This is the blog post that gets me divorced.
Sorry BT, but people always ask “how do you get your husband to eat all that pretty food you post on Instagram?” and I like to give the people what they want!
I have to admit that this guy has been an absolute trooper in this adventure into healthier eating. I completely changed the food in our house. I make wings out of cauliflower, pizza out of spiralized vegetables, and brownies out of black beans.
He has every right to put up a bit of a fuss, I mean wings out of cauliflower and replacing spaghetti with zucchini noodles?! Nowhere in our wedding vows did we agree to stay together through thick or thin vegetable noodles.
But, he stuck with me through the “great veggie transition of 2015” , and it paid off. He dropped about 30 pounds, during MY weight loss journey.
I am not going to lie, this hasn’t been the easiest transition.
But, here are the 4 things that worked in our house in an attempt to get us all on a healthier path
1. Engage Everyone in Building the Plan
I don’t just dream up a plan and then force it upon the family. Well – sometimes I do that, but I try not to!
Even though I have the pickiest pre schooler on the planet, I still engage her in all things prep and cooking. We talk about food and she will help me look through our recipes and pick what we will eat.
She barely eats any of it, but I am hoping that foods become more familiar and she will one day start eating all the foods I eat. We have noticed improvements in the last year – but it is definitely slow.
I also make an effort to have her involved in grocery shopping and prep. She knows how to spiralize and actually likes to do it. One day she will put one of those noodles in her mouth – I hope.
I have read more than once, that a kid needs to see a food 15-20 times before they might try it or like it. So… I continue on my path of exposure in hopes she will embrace all the different foods.
This strategy goes for the husband as well. I run the plan by him and if he is really against the sweet potato lasagna, I will swap it for something else.
Sneaky wife trick – always present the “worst” food first that you know he will hate – anything after that suggestion looks amazing. Well… well…. Well look who’s child psychology classes are coming in handy now!
Seriously though, when we talk about the plan, there is definitely a lot less resistance during the week. He will make suggestions for what he really wants, and then I can tweak it to make it lighter. That my friends is what I like to call, compromise.
Besides, don’t you have bigger things to disagree about than food!?
2. Do Dinner Buffet Style
I am not saying make 20 things for dinner.
I am saying make a base meal and a few sides (a carb and veggie) and let everyone pick and choose what they prefer. Here is what works in this house:
Meal Plan Meal : Spaghetti and Meat Sauce Night
- Cook whole wheat noodles, zucchini noodles (prepped on Sunday), and meat sauce (from freezer).
- I have ½ zucchini noodles and half whole wheat noodles with sauce, husband does full noodles with sauce, and the small human does whole wheat noodles with just cheese.
Meal Plan Meal : Jerk Chicken Night
- Cook chicken. Cook a carb. Put veggie side together with your pre prepped veggies.
- I have chicken on veggies – steamed or on a salad, husband will usually do veggies too, but will ALWAYS to the carb, and small human usually carb only… sigh
This is probably not the most ideal situation, but it is what works in my house, and might work in yours! I have found that as I keep introducing “weird” things into our menu, they do start to get eaten. Small human didn’t even eat rice 6 months ago, and husband wouldn’t touch asparagus (which he now requests). The more that “weird” foods are seen in the house, the less weird they get, and more receptive your eaters will be.
I am not a professional (except maybe professional eater), so again, this is just anecdotal stories of what works for this mom.
Yea. I do this too. Sometimes I just want them to eat the damn food. So, no, I didn’t put carrots in your spaghetti sauce, and no those maple blondies are not made of chickpeas. Sometimes, I just maybe withhold the entire ingredient list until it is in their mouths. #momtactics. I am not saying I play dirty… I just play to win. Always.
These chickpea brownies even fooled my dad! Have you ever tried to get a sixty-something “meat and potatoes” man to eat chickpeas?! Try it here.
4. Lead by example
In all honesty, what has worked the best is just me continuing down the path I am on and they will slowly follow. Besides, at the end of the day, if they don’t eat it, they will have to cook their own, and well… that is just far too much work for them.
Once I started eating right, and my husband started to see how much energy I had, and how the pounds started to fall off, he happily joined in. Was it instantaneous? No way! But when I started to be excited about healthy food and weight loss, he joined in too.
Transforming the way your family eats will not happen overnight. That is OK. My decision to change my own habits took YEARS of contemplating and excuse making. Keep down your path and be patient.
So, there you have it, how I transitioned my family to healthy meal planning…. and cooking brownies with black beans… ok maybe he is not totally sold… yet.