How do you talk to your parents about eating healthier food without sounding preachy? Dietary trends have changed so much in the past fifty years, it can be hard for anyone to keep up - much less older Americans.
In this interview, Rob Dionne (Open Sky CEO) explains how he’s broached the subject with his folks.
Rob grew up in a big, working-class family in New York where pasta was celebrated and no one would “tsk” you for taking seconds, or thirds.
“My Mom would cook for hours and feed close to twenty people on Sundays,” he said.
But when Rob’s Dad had a heart attack when he was still in high school, his family started looking more closely at what they were eating. Like many Americans, they had been told that fat was bad, carbs were good and red meat caused high cholesterol, which led to heart attacks.
“By the time I was in college, I was learning more about nutrition but mostly what I knew was to stay away from cake and sweets. So I would tell my Dad to not eat that, but at that time we thought whole grain pasta was the way to go because that’s what the food industry was telling us.”
Today, they’ve become more enlightened about food — eating more greens and lean meats. But Rob still sees his Dad sneaking bread at the dinner table.
“Whenever I tell them to eat better food, my Mom always says ‘We do!’’ But they still eat tons of bread.”
Rob believes the way to change your parents’ behavior is to remain in a constant, nonjudgemental conversation.