My parents are nearing retirement age, and already have quite a few health problems. My father is obese, and though my mother has lost a lot of weight recently none of her many health problems have changed and I'm concerned that, with evidence that her body is not maintaining its gut flora, they won't unless the quality of her diet improves. My father tends to have the attitude of "I never expected to live this long anyway" coupled with "better to die happy than healthy" and my mother is an extremely picky eater on top of having stomach problems. I want them to have a better quality of life even if they do die anyway, and, if possible, I'd like to prolong their lives a few years. They've made a few changes to their diet thanks to my encouragement, like eating spinach instead of iceberg lettuce, and giving up sodas but it's really hard to get my dad to commit to not eating highly processed meats, or my mom to eating any kind of variety. If she eats spinach and apples, and occasionally microwaved broccoli and cauliflower that's more than enough variety for her and my father will often buy sausages or bacon. He sees the snacks as a way to "treat himself" which it's hard to kind of explain that eating a whole bag of chips because you've been good is undoing all your good work. It's like routinely laying down to take a rest in the middle of the street after a hard days work. True, some people might not die because of it, but it isn't a "treat." Also, with kidney problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and his mother and brother having had heart attacks and bipass surgery, he's clearly not one of the people who isn't effected by processed foods.
I try to lead by example, and my diet is impeccable, I actually keep my own garden as well (though my parents claim to have black thumb). I don't keep processed foods in my home at all, I rarely eat out, and "treats" are only done with friends and in reasonable servings, but I worry that for my parents, and my siblings the changes may be too few too late.
Should I just be happy with the changes they have made and leave it at that?
Is there something you have done, or haven't done, that has encourage your family members to eat better?