Last night Tim got home, as I was preparing dinner, and declared he didn’t feel well. Here’s how the conversation went:
T: I feel awful.
Me: Really? I’m sorry. What hurts?
T: My stomach. I ate McDonald’s for lunch.
T: I was desperate. This is horrible.
I’m pretty sure I heard a chorus of angels singing as Tim equated feeling terrible with eating McDonald’s. You see, Tim hasn’t always been the eater he is today.
Early in our marriage we attended the wedding of one of his high school friend’s that I’d never met. It was shortly after my mom’s cancer diagnosis and I was a vegetarian at the time. His friend remarked, “Wow, how is it being a vegetarian and having to cook for someone who doesn’t eat vegetables?” I replied that he did eat vegetables, even if there were only a limited few that he liked. Surprised, he answered, “Really? I don’t think I saw him eat one vegetable all through elementary school, middle school, or high school.”
Getting him to the place where he will happily eat all the meals you see on here has taken time and effort. In our early dating days, his pantry was filled with Ramon noodles and Hamburger Helper, and those were the meals he preferred. If Tim can change his eating preferences, any husband can. Check out these tips to help you break your picky-eater husband:
1. Give it time.
Tim and I have been married almost five years now, and he has only gotten to the place where he’ll eat whatever I make him (within reason) in the last year or so. It didn’t happen overnight. I suggest starting with one or two healthier meals a week and working from there. When you find healthy meals that he enjoys, make them often. In time you will find more and more meals that he likes and before you know it all of your meals will be healthy.
2. Make healthy foods taste good.
Get acquainted with your spice cupboard. Become intimate friends, because they are key in making healthy foods taste delicious. Not everyone appreciates the flavors of plain vegetables, but add a decadent sauce and they become more appealing. And yes, decadent sauces can be healthy. If you need some inspiration, a few cookbooks I like that have decadent, yet nutritious recipes include Vegan Yum Yum, Clean Food, and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
3. Pull on his heart strings.
Our kiddos are highly influenced by what we eat. Remind him that he is a role model for your children and what he eats is going to have a direct impact on how they view food. What he eats will influence the food choices they make later in life. Be dramatic. Tell him the health of his children is in his hands!
4. Knowledge is power.
What he doesn’t know can kill him. As I learned more and more about nutrition and its powerful impact on our health, especially long-term, I shared this knowledge with Tim. I made it clear how much I want us to both be healthy and vibrant in our 80s, but that doesn’t happen by luck. Genetics will only get you so far.
Sometimes it takes him hearing it from another source to really sink in. A few months ago Tim came to me after reading an article in his Men’s Health magazine. “Did you know processed meats are bad for you?” Duh. I had been telling him that for years. He doesn’t ask me to buy him lunch meat anymore.
If your husband isn’t listening to you, see if you can get him to hear it from a different source, whether it be a magazine or doctor or trusted website.
Tim was in bed the rest of the night last night, certain the McDonald’s had done him in. I woke up not feeling well either, so it’s unlikely that it actually was the Mickey D’s, but I can’t help but still be grateful that he is in a place where he understands the connection between the food he eats and how he feels. He understands that he once had to regularly pop antacids, but doesn’t now that his eating habits have changed. When he does eat processed junk, he feels poorly and knows why. Your husband can get there, too. Just give it time and don’t give up.
Is your husband a picky eater? Do you have any tips that have helped break him of his picky eating?