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Wifey Wednesday: The Food Wars
Wow! This is my 800th post! I guess I write a lot.

And it's only fitting that #800 should fall on Wifey Wednesday, my favourite posts. We talk marriage! I introduce a subject, and then you guys all write your own posts on marriage and link up, so that we can help and strengthen each other.

Sometimes we talk gender differences, or intimacy, or resolving conflict. Today I want to talk about something much more basic and everyday. What do you do when you don't like the same kind of food?

When my husband and I were married this was potentially a huge problem, but thankfully he decided to try new things. He grew up in a meat and potatoes house, where most vegetables were from a can. I grew up eating more exotically--Asian, Mexican, etc. And I liked seafood. He did not.

I wasn't big on potatoes and gravy. I was big on noodle dishes, or something lower fat. I liked veggies. He really hadn't eaten very many other than peas and carrots. So it was a big adjustment.

One of my sisters-in-law found it hard because her husband only wanted unhealthy stuff--chicken wings, chicken fingers, etc. etc. How can you cook a balanced meal that way?

Or what if you've been married for a while, but it's clear for health reasons that your diet has to change, and he isn't in to that? Then what?

So here are a few thoughts from someone who has gone through this (though granted, my husband was open to change):

1. Start small. Don't try to tell him he's a disgusting unhealthy beast right at once. If he's into the chicken wings-chicken fingers-fish sticks thing, then try to find other foods that are also tasty that he'd like. What about homemade meatballs in a really good sauce? Homemade shepherd's pie? Spaghetti? A lot of these can be made healthier simply by using lower-fat meats and not using too much butter or oil.

2. Introduce one new thing every few weeks. Don't overwhelm him. If you want to eat cauliflower, and he's never had cauliflower, serve it along with something he likes. Don't do cauliflower and brussels sprouts and green beans in a medley altogether.

3. If you're really worried about vegetable content, but he isn't open to it, chop up vegetables very small to go into sauces. I have a food chopper that can make carrots miniscule. You still get all the benefits, but you can barely see them in a sauce. You can do the same with onions, mushrooms, or peppers.

4. Switch to lower fat varieties of certain foods. If he's really into cheese, find a tasty lower fat one to buy. Switch to lower-fat milks to cook with. I actually buy skim milk powder to use when I cook. You can't tell the difference when it's cooked in something, but it is healthier, and you can even use extra to fortify the calcium. Then, even if he likes drinking 2% milk, at least you're not cooking with it.

5. Agree that you'll give him one meal a week that he really likes, if, in exchange, he gives you one that you really like. And stress to him that when you cook at home, it's so much cheaper than going out! If he doesn't like the diet, at least he may like what it does to his wallet.

6. Make meals into an experience. Especially when you're newly married, and food may be more of an issue, make it special. Use candlelight. Put music on. Get romantic afterwards (especially before children arrive on the scene). Don't just eat in front of the TV. If children are already on the scene, every so often eat a salad or a snack at 5:30 and then wait for dinner until 8:30 or 9:00 after they've gone to bed.

7. Realize that there are some things he just may never like. My husband still doesn't like seafood, although he will eat salmon when I cook it. He knows it's healthy, and he should have it every now and then, but I don't push it often.

8. Make an effort yourself to like things he does. When I entered our marriage, I know this will sound strange, but I didn't like cheese. I had a milk allergy growing up, and had never eaten it. So I just didn't have a taste for it. My husband, on the other hand, loved it. I learned to cook casseroles and things with cheese on one side and no cheese on the other. Gradually I started putting a little bit on my side, too, and now I can eat SOME cheese (though I still don't like it drenched in melted cheese). When you make the effort, he's more likely to make the effort back.

9. Resist the urge to label his eating habits "stupid", "crazy", "gross", etc. etc. It's just what he likes, and that's because it's familiar to him. Over the years my husband has gotten to the point where he enjoys my meals as much as his mother's (though her gravy really is good). In fact, there's some things he likes better, and he knows that it's healthier to eat like we do. But it takes a while because it's not what your body is used to. So remember you're in it for the long haul! Exercise some give and take, and over time you will see changes.

