How To Get Your Home Care Clients To Eat Baby Carrots!
I had an insight last week that has dramatically changed my perspective on how to get clients to eat healthy food. Before I get into the insight, however, let me share with you some context so you understand where I am coming from.
My personal background is in personal training and nutrition. I have spent countless hours studying optimal diets for sports performance, losing body fat and increasing longevity. When I was first learning these concepts I learned that it is NOT a good idea to “police” others in their dietary decisions. I often found myself walking around the house critiquing my families’ food choices.
- “Uh oh, your cholesterol is probably through the roof from eating that!”
- “You think that’s actually food? You might as well be eating a handful of dirt! There’s probably more nutrition in that!”
- “Why would you do that to your body? Don’t you know that your body is a temple?”
- And so on…
My family members would request that I stop but I found myself the self-appointed police force destined to change their nutritional habits. Yet, after months of irritating them and exhausting myself I finally realized that they would not change.
I resigned myself to changing my own habits and not worry about them.
Guest what happened?
They started to change their habits!
I found that they asked more questions about what I was eating and why I was eating it. They noticed that I had more energy and felt better. And of course they wanted the same thing for themselves!
I was achieving my goal of having a healthy family without directly trying to change them.
How Does This Relate To Getting My Clients To Eat Healthy Food?
So back to the insight I mentioned at the top…
Last week, I was taking care of a client and we were sitting at the table. He was drinking his flavored water and I was munching on some baby carrots. I knew he hadn’t eaten in awhile so I offered him some of my carrots. He said, “Yeah, I’ll have one, thanks. You know Todd. I absolutely love baby carrots. I used to eat them by the bag full.”
This comment blew my mind.
If you have been in the home health care industry you know that it is often extremely challenging to get some clients to eat healthy. This client is no different and I was so surprised that he liked baby carrots.
The insight that came to me was very similar to the insight I learned a long time ago with my family…
You have to meet someone (family member, client, anyone) where they are at, not where you are at. By this I mean that you can’t force anyone to change if they don’t want to change.
If they want to eat pizza all day than you can’t force them to stop. Yet, you CAN ask questions and gently dive into healthier options that they may be interested in instead of pizza. For my client, it was baby carrots!
I believe there is a “baby carrot” option for everyone. There is a food choice out there that is a healthy option and tastes good. You just have to find it.
So if you are worried about your client’s nutritional needs take some time to think about what they may have eaten in the past. Keep digging and eventually you’ll find it.
3 Steps To Help You Find The “Baby Carrot” Option For Your Client:
1. Ask Them What They Enjoyed Eating Before The Accident
After a closed head or spinal cord injury it is natural that an individual feels depressed. Sometimes they think, “All I have left are these sugary sweets”. When you ask them about foods they liked before the accident they start to reminisce about how they felt before hand. Naturally, they want to feel that way again and part of gaining those same feelings is eating the same foods. This opens up a great opportunity to introduce healthy options back into their diet.
2. Get Them Involved In Preparing The Food
One of our nurses told me about a client that ate only junk food. Yet, one day the Occupational Therapist (who had great rapport with the client) started to have him bake cookies. He thoroughly enjoyed it and began to explore cooking other foods such as steamed broccoli, broiled fish and others. Empowering your clients can be an extremely effective tool to get them to eat healthy.
3. Lead By Example
Hopefully, you have learned from my insight above with my family. You can’t strong arm someone into changing their habits especially if your own habits are horrendous. Work on adopting new healthy nutritious foods into your own life and the people around you will take notice and eventually want to do the same for themselves.
Hope you have enjoyed these tips on getting your client to eat healthy foods. If you have run into other problems that haven’t been addressed. Feel free to put them in the comments section below.
Score one for baby carrots!