Q&A #3

Good morning and Happy Humpday!

I thought I would start today out with a great question I received a few weeks ago from a reader named Lauren. This really made me think, and I’m so glad she asked the question!

I’m hoping you all will have more ideas and tips that will help her (and me!) out – multiple minds are better than one, right?

 

Lauren asked:

I’ve got a question for you about how you work out your meals with your husband, Nick. Since you seem to be the one who is more passionate about food and have greater requirements for the quality and healthiness (ha, is that a word?) of the food you eat, do you do most of the meal planning and cooking? How does he contribute? Does he appreciate food like you do? 

The reason I ask is that I am struggling working with my boyfriend when it comes to our meals together. I put a lot of energy in to finding new recipes I want to try, reading food blogs, going to the grocery store, and putting together healthy meals–because it is important to me and I would do it even if it was just for myself. But my boyfriend could throw together pasta, spinach (I’ll give him extra credit for that), and marinara sauce together every night for dinner at 8:00 PM and be okay with it. He has made the choice to not make an effort to reciprocate a healthy, well thought out meal for me, because he just "doesn’t care about food the way that I do."

Have you and Nick ever dealt with a situation like this? If so, how did you handle it? Can you offer me some advice with this situation, because I would really like to share my passion for good, healthy food with him, but he just doesn’t seem to care. Should I just accept that he just doesn’t care and give in and be myself?

 

I loved this question because I can relate SO much to her feelings. I am definitely more passionate about food, health, etc than Nick. He doesn’t just eat junk food or anything, but he’s not reading food blogs all day long, looking up recipes to make next week, and plotting breakfast for tomorrow at lunch the day before, you know?

 

Here’s the response I sent to Lauren:

Boy, where do I start?

Do you do most of the meal planning and cooking? Yes, definitely. I plan meals every week, do the grocery shopping, etc. He does help with the cooking sometimes, and he is a good cook! But, most nights, I cook the meals/get the stuff out/put the dishes and leftovers away/wash dishes.

How does he contribute? He eats it? :) Just kidding! Nick really is a great cook – he isn’t one to use a recipe and is good about throwing stuff together quickly to make a meal. And great at making breakfast.

Sometimes if I’m having trouble figuring out what meals to make that week, I’ll ask him if there’s anything he wants, like something we haven’t had in a while.

He does do the dishes sometimes (we don’t have a dishwasher) and helps me put stuff away, too.

Does he appreciate food like you do? Yes and no. He likes good food. I mean, neither one us really likes or wants really processed foods or to eat something that just doesn’t taste very good. BUT, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t think about food most of the day, read blogs about food, look up recipes, etc. I think he would be just as happy with easy meals sometimes, but he also gets sick of leftovers WAY faster than I do, so I know he wouldn’t eat the same thing every night unless he had to.
I totally understand, though. I feel like Nick is like that in some respects because he doesn’t have the same passion.

Sometimes he’ll want to order pizza or go get some burgers (which is fine) but just doesn’t seem to understand why I DON’T sometimes. Does that make sense? I’m all about onion rings sometimes, but we don’t always want the same thing at the same time, and that’s when it gets tough making decisions.

He never does that on purpose – his cravings happen when they happen, and the same with me. I mean, he’s a guy. He can, and sometimes does, eat an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies in less than a week and never has to worry about his weight. But he eats pretty healthy most of the time so the splurges are okay.

One thing that I tried to do early on in our marriage was to get ideas from him of meals he loved and just make them a bit healthier by using whole wheat pasta, adding more veggies, cutting out some cheese, etc. This also happened to be when I finally losing the rest of my weight with Weight Watchers, so that made it easier for me, too.

Maybe find out things that he just loves but never makes for himself? Or recipes that his family makes that are big traditions and find new ways to make them? Maybe if it’s his turn to cook or he wants to make a meal for you, you could give him a few suggestions of things you’d like to try.

Also, if he can find healthier snacks, etc, that he just loves, that may help give him new ideas, too. Nick just recently started loving Hummus and Clif bars.

And…if you try that, and it doesn’t work, he just may never have that same passion, and that’s okay, too.

I know Nick thinks I’m crazy sometimes – okay, most of the time – for being so excited about oatmeal or wheatberries or almond butter, and I’m okay with that.
Sometimes it is hard doing all of this and not feeling like you get an appreciation for your work, but it’s like you said – I do this not only for him, but for me. And if I wasn’t married and I was just on my own, I’d be doing this anyways.

 

So what about you?

How do you deal with planning / eating meals with your significant other or family that you live with? Does anyone share your passions for food, cooking, health, etc?

 

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26 comments

  1. I’m sure so many of us can relate to this. My husband eats healthy, but really could care less WHAT I cook, and also doesn’t sit around thinking about food all day!

