Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I've never been one of those people who minded cooking for one - I LOVE cooking for myself. In fact since I moved in with my Fiancée it has been cooking for two that is killing me (and my scale!)
I don't know that "picky" is the right word to describe my fiancée. He would eat 5 day old pizza he found randomly sitting out. He would also starve to death if he was on an island full of fresh vegetables. He is a total meat and potatoes guy. He won't touch any type of vegetable (except for the previously mentioned potato), isn't really a big chicken fan, refuses to even look at fish, only eats full fat dairy products, loves cheeses, sauces & gravy...etc.
It's a nightmare trying to make dinners that we can both sit down & eat that aren't laden with fat and calories. And of course...though I know he would be perfectly happy if I cooked for myself and he could eat ramen noodles for the rest of his life...I'm still determined to make the joint dinner work.
I have definitely gained a few things in this process. The first is a whole new level of respect for all of those mothers out there who make multiple meals every night for picky kids who won't eat them. The second is a new found camaraderie for all of those out there who are struggling on staying away from all the "bad" stuff our significant others bring into the house. Other things I've learned:
1. Vegetables are your best friend! Even though my fiancée won't touch the vegetables I try to prepare a huge portion of them with every meal. Bags of steamable frozen veggies and big salads with low cal dressing are quick sides that are super easy to throw together. I can make a portion of starch (my pet name for the potatoes/rice/bread/noodles & butter, etc that he likes on the side) for him & fill up my plate with the veggies. Pair this with our main course meat & we both have a meal we enjoy.
2. Measure, Measure, Measure - It's always important to measure out what you are eating but that becomes even more important with a more heavy calorie meal. Sticking to my guns on portions is key. If I'm still really hungry I can round it off with the previously mentioned veggies or have a light snack (like air popped popcorn) after dinner.
3. Leverage the heck out of the healthy things he likes - There are some meals that we both love & that are healthy too. Fajitas are a favorite of both of ours. I load mine up with lots of sautéed veggies & make up some marinated steak strips for him. He also is a big fan of whole wheat bread (go figure!) so on busy nights we'll have homemade soup (that I pull out of the freezer) & sandwich night or paninis. Breakfast for dinner is also a popular favorite of ours. I mix 3 egg whites for every 1 whole egg - he never even knows the difference. Which leads to my next thing...
4. ...The sneak attack! Somehow if he doesn't know it's "healthy" it doesn't bother him as much. He's clueless that I only buy part skim mozzarella for our pizza & doesn't seem to care that I sneak wholegrain pasta into his homemade mac & cheese. And if he's figured out that the polish sausage I make occasionally is made from turkey he hasn't said a word.
5. Don't ask! I used to ask him if he would like certain things before I would plan to make them...now I don't even bother. It's much harder for him to say no when a hot & ready meal is laying out on the table. I don't purposely make things I know he won't eat, but if it's on the fence I figure it's worth a try. If he hates it he can always go back to ramen for the night;).
6. Relax....It was really overwhelming at first to go from cooking for myself to trying to cook to fit the tastes of another person. I've realized though to take things as they come. If he hates something I make - I don't take it personally. If we have to have a big old splurge night for some of his favorites - that's okay too. One meal isn't going to make or break me. Besides - if it gives me a reasons to convince him to go for a walk with me after dinner I think we are both better off in the end.