Now, what about you? Do you have marriage advice, on any subject, that you want to share? Why not copy the picture above, write your own blog post, and then come back here and leave your link in the Mr. Linky? We'd love to hear from you!

Otherwise, just leave a comment about food--or anything else you want to talk about!

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At 8:57 AM , Anonymous Debbie said…

I think these are GREAT tips and I'm so grateful for them! My hubby grew up with very limited menu options and my mom was a from-scratch cook. We've had some serious hits and misses in our food experience - and I appreciate your suggestions (especially chopping veggies tiny - gonna DO that!!!)


At 10:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Neither of us came from a home of healthy eaters, so this is a process we have gone through together. That has most likely helped with concessions being made on both our parts.

We do things like have a great salad topped with boneless buffalo chicken and the ranch dressing on the side or fix a leaner cut of steak with a potato and a big salad. We also try to find healthier ways to fix out favorites by doing things like using whole grain pasta or avoiding foods with bad ingredients. I even found a low fat, no sugar store brand buffalo sauce that tastes just as good as the sauce at the best wings place!

Another trick I love is hiding vegetables in foods. This is more for the kids than my husband, though. Pureed or very finely chopped veggies can be hidden in almost anything! The Sneaky Chef is a great cookbook for ideas in doing this.



At 3:23 PM , Blogger Berji's domain said…

I am going to brag about my husband: he is NOT a selective eater, he loves veggies and salads and eating healthy, is adventurous, willing to try new cuisines and recipes and doesn't mind leftovers!
He likes junk food occasionally, but we are pretty much on the same page. I know I'm blessed. Just had to brag a little :)


At 4:26 PM , Blogger Sheila said…


Brag away! I'm so glad your husband and you get along so well in the "food area".

My husband's great, too, but for me the challenge wasn't just getting him to try certain foods (he was always game, and always was polite), but getting him to LIKE certain foods. He always thanks me after I make something, but sometimes I know he wishes we'd ordered pizza! And that's okay. It's just a challenge to me to find healthy meals that he does enjoy.


At 9:08 PM , Blogger sarahe said…

let me just say that all of you with husbands who try things are lucky! my husband REFUSES to try anything that he thinks he won't like. the only "vegetables" that he will eat are corn & potatoes. he says that he "tolerates" green beans, but in 7 1/2 years together I have never once seen him "tolerate" one. he will not eat things that are mixed together (i.e. casseroles, soups other than tomato), does not like noodles or rice, and will not try any new "ethnic" dishes. (i have gotten him to try chinese...but only sweet & sour & general tsos noodles, no rice). I, on the other hand, am quite a foodie and love trying new things. I adore sushi, mexican food--i will try anything once and usually like it. i basically have to make separate things for us each to eat at night. we have no kids yet but I'm already stressed about that issue. he just refuses to budge. occasionally I will try to get him to eat something that he likes with something that he may not like added to it, but he will very rarely do it (I got him to try a spoonful of french onion soup once...but he only had the broth w/the bread and cheese). i feel like i am dealing with a child sometimes, and what i don't get is, his mother will say stuff about not knowing why he is like that and I just want to scream "Because you didn't make him try new things!!!!" it's so frustrating.


At 9:33 PM , Blogger Nancy said…

I have to say that I am very blessed. My husband is NOT a picky eater and loves to try new things. We have four children, and the rule at our house is that you have to try everything that is on the table. My children have become very good eaters!


At 6:04 PM , Blogger Tracye said…

Sarahe, are you married to MY Hubs??? Because you just described him to a "T."

Except for the part about tolerating green beans. My husband tolerates NOTHING that's green. I can't even cook with dill, which I love sprinkled on chicken.

It's quite frustrating.

What I want to know is this: How in the world am I supposed to make my children eat what's on their plates (and I do!) if Daddy doesn't have to?

Case in point: last night we had tacos, beans and rice. He had ground beef in taco shells. Nothing else.

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Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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