Marriage Monday: Making “Healthy” Work

by Khushboo on September 17, 2012

 I think we all have at least one person in life who we look up to.  For me it has always been my sister Shyamla.  We’ve spent more years living apart than together, yet she’s still the closest person to me.  Along with eating healthily & fitness, her positive influence has extended into so many other areas of my life.  Although marriage is still a while away for me (contrary to the life plan I drew out when I was a kid ;) ),  I am slowly learning the ropes from my sister. 

Under Le Tour d’Eiffel

For starters, I’ve seen from her that eating healthily becomes even more of a challenge when “2 becomes 1”…it’s not only about you anymore.  That being said, I’ve also seen from her that it is absolutely possible to make it work, even if your hubby isn’t entirely on board with healthy eating.  For a change, I hope you enjoy this guest post from Shyamla on how to get your husband to eat healthier:

If you’re anything like me, eating healthy is a fairly high priority. While my husband certainly wants to eat healthy too, our definition of that sometimes differs.

So what can you do?  Yes, you could nag until you get your way, but that doesn’t really work…nor is it the best option for a happy marriage.  Here are my top five tips to get your spouse to eat healthier:

1) Keep Healthy Items on Hand. However much my husband wants to eat healthy he will never think of cutting some carrots sticks or an apple as a snack.  He’s all about convenience.  Now I always have bags of almonds on the kitchen counter, crudites in the fridge and frozen grapes in the freezer so I can offer it to him before he pops open the bag of crisps.

2) Be Prepared For Him.  Like most men out there my husband only thinks about food when he’s hungry.  On the other hand I’m planning my meals a week in advance.  If I know I am going to be out all day I will carry my lunch and snacks for the day and will always have some emergency snacks in my bag.  I have now learnt to also pack something for the hubby, because 99% of the time if he’s hungry and I have a healthy meal / snack for him he will always pick that over McD’s, as long as he doesn’t have to carry it around.  Hey, what can I say…it’s great practice for when I have kids!

3) Make his favorites.  My husband loves broccoli.  While it’s not a favorite of mine I always make it for him.  He loves berries, apples and mint tea in the evening so I try to always keep them stocked up at home.  Whatever few healthy foods you husband enjoys, make sure to give it to him.

4) Let it be his decision. For months I was trying to convince my husband to try my green smoothie and quinoa salad but failed miserably each time.  Then last week a miracle happened for me!  My husband woke up and ASKED ME to make him a green smoothie for breakfast.  That one glass sold him and now it is his breakfast staple. So, if your guy is anything like mine they’ll need to be the ones to decide they are going to try something healthy and not have it forced down them.

5) Start slow and implement changes over time.  I don’t know about you but I did not grow up eating the way I do now.  It took time to learn to eat ‘healthy’.  Your husband might be the same way.  It will take patience and diligence to help change his taste buds to enjoy healthy alternatives.  Start with small changes like swapping from full-fat to semi-skimmed milk, white to wholewheat bread, and if they are big meat eaters like mine, try introducing one vegetarian meal a week.  For the things he wont be willing to give up, you can leave just as they are (some changes are better than none).

Offer to pack his lunch

Give these few tips a try, and you’ll be surprised how much easier it can be to improve your partner’s eating habits!  It is true what they say: you can’t change the person you married…but that doesn’t stop them from changing themselves.

Thanks, Shyamla…I’m sure I’m not the only one who will benefit from these tips :) .

What are your tips for getting your loved ones to eat healthier, spouse or not? 

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Reena September 17, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Hi K,

I love this blog!!! im getting married in a couple of months… this is ssoooo useful

Thanks a ton

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Khushboo September 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Congratulations on your wedding! Hope planning is going well :D

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Kat September 17, 2012 at 7:44 pm

I wrote a post about this a while back too :) Basically its just all a give or take. My husbands LOVES his sugar, so I would never take that away from him, I just limit it. So instead of doughnuts, poptarts and oreos during the day he gets a bowl of ice cream at night with healthy lunch stuff during the day. I never say no to him when he wants his treats, because hes really good about always eating the healthy stuff I pack or make.

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Khushboo September 18, 2012 at 6:12 pm

That sounds like a great compromise…as long as he’s eating well for the most part, there’s no reason why treats can’t be enjoyed too!

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Alex @ therunwithin September 17, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I love the relationship you two have! So great to see.

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Khushboo September 18, 2012 at 6:12 pm

I’m grateful for our relationship :)

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Allie September 17, 2012 at 8:27 pm

I love this post! Great advice for helping ANYONE eat healthier! If I visit family, I always offer to cook. Then I know it’s a healthy meal I want to eat, and everyone else always enjoys it too, even if they would have cooked or ordered something less healthy on their own.

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Khushboo September 18, 2012 at 6:13 pm

That’s such a good point. Most of the time, people just don’t know how to cook healthy meals..or have it in their mind that healthy food tastes bad! The only way to get around that is to educate them by showing them how it’s done!

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Katy September 18, 2012 at 12:10 am

I totally get ya! My boyfriend is fit and eats a lot of fruits, veggies and protein but he does eat a lot of junk food and fatty foods!! I wish he would make more of an effort to eat healthier or at least eat the bad stuff more in moderation.

