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9/12/11 11:42 A

If he sees meat as the center piece of a meal then take your dinners to the grill. You can grill him chicken or steak while you grill your veggies or fruit (practically anything can be cooked on a grill. That's all we used our first year together and we both lost weight.)

9/12/11 7:29 A

its a little insensitive to just cook what you want to eat (as some suggest) and he can either take it or leave it...I dont think that is very nice, he has had a lifetime of a certain palate, and to suggest he ditch it overnight? I think the side dish is a great idea, it works great for kids too, lol. One thing he doesnt like with 2 things he does on his plate, and slowly his palate will develop, and you can add 2 things he isnt used to vs. one he is. eventually he will come to love "real" food, and lose the taste for his crap :)

CLWALDRO Posts: 4,583
9/12/11 6:53 A

It looks like you do the cooking but who does the shopping? If it is you then limit the mount of processed foods that come into the house. I would also look into the spark people recipes and find some of his favorite dished you can make on the healthy side. You need to do what is best for you and your health.
You may want to take the approach that was taught to my son in his pre-school which is you get what you get and you do not throw a fit. which means you may not like what you are given but be thankful and do not fuss.
It is not easy when you do not get the support you need on a daily basis from your family but you need to move forward with your healthy eating plan. That does not mean your husband needs to become a vegetarian so make sure you giving him some healthy options to choose from emoticon

HEALTHYJ29 SparkPoints: (0)
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9/12/11 5:43 A

Have you talked to your husband about this and your concerns? Growing up my mom made her and her husband separate meals. My dad was a twig and ate a lot of junk but then as he aged he realized you can be a twig yet have health problems due to a poor diet which he started to. Then he had to change how he ate. I think though you can't change someone only suggest and encourage.
I would try to take the food your husband enjoys and make it in a healthier version. So if you make burgers use lean ground turkey. Switch to whole grain pasta etc. If he won't eat it then maybe he can make his own meal and you make yours?

9/10/11 7:09 P

This makes me thankful for my husband. Over the years, I've been a bad cook and then a good cook. I've made crappy processed food and clean, wholesome food. I've tested recipes, and some have been great and some have been awful. And according to him, everything I cook is delicious. emoticon

FARAWAY01 SparkPoints: (0)
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9/10/11 6:41 P

I guess I have one foot in the accommodating camp and the other in the 'eat what I cook' camp. It depends. But I have stopped bringing unhealthy food home. Too bad.

One thing that really freaked me out when I read Eat to Live recently is that 40% of 40 year olds (!!!) already have artheroslerosis. This means they're well on their way to a heart attack/heart disease but completely unaware of it (the data is from autopsies done all over the country from accidental deaths). So many of the medical facts in that book freaked me out to such an extent that I've almost cut meat/dairy completely out of my diet (as someone who grew up basically on her grandfather's cattle ranch this is huge) and I've started eating a huge amount of fruits/veggies. Bonus - I feel great.

I point out the above because it might help to start having conversations (small/short at first) about health and how the food we eat contributes or takes away from our longevity. My hubby was totally meat/potatoes but he also now realizes with all this medical data that meat and dairy aren't doing us any favors if we want to grow old together. The single biggest thing you can do for longevity is eat healthy. There aren't any shortcuts. And just because he's skinny doesn't mean he's healthy. Especially on his diet of processed food.

I wish you luck as this is probably a long term project, but well worth it!

ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
9/10/11 1:03 P

After 25 years of marriage, my husband and I eat different foods. It can be done. In fact, I feel much more relaxed about what I'm eating, now that we do this. If you know the foods that your husband likes, and it is your job to cook, then cook them. Something like mac n' cheese (that you mention) would be easy - you can heat it up in the oven, or cook it until it gets 'finished' in the oven. In the meantime, make your own meal and have it at the table with his meal, so the two of you can eat together. Nothing wrong with it!

I love to cook. That doesn't mean that my husband shares my ideas about nutrition. There may be absolute facts (fat content of foods, for example - I agree with your husband that a stir fry can be full of fat, in which case you could tempt him with vegetables stir fried in a wok with water, for example!) but it comes right down to taste in the end. Taste and nutrition have to go together.