  2. Sounds like you and Nick make things work pretty smoothly! I plan my meals all week long, shop Saturday, and cook on Sunday. Of course it’s easier because I don’t have a significant other to please..yet. Haha

  3. I can relate a lot to this. Hans is a pretty healthy eater but he could eat the same thing every day. After about a year we have finally solved the ‘cooking issue’. It just takes a little practice ;) Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. Great post! I share the same situation, where my boyfriend could probably eat chicken fingers every night and be okay with it… however I know that he appreciates all my cooking and he tells me all the time which is awesome!! :) He is also thankful that he has been able to try so many new foods (some “health foods”) that he would have never tried on his own, and that makes me happy!

    I also think about my meals all the time…. i feel like 75% of my brain is constantly swirling with thoughts of food food food recipes recipes cooking ingredients etc hahaha ;)

  5. My dear husband is not a foodie at all. He just really doesn’t care about it and would eat out of cans and boxes every day if I were not part of his life :D So, I do the meal planning and shopping, though he is willing to come along for shopping trips if I need to shop during a time we are together. I try to shop on nights that he already has other plans so we can spend more quality time when we are together.

    As far as helping out, he is very helpful in the kitchen. He pulls things from the freezer for me, helps with chopping or salad making. He also washes all of the dishes and even though we have a dishwasher, he prefers to wash them by hand, crazy I know.

    Thankfully, our relationship in food works well and it is never really an issue though I do wish he was more of a cook so that he could be completely in charge on dinner on busy nights.

  6. That is a great question! I REALLY hope to end up with someone who likes healthy food…but c’mon, girls – how many men love health food? :-)

    I am very lucky in that my family eats pretty healthy – diabetes and heart disease runs in our family on both sides. I can see it being very stressful if your S.O. doesn’t like healthy food, but the thing is, I think so many people don’t realize it CAN (and does!) taste good! I’ve made numerous recipes when people can’t believe it’s low-fat or low-cal. I think once people start to taste this for themselves, they’d be more likely to commit to healthy eating for good.

  7. My situation is VERY similiar to yours. I do all the planning. I read the blogs, newsletters, websites. . .The weeks where I feel uninspired I ask John if there are any request that he might have.

    He doesn’t have the drive for health/nutrition that I do but he respects it. For instance last night he brought home a stack of cupcake recipes that he thought I might like. The thought was very sweet (as he knows I love cake) but some of these things has like 40 grams of fat! So I sorted through the stack, found the least offenders, and set them aside. Maybe we’ll make them, maybe we won’t.

    John does help with the dishes, lugging in the groceries, cutting vegetables, and things of that sort.

    As you know I have recently started running. John isn’t about to go for a run but he does help me find the time to do it.

    In a nutshell, he doesn’t share my passion but he is very supportive.

  8. Great post! I have been having a similar battle with my sister. She just doesn’t understand my love of food. She would be ok with Kraft mac and cheese and cereal everyday, while I dream about grocery stores, recipes, and food allll day!

  9. I have been married over 25 years and over that time, my husband has learned to appreciate healthy food. He compliments me all the time on what I make for dinner, and he cleans up after dinner every night, and I appreciate that! For guys, I think it is a process of learning to like healthy food, especially if they were raised in a home where there were not home cooked meals.

    Does he care about eating healthy..YES does he want to discuss menus, read recipes, shop, cook, etc….NO
    He is too busy working to support our family to be too involved meals, but definitely cares about what he eats.

    So NO fast food, pizza, boxed, frozen or packaged foods (for the most part) are in our regular meal plan. I also cook extra every meal to make leftovers, which we both eat. He doesn’t have a weight problem, but doesn’t want to get a big belly, so has never been in the habit of eating fast food or junk food.

    There are some things that I make for the family that I don’t eat myself. We almost always have sourdough bread, rolls, or cornbread, which I rarely eat. Also, sometime I just turn my meal into a “salad” so if we have tacos; I make myself a big taco salad. In the rare occasion that we have pizza for dinner, I will have a big salad and maybe one piece while everyone else fills up on pizza.

    If I were single and dating, I would be looking for a companion who was at least supportive of my lifestyle. The rest will come with time.

  10. you are too cute! i don’t have a significant other at the moment, but i am with you – i will probably be eating the same way boyfriend or not!

  11. I can so relate to this! Sonny thinks that I think about food TOO much — in an unhealthy way. Which is sometimes true, but most of the time it’s just excitement over seasonal fruits and veggies, new condiments, awesome easy recipes . . . etc. etc. He has a couple things he’s good at making (particularly veggie gumbo and mexican-themed meals) but I do most of the cooking, and for awhile I would get sad when he wasn’t as excited about a meal/dessert as I was. But it’s who he is, and I finally accepted it!

  12. Hi Brandi

    What a great question Lauren had!
    MEN!
    I could ask my husband in the morning what he wants for dinner and he would say, “I Dont Know, I Just Had Breakfast”
    I would call him at 4pm and ask him what he wants for dinner and he would say “I Dont Care”
    I would spend hours making dinner and all he would say is “It’s Good”
    I would get upset all the time.
    PLEASE DONT STRESS OVER IT!!!
    It will make you crazy, depressed and mad all at the same time.
    So my advise is to accept that he does not care about food the way you do.
    I have come to the conclusion that my man just is not wired that way.
    But I wont lie, I love when he does suggest a certain meal.

