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  • Jen Dunlap

When Your Spouse Doesn't Care About Health Food

My husband came with pretty good food habits. He knew which foods had protein and didn't have a sweet tooth, and he enjoys cooking. But he didn't seem to need to eat fruit and vegetables, and the cost of anything beyond the basics gave him sticker shock.

"Why do you have to eat fruit every day? Don't you think it's in your head, and you could just eat what I eat?" After a while I wondered if it was in my head, and tried a week of eating bagels and cream cheese with eggs for breakfast, mac and cheese or a hotdog for lunch, and some kind of meat and potatoes for dinner. I felt ok, actually, but at the end of the week I had my first cold sore in ten years.

When kids came along they liked fruit and vegetables, and soon we were plowing through a bag of something every day. While he didn't want to see the kids eating crackers instead of apples, he still balked at the expense. I remember shaking in frustration during one of these conversations, and saying I'd be happy to keep working indefinitely so the kids could eat as much fruit as they liked.

That was ten years ago. Since it seemed better to stay married than insist on what we ate, we compromised. He bought ramen, hot dogs, and mac and cheese, and the occasional hamburger helper, and I bought free-range eggs and almond flour. We made Beef Wellington, sushi, Thai soup, gyros, tempura, and whatever else struck our fancy. For lunch, the kids ate fruit, cheese, and salami. For snacks, they ate hummus, fruits and vegetables, and whatever I baked for treats. We bought juice and whole milk but mostly the kids drank water. Breakfast was usually eggs and toast with butter, or the current favorite carb.

A big selling point has been the health of the kids. Most kids will be healthy eating a good (not perfect) diet, and getting lots of sleep and exercise, and ours are. They get sick less than the other kids we know, