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5 Tips to Encourage A Healthier Lifestyle for South Asian Families

South Asians are four times greater risk of heart disease and one in three will die of a heart attack before the age of 65, according to Stanford Health Care. We asked nutritionist Sheila Varshney of Square Plate Solutions to give us some tips on how to talk to our often-resistant parents on how to lead a healtiher lifestyle.

Tip 1: Find out your parent’s motivation
What makes your parent’s tick? Is it their grandkids? Is it traveling to India more often? Once you understand what inspires your parents to make changes, you can then start helping them to implement those changes. Reminding them of why they are making these changes in the first place, will help keep them motivated.

Tip 2: Make those changes small
There are several ways to implement micro-changes. White rice is often seen at the dinner table at most desi households, one great starting point is converting from white rice to something more whole grain. Instead of using an entire cup of white rice, use a half cup of white rice and a half cup or quinoa or brown rice. This is a simple, but effective, way to ease your family into new changes.

Tip 3: Come with perspective
Your parents on the one who put food on the table and taught you your eating habits, so there may be resistance when you try to implement a new lifestyle and changing up their eating habits. It can be frustrating, borderline irritating, to them if you’re now trying to give them advice on what to eat. Keep this perspective in mind as you try and get them to change their deeply rooted habits.

Tip 4: Encourage your parents to talk to others
When it comes to meeting with a dietician or medical professional, your parents may be more receptive to hearing advice from someone who is outside of the family. They may also be open to talking to their cohorts or peer group to see what has and has not worked for people in their circle.

Tip 5: Use love
Remember, we’re doing this because we care about our parents and we want them to improve their diet and lifestyle so they can be around longer.

What tips do you use to get your parents and/or family member to develop healthy habits? Share with us!

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