“How can I get my husband on board with clean eating?” This is a common question I get from women whose significant others are dead set on staying far away from leafy greens. He may fall under one of these categories: Doesn’t like fresh vegetables… Won’t give up *insert junk food name*… Won’t ever try anything new… Is kind of a turd. I assure you: I was once that husband, (sans turdishness).
For most of my life, I not only “didn’t like vegetables”, I was actively “anti-vegetable”. I almost wore it on my sleeve as a badge of honor that I was a carnivore, or at the least, a Ramen Noodle-ivore. To give my sandwiches that lettuce crunch, I added… Potato chips.
I was only okay eating canned green beans (the squishy cut ones), canned peas (as long as they had extra salt and hadn’t been convicted of any felonies), and canned corn (a grain, not even a vegetable). How would I ever eat salads, broccoli, or (*gasp*) Brussels sprouts?
Here are a few fresh ideas. If they hit home, let me know, and I can go more in-depth in a future post.
1. Trying to force the issue will not work: Serving up a steaming pile of broccoli with the disclaimer “if you don’t like it, you can cook for yourself” will backfire. In this case, not only will he cook for himself, but he will make the most unhealthy convenience food choice possible (Ramen, potato chips, frozen pizza, chocolate-covered MSG, etc).
2. Bacon! Just. Bacon. My wife warmed me up to so many different vegetables by simply slicing up a reasonable amount of (nitrate-free, uncured) bacon and frying it up in the same pan as some steamed (organic) veggies. It added richness and flavor to them that my uncivilized palate could not yet handle without bacon. Fresh whole green beans and Brussels sprouts were two of the first I was able to warm up to, all thanks to this miracle meat. “Bacon covers a multitude of vegetables,” as the Good Book says.
3. Focus on the positive: After your spouse has started to make better choices, focus on the progress, not on the shortfalls. I am the first to admit I don’t eat vegetables with every meal, but I eat them 10x as often as I did before (probably more… and fresh instead of canned). THEREFORE, I cheer myself on how far I’ve come, not how far I have left to go. Instead of casting a sideways glance and a sigh when your husband pops a pizza in the oven once a week, remember when pizza was on the menu three nights a week. What progress!
I could list several other things, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. Most important: BE PATIENT! My wife rarely chided me when I mixed in my former food choices with the real meals she prepared. Before she knew it, I was cooking real food meals we could both enjoy.
Over time, my pantry, fridge, and appetite have evolved. We simply don’t buy junk food any more, because it’s no longer my favorite thing to eat.
…Except tortilla chips. My weakness. OMIGOD. In my defense, I only eat tortilla chips that are grass-fed and humanely butchered.