plateau for many months. I want to keep losing weight and getting slimmer but my passion just prevents me from doing so. I didn’t use to judge people’s physical appearance but now I am doing it quite often. I am getting negative about my weight, my vanity and being healthy. What should I do now?
    Thank you for your workout videos. I love exercising with them everyday.
    Enthusiastic baker.

  17. Ale says:

    Great, the article it’s very nice, thank you for your advice.

  18. Anne says:

    Hey! I am currently on a little journey of my own, but my family hasn’t eaten any different. The thing is, my dad is overweight, I’d say almost obese, and I have this urge to help him. What if he gets diabetes? What if his bloodsugars are out of control? It’s something I worry about on a daily basis, but I can’t seem to make him understand that this is something he needs to be serious about. My mom and I feel the same, but if we try to incorporate a fun new meal in our diet, he isn’t willing to eat it. Just like you said, I’m okay with that, everyone eats differently, but I don’t think that he (pretty conservative) would start eating healthier once I reach my goal weight, btw I already lost close to 20 pounds. He hasn’t noticed that I finally feel a lot better and that my body is much fitter.

    I just hope that he will see the difference and just give me a little compliment, but once I say that I will make something for myself instead of eating at mcdonalds, it feels like he almost sees it as a very strange thing. That I should be eating mcdonalds.

    Not that I would go back to my old eating habits, definitely not, I have never felt this strong, but I just want to help him recognize what he is doing.

    Well that’s just something I wanted to say, thank you for showing me that it’s okay to eat differently from your own family, but it sometimes is harder than you think, to see your own dad do that to himself.

    xx me

  19. Myranda R says:

    This has seriously been the bane of my existence since moving back with my parents to finish the last few years of college. I love them, truly, but it is so hard to avoid bad foods. Poptarts, debbie foods (assortment not just cakes), burritos, and frozen pizzas. You name it. But I hope I’ll rub off on them. Maybe eventually. I liked the “remember its food,” that is totally a psychological trick I will use! Did a double take on this one because I thought this was me writing! Haha

  20. Ana says:

    As a person who eat “her own food”, I think the most important things are communication, acceptance and eating together. Once I have been open with my lifestyle, even my mom understood and let’s me prepare my own meals when I visit family. Also, I never pushed my way of eating to others, so I first accepted the way they eat, so they accepted mine since I wasn’t shoving it in their life. Third, even if I eat different meals, I always make sure I eat with my partner, friends or family; it’s not the food each has in his/her plate, it’s the moments we share together.

  21. indiasaesthetic says:

    While a lot of this I can’t do now, it’s advice I will take on and most definitely use for the future! My mom has struggled with an eating disorder since she was a teen, and so she tries to buy us as much food and as junky food as possible. One thing she learned when she went to therapy for her eating disorder (even though she doesn’t follow the advice herself) was just to have a variety of food. I do agree with this– to an extent. I definitely agree with Cassey that we should be eating more healthy food than not. But my mom also only supplies junk food, to the point where a few weeks ago the only fruits/veggies we had in our fridge were grapes and a very old bag of carrots. I have been able to convince her to get more healthy food and now we have a lot of fruits, newer carrots, and lettuce :). I can’t wait to move out so I can buy even more of the healthy food I want to buy without triggering my mom’s eating disorder.

  22. Eve popster:) says:

    great post!!! I was wondering how you would recommend losing weight safely and get fit for a wedding without a fad diet and weird detox…

  23. I love the fact that I live in my own now that I’m out of the house with junk foods with my parents! 🙂

  24. B. says:

    Hello Cassey, I enjoyed your March workout calendar so much. My daughter and I are so motivated to do the workouts every day and we started a healthy lifestyle journey! Please continue with your monthly workout calendar. It’s perfect!!! Thank you so much!

  25. Courtney Wells says:

    Thanks for taking the time to come up with some great ideas. Hope all is well.

  26. liz says:

    this question is something i think about allllll the time. and im working harder everyday to be at peace with my partners diet. i have noticed me rubbing off on him in certain moments and i need to be thankful for those times. also, i completely agree w the having a main dish (proten or what have you) that is shared – this is key.

  27. LeendaPham says:

    Its actually be alot easier to eat right and workout right now

  28. Abbie says:

    Please create an April workout calendar plan. Surprisingly, I’ve kept up with March’s calendar. It was tough and challenging but i want to keep going and I’ve come to realize that calendar helps me. Hopefully, there’s plan to develop one. Thank you.

    1. An says:

      second that ABBIE, YESSSS plssss do. March work out helped me a lot and i honestly truly enjoyed it