To ease your stress, make enough food for him (his tastes, his choices) so that there are leftovers in the fridge. Then, he gets plenty of what he likes. My husband's tastes tend to chili and sausage w/pepper and onions, for example. He can always have those things, left over and heated up, because he loves them. Do I think they are fatty and I eat healthier food? Sure - and they are tasty, too (I can't help myself, I 'taste' them). But it's his body, and he makes his own decisions about what he likes!

Edited by: ALGEBRAGIRL at: 9/10/2011 (13:05)
SCTK519 Posts: 2,086
9/10/11 10:32 A

It's simple; you treat it like you would treat your kid. If you don't like what I'm making, you either have to make your own meal or you're not eating.

THALLO Posts: 613
9/10/11 9:42 A

oh, and ILOVEMY2BIRDS, you're right. I do our shopping--and it's funny, I remember early on chuckling at how my cart looked like yin/yang. Veggies and whole foods on one side, and boxed foods on the other. I do the shopping, but again, he just won't eat if he doesn't like things. As someone who has to fight cravings all the time, I don't understand it. But, that's what happens.

We just moved to a more rural area, and I've been visiting farm stands and farmers markets for in season veggies and fruit. I think I might take him with me on one of these treks. It might be fun.

THALLO Posts: 613
9/10/11 9:37 A

Thank you very much. I really like all of these ideas, and appreciate them. From the practical ideas of substituting/adding healthy in, to adding some cheese (sneaky), to the attitude idea of remembering he's an adult.

The idea of adding a healthy main dish and keeping the junk food as sides is what I think I'll do first, except I think I might reverse it: and make the thing I give him the most of be the main, and the good stuff be the side. So, Mac-n-cheese or spaghetti and bottled meat sauce in a big serving, and lentils and veggies I cook up while his is pasta's cooking on the side. I just won't have the pasta/red meat/etc.

I think part of the problem with the way I cook vs. the way he eats is that I don't consider meat all THAT important to a meal. I'll take my protein other ways and be happier. Whereas, he sees meat as the centerpiece of the meal and a starch as an optional centerpiece. So, if I have "sides" for him that work as "main course" for me, I'll be good.

I also like the idea of easing into veggies with packaged ones. I already buy the frozen non-sauced ones, and it's not as if it takes any work to steam them in the microwave. I'll just put in a package of the non-sauced ones for me, and a package of sauced for him. . .and have enough leftovers that I don't have to do more than reheat for the next dinner.

Now I need to go find an article on the nutritional information of a TBSP of spray butter. If I can find someone with a few letters behind their name explaining why that's worse than/as bad as other fats, I'll be set.

Thank you again. I am the fat one in our family, so I sometimes assume that his choices are better. But they're not, and although he's an inspiration athletically, my tests come back better for cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. I want us both to be around a while, so I need to get smaller so I can stay mobile, and we need to eat better so that can happen and he doesn't have a heart attack. I appreciate the suggestions of how to do this without causing WWIII in our house. emoticon

9/9/11 8:11 A

I've gotten much less accommodating over the past few years. My husband isn't the biggest complainer in my house, my kids are. But I continue preparing good, wholesome, healthy meals. When they whine I simply say, "I'm sorry you find dinner difficult but I have faith in your ability to manage.". I also remind them that while they may feel like I'm attempting to torture them, I'm actually motivated by love and concern for their health.

If it were only my husband, and not children as well, I'd probably be very tempted to go the "eat what I cook and appreciate my effort or do it yourself" route. I don't feel comfortable giving my kids an option to choose unhealthy foods but a grown man can make his own choices, the healthy prepared-for-him meal just being one of his options.

That said, I do make a few allowances for my family. There are things I don't eat myself but find it bridges the gap for them. The biggest thing that comes to mind is shredded cheese....they are much less likely to complain if there's a thin layer of melty cheese on top. I often make big veggie side dishes that I eat as is...they get theirs atop rice with some cheese on top.