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Khushboo September 18, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Luckily he is active…that’s one part of the battle!

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Katy September 18, 2012 at 12:10 am

I totally get ya! My boyfriend is fit and eats a lot of fruits, veggies and protein but he does eat a lot of junk food and fatty foods!! I wish he would make more of an effort to eat healthier or at least eat the bad stuff more in moderation.

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Hansa September 18, 2012 at 12:31 am

Shyamla, It’s really great how you have
encouraged your husband to be more healthy.
Sure he must be feeling pretty good too!!!

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Khushboo September 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm

I agree…she is not just a positive influence on me :)

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Ameena September 18, 2012 at 2:35 am

I can so relate to this … my husband used to be a McDonald’s, Taco Bell addict. And now? Now he tells me that he’s worried about the chickens that are being abused by KFC. I’m so so proud of him! Change can happen…just not overnight. :)

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Khushboo September 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Haha aww :) ! It’s all about baby steps and as long as they’re slowly changing, I’d say you’re successful!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table September 18, 2012 at 4:06 am

I’m so glad I don’t have to worry about anyone’s diet by my own – I don’t envy my friends who try to eat more plant-based when their partners are all meat-and-potato!

Regardless, the biggest key for me is planning. If I have healthy options on hand, I don’t get too hungry and panic eat junk food.

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Khushboo September 18, 2012 at 6:18 pm

For sure… I always carry a lil somethin’ somethin’ in my handbag in case JustIn shows up…Just In case ;) !

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ritika September 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm

thanky, nice tips, my husband-nutrition problems are a little different, he binges even on healthy stuff.. i mean like three handful of almonds in one sitting, he works out quite a bit, so no problems there. but cooking ahead, preparations don’t quite work for me :(

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Khushboo September 18, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Maybe his meals aren’t big enough? Could be worth looking into if he is regularly binging!

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Sonal September 18, 2012 at 4:52 pm

This is so cute, it really is like having a child. :) Sometimes I try to cook the most tasty healthy recipes I know for family members like butternut squash mac n’ cheese (the kinds that are healthy in disguise) and they are none the wiser :)

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Khushboo September 18, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Forget husbands…the sound of butternut squash mac ‘n’ cheese sounds amazing. I need to look into this…!

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Alexis @ Hummusapien September 18, 2012 at 6:35 pm

What an adorable post! I’m not married, but I definitely work hard to encourage him to eat better. I go grocery shopping with him, encouraging him to avoid things like peanut butter with hydrogenated oil and marinades with high fructose corn syrup. He’s discovered that he loves sauteed zucchini and all natural peanut butter , so we’re making progress! It’s a good fit because I encourage him to eat healthy and he encourages me to work out more :)

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Khushboo September 19, 2012 at 11:06 am

You guys sound like a great fit! The idea of eating peanut butter with hydrogenated oils freaks me out…all those added ingredients are so unnecessary!

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Tessa @ Amazing Asset September 19, 2012 at 5:28 am

This is just so wonderful to read… because you two are great together!

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Khushboo September 19, 2012 at 11:09 am

Thanks, Tess :)

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Brittany September 19, 2012 at 7:25 am

I love this!! These tips are perfect. I got really lucky with my boyfriend because he went vegetarian without me asking, and then jumped into going vegan with me!! It was something he wanted to do all on his own!

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Khushboo September 19, 2012 at 11:10 am

Im sure a part of him realised it was important to you, which somewhat influenced his decision…so sweet :)

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Sara @ Nourish and Flourish September 19, 2012 at 11:20 am

I really enjoyed “meeting” your sister through this post! I love that you two are so close; sibling friends really are the best! :)

Even though I’m still searching for prince charming, these tips will certainly be helpful when (if?!) he comes along. Shyamla is certainly right about providing an eating environment (at home and outside the home) by which the husband can make healthy choices on his own. We’re not changing them; rather, we’re helping them change themselves! ;)

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Khushboo September 19, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Not a question if prince charming shows up…he is definitely on his way to you(otherwise its his loss)….yes, I’m clearly a hopeless romantic :) !

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Simply Life September 19, 2012 at 5:06 pm

what a sweet post -I love hearing about your sister!

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Khushboo September 19, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Thank you! I was really glad she agreed to post :)

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Kym September 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Great post and nice to meet you! :D Luckily for me, my husband and I both eat the same way! In fact, in the beginning it was the opposite.. he was the one exercising and making an effort to eat better… while i was on the couch eating a bag of chips. Haha! I’m glad things have changed :)

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Khushboo September 19, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Haha your husband sounds like a great influence on you :) ! That’s quite lucky that you both enjoy the same kinds of food- I bet that makes cooking all the more easier!

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Parita September 20, 2012 at 2:23 am

Love this post! I guess I was lucky in that my husband was open to the idea of healthier eating than he was used to. I think what helped was that I included him in the process and asked for his ideas when brainstorming possible meal ideas.

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Khushboo September 20, 2012 at 10:16 am

That’s a good idea of asking him to contribute to meal planning…it makes it feel more like him choice rather than you forcing meals upon him!

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