    • ha, tammy that is so funny, because that is pretty much EXACTLY the same dialog I get from my boyfriend. it has been extremely disappointing and upsetting for me because i love food and i want to share that with him just like couples share a favorite activity, music band, or hobby–but he just doesn’t participate. but, you’re right, it’s not worth stressing over. there are a lot of other wonderful qualities about him that i wouldn’t trade for the world!

      and maybe we just need more time together. he has started experimenting with his post-workout protein smoothies by putting cucumber, spinach, and fresh ginger in them. and he talks about how good they are, how much he looks forward to them and says that it is his favorite part of working out! how many guys do you know that will put spinach in their protein smoothies and look forward to it?!

      i have a feeling our approach with food we’ll begin to blend together with time.

  13. i’m definitely more into food stuff than my fiance… but the good thing for me is that he likes the idea of eating well, and trusts that i’m going to plan so that he is eating fairly healthy. he pouts sometimes (the first time we had whole wheat pancakes he said “they’re not as good as bisquick, but i know if we keep making them they’ll be normal to me and i won’t mind, so keep doing them like this”)
    and i try to figure out healthy things he loves (he likes nuts or seeds on his salad, and giving him those makes him excited to eat them, he loves sweet potatoes, etc)
    newest discovery has been that if i get dave’s killer bread it’s tasty enough that he won’t complain about not having white bread! yay for that

  14. You and I could be long lost sisters – because your philosophy of food/menu planning, etc. is right up my alley, and my husband just doesn’t think about food the way I do.

    He’s a great cook – but a bit too generous with cheese, olive oil and butter, and he knows how much I love to cook, and let’s me do my thing.

  15. great topic!!!! Stressful topic in my house! I have such a problem with my family getting to eat healthy and contribute! and my daughter does everything her dad does (including eating yucky food!) so its hard for me to make something and get them all to eat it. They absolutely refuse some days! :( Those of you who have significant others that will eat anything even if its healthy consider yourselves LUCKY!! :)

  16. My boyfriend likes healthy food, but like many others have said here, he doesn’t think about it. He lets me have free reign in the kitchen and if he didn’t, he’d just eat rice and chicken or make a turkey wrap every night. I’ve come to appreciate some of his simple dishes like pasta with a few veggies in it and he’s come to appreciate my more…uh…elaborate recipes :) I think just a mutual respect for one another’s tastes is all it takes to keep each other happy.

  17. Great post! Its hard to have someone to cook meals with all the time in college but I do have friends that love heathy eating!

  18. I can relate to this a lot. My boyfriend is happy eating pizza and burgers every day. Lately I’ve gotten him to try healthy foods such as edamame, broccoli, and hummus and he is addicted to them now! When he is with me, he is happy eating my healthy dinners but when he is away from me, he goes to McDonald’s. Still working on getting him out of that habit!

  19. while I am overcoming an eating disorder with a boyfriend who totally loves the typical college foods of pizza at 3am and any and all fatty red meat he can get his hands on, it def makes it hard to enjoy home cooked meals together.
    Going out to dinner is easier but hard on me because of my constant fight over fear foods.
    He is understanding that I want to eat healthy and will ‘suck it up’ and eat whole wheat pasta (though he didn’t even notice when he did!) but he would MUCH prefer read meat to chicken. Maybe separate meals eaten together can help? I know several couples who do this and it works!

  20. Great post, Brandi! My husband, Patrick, definitely does not share in my passion and interest in reading food blogs, researching recipes and going grocery shopping. He likes that I make ‘healthier’ versions of his favorite meals but he also likes his occasional junkfood (I do, too!). Because I do all of the cooking, I am the one in charge. I will ask him what he wants for his meal and then I will try to add veggies, substitute whole wheat, reduce sugar, cut back on oil, etc. But most of the time, he just has to eat what I make since I’m the one cooking ;) You have some great tips and it seems like you have a great relationship with Nick! I love that he helps with the cooking and cleaning :)

  21. Great questions and great answers!

    I do most of the planning and pretty much all of the cooking in our house. My hubby does enjoy going to the grocery store and to the Farmers’ Market however. We also often talk about what we want to eat soon again. Since we started juicing, hubby is in charge of making the juice. It’s nice to have him think about what juice to make, etc….

  22. I think the way you and Nick deal with food is great! I doubt many guys are as obsessed with food as we are, but that’s cool.

    Reid (my bf) and I have fairly similar tastes in food, except that I don’t eat meat and he does. He’s never made me feel bad about that though. The main difference is that he is a very peckish eater and literally only eats when he’s hungry. Maybe this will be something I can pick up on, as I am a BIG snacker and tend to eat out of boredom pretty often.

  23. great question and great answer! my boyfriend definitely eats whatever he wants whenever he wants.. and he is fine with that. and he happily eats what i make for him.. and he will cook sometimes. he ALWAYS does the dishes which is great!

  24. this is a great post! I don’t know if I could PAY my boyf to eat half the things I eat. I do have to give him credit though, he is an avid lover of PB&Co products. Hey, it’s a start!

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