By the way, spray butter is nothing but a bottle of fat. It's not low's solid fat...and not even a good, healthy fat (do a little research on soybean oil...foul stuff!). It does have calories, it's just that the amount of calories in one spray is below what they legally have to report...but then no one uses just one spray. Most people pump that bottle to the tune of at least 15 calories (1/2tsp). I'd absolutely be willing to argue that it's totally possible to make a veggie stir fry using 1/2tsp of coconut oil (which is heat stable and non-GMO and could have other health benefits that nasty soybean oil lacks). 1/2tsp oil in a hot pan, wiped with a paper towel to spread it to coat the pan is plenty...and it's 15 calories.

MSGNOME Posts: 555
9/9/11 8:05 A

He's acting like a whiney child! If he doesn't like anything you make, he can handle making his own kraft dinner.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,247
9/9/11 8:03 A

as someone who would choose boxed mac and cheese over roasted veggies everytime [sorry holisticdetoxer, but i hate roasted veggies -they're crispy and mushy all at the same time], i say you do need to compromise some. but you also need to cook for the both of you, not just one of you. one thing you could do is used boxed or bagged sides. i prefer the lipton/knorr sides to the rice-a-roni because they tend to have less sodium, but i generally keep one or two on hand for when i don't want to cook. because for me, a lipton side [i like the broccoli cheddar rice and the mushroom rice] plus a box of frozen chopped broccoli plus a cup or two of beans makes four to five meals for me [i eat a lot of little meals] while dropping the sodium and upping the fiber and protein intake quite nicely. now i get that you probably won't be able to go whole hog on it, but if you start with a boxed broccoli containing processed thing, add more broccoli to it, it's going to be better for you, but close enough that while your dh might complain a little, he'll get more veggie in him and probably won't pick out all the broccoli. because even picky eaters eventually get tired of picking out everything. it takes a while, but it can be done. then the next time you make mac and cheese, add a veggie in. like mixed in with the noodles. and keep at it that way. make the things he likes, but tweaked so that they are one step closer to what you like [you can reserve a little of the extra veggies and stuff to make your meal more veggies]. the next time you have spaghetti and meatballs, but the garden fettucine noodles and mix them with zucchini noodles. if you do 1/4 zuke noodles and the rest the pasta [which is colored because of veggies] you should be able to make it better with little to no complaint. because there is pretty much no taste difference in those noodles. and keep just slightly elevating his favorites closer to how you like them. and in the meantime, make yourself huge and amazing salads. bean salads, grain salads, lettuce salads, fruit salads- lighter, veggie heavy favorites that you have some of to balance out the work-in-progress mac and cheese and such. you're not going to win him over in a day or with a meal, but you might be able to find a foothold. in other words, if you want steamed veggies and brown rice, find a teriyaki sauce or a peanut sauce or some other asian type sauce that he likes that he can douse the veggies and rice in.
and don't cave if they hubby won't eat the small compromise on his part. he fed himself for how many years without your help? he can handle a little broccoli in his boxed dishes. or he can offer alternative suggestions. and do work to cater to any veggies or fresh food he does like. you'll make more headway that way.

BAYSIDE07 Posts: 7,534
9/9/11 7:43 A

My kids are grown up and moved out. I get home after my husband has fed himself.

ILOVEMY2BIRDS Posts: 2,646
9/9/11 7:40 A

You said that you guys split the chores, right? Well whose chore is the food shopping? That is who ultimately has control... hope it is you emoticon

Fitness Minutes: (5,233)
Posts: 620
9/9/11 7:26 A

He can eat what I fix, or make his own...not going to fix two different meals.

CPANTS52 Posts: 182
9/9/11 1:22 A

While I didn't grow up with the same processed foods that my husband did, we have adapted some of the favorites and include them in our rotation - but with a twist. On the rare occasion we have mac n cheese out of a box, we add tuna, roasted cherry tomatoes and cracked black pepper - and its amazing. Also, we have super close friends that eat complete junk all the time - I mix veg into the pasta or make something super yum with a quinoa base...and they always love it! Often I make slight adjustments for food for my husband. If I'm having leftover chicken on a salad, I mix some leftover chicken with bbq sauce, put in on a bun and put some sweet potato fries in the oven while I am making my salad. I'm also allergic to a lot of foods, so I've definitely had to adapt food into two different meals.

Also, I think sharing recipes with him/getting input, or including healthy sides are both great ideas!

ANARIE Posts: 13,184
9/8/11 10:41 P

He won't get up and get something else out of the refrigerator if he doesn't like what you cooked? Why is that? Is he being snotty and trying to make you be his mommy, or does he just not care? If he's not complaining, then he might be one of those people who just always operate on the principle that if they don't like this meal, they'll make it up at the next. That's totally fine-- it's a healthy attitude, in fact. Just ask him what he doesn't like about that dish, and next time make something without that ingredient or with a different texture or whatever.

If he's being a snot, there are two approaches to take. You can use the "cat on the roof" approach of ignoring it and letting him eat when he's hungry, or you can get a magazine of healthy recipes with lots of pictures (Cooking Light is a good one) and have him pick out three or four recipes every week for you to make. If he chooses, he's more likely to eat it.

If he just rejects the idea of "healthy" food out of hand, choose a calm moment, give him your best puppy-dog eyes, and tell him that you're doing it all for him. You want to eat healthy so you'll live longer and be healthy into old age, because you want as much time as possible with him and you don't ever want him to have to take care of you because you've had a stroke or a diabetic amputation or something.

Be as pathetic as you think it takes, because really it's true. Eating healthy food and controlling your weight is something you do for your family more than yourself.

SUMSUMS SparkPoints: (14,709)
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9/8/11 8:50 P

I think the idea of making him sides he loves is a good idea. make a healthy grilled chicken, fish, ect but than also add his staples for him. Make him his Mac and cheese, or his white rice, ect. You can eat veggies, but he will be at least getting some healthy stuff

MRSDG2008 SparkPoints: (0)
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9/8/11 8:43 P

Since cooking is your "job," and not his, you cook what you feel is best for your family. I'm sorry to be harsh, but you are not running a restaurant. I have the same mentality that my grandmother adopted when she fed us; if you're not willing to eat what I have to feed you, then you must not be very hungry. If he is that opposed to what you're cooking, then I'm sorry, he has to fend for himself. It's not like you're trying to convince a vegetarian to eat a steak. You are trying to eat healthy, and just because he's skinny, doesn't mean he's healthy. I agree with the others. He will not starve.

Fitness Minutes: (20,400)
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9/8/11 8:22 P

Sometimes people who are very focused on health can be making really healthy dishes but losing sight of the need for variety of ingredients and complex flavour profiles. When I'm eating healthy I love a plate of plain brown rice with steamed vegetables, but I know it's not enough to satisfy everyone's desires at the dinner table. When you talk about macaroni and cheese, I immediately think of a dish I make with a tray- or more!- of roasted vegetables (eggplants, bell pepper, zucchini, sweet potato, tomatoes, red onion, etc.) that I toss with fresh whole-wheat linguine, a splash of balsamic vinegar and a shaving of parmesan. Ummmm... it's delicious! And totally diet-friendly! Your husband could easily add some grilled chicken breast, or a spoonful of olive-oily pesto, or some toasted pine nuts. I honestly can't imagine anyone preferring their mac and cheese over that pasta dish! I also make a great dinner-sized salad with leafy greens, sliced avocado, roasted red peppers, aged cheddar and pine nuts, in a homemade smoky maple-chipotle vinaigrette. People BEG me for the recipe! Why don't you get some cookbooks from the public library (especially ones with lots of big, bright colour photos) and look through together for meals that look healthy AND appealing to both of you?

9/8/11 7:44 P

Cook it anyway. Either he'll eat it or he'll figure out how to feed himself. You agreed to cook, not to cook everyone their own meals on demand.

If he tries lots of different healthy foods, he will eventually find some he likes. Then you'll have the necessary wiggle room for diplomacy.

CHRISTINA791 SparkPoints: (70,806)
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9/8/11 6:35 P

emoticon The mean part of me says that if you're cooking dinner, cook your menu and if he wants something different he can make it for himself.

Slightly more diplomatically, can you talk to him about this? Tell him that this is something important to you, and this is a change you need to make so that the two of you can have many healthy, happy years together in the future.

My guy and I kind of have an arrangement in our house. We split the cooking, and do our best to only make healthy, home cooked things. Originally, it was mostly a case of him being supportive of my health, and he probably would have gone for the pizza a little more often if it was just him. While we both want to eat healthy now (which makes it easier), he's a lot more likely to go for fast food or a treat than I am. If he's craving a big mac or a chocolate bar, he'll buy one himself. We do have the odd splurge meal together, but it's about establishing healthy eating as the norm and not-so-healthy things as rare treats.

On the flip side, we've tried to make healthy eating and cooking a fun activity we can do together. We make a trip to the farmer's market every couple weeks, and turn it into a bit of an afternoon date, trying different stalls or picking up something new at the bakery to go along with our bags of fresh veggies. We try new recipes out on each other, and figure out ways to turn less healthy foods into healthy options (he makes some killer Chinese food dishes without the truckload of sodium).

Obviously, that takes some time and a willing partner, but I think a good start would be talking to him and getting across how important this is to you. Put your foot down - why are his preferences more important than your health? Why should his ideal diet be the default? I really think we need to get past the idea that healthy eating is something 'special' and different, and that eating garbage is the norm. Cooking a healthy stir-fry shouldn't feel like an odd meal - ordering a meatlovers pizza should be! It may feel selfish to put your needs first, but this is a case where you have to do it - and he'll benefit too. And if he still wants that burger, he knows where McDonald's is and can get his own.

LAETU5 Posts: 1,405
9/8/11 6:34 P

Try easing him onto it by making a healthy main dish but let him have his processed sides. Eventually he'll think something smells good and eat the main dish too and then you know that's one you can make again. And once he is eating most of your main dishes you can start choosing healthier sides.

I try to make clean versions of the processed foods my husband enjoys.

Also, it won't hurt him much to go hungry for a couple dinners; he's a big boy and can go find a snack if necessary. Sometimes my husband doesn't like what I make and he just heats up one of his hot pockets; and then I try to remember what it was he didn't like (usually is because I tried to slip in a veggie he didn't like).

LARRYA5 SparkPoints: (15,320)
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9/8/11 6:20 P

Same answer my kids got when the cat was on the roof. He'll come down when he is hungry!
I have the same problem with my wife,I do all the cooking and she would rather eat junk. Its taken 17 years so far but she is starting to come around. LOL!
Cook healthy,he probably wont starve to death.

THALLO Posts: 613
9/8/11 5:44 P

Help please. I'm having a problem finding time to cook healthy when my husband only eats crap--and doesn't like my homemade food.

I was raised on homemade food with an emphasis on healthy, local, and simple--I was a vegetarian most of my childhood. I never had Mac-N-Cheese or pasta-roni until I got married 2 years ago. My husband was raised on microwave dinners and canned food. His idea of a healthy meal is Mac and Cheese made with skim milk and spray butter--he insists this drops the fat count to almost nothing, making it better for you than stir-fried vegetables.

When we got married, we divided up the chores. He doesn’t like cooking and I do, so it seemed natural to put me in charge of our kitchen, while he tackled different chores that I suck at. I can hold my own in a kitchen, and I cook some dishes well enough that other people clamor for them, ask for recipes, are willing to come over and help cook them for a share (sooooo fun, btw). So it's not like I'm a terrible cook.

But, I realized about a month ago that we now eat ONLY processed food. My wake up call was when I noticed that I was craving plain white bread with spray butter--something that would have grossed me out years ago.

My attempts in the last month to reintegrate the natural food I used to like into our diet have been epic fails. He eats a little of it, but no more, and won’t get alternative food from the fridge—he just goes hungry, and he's really skinny as it is. I am not skinny, and I think this crap is helping me stay fat.

I NEED to start eating fresh again. But, between work and other home responsibilities, I don’t have time to cook two separate meals. I would ask to swap jobs with him, but then we'd live on Mac-N-Cheese, white bread and spaghetti AND I'd have to do his chores.

How do I eat healthy when my spouse won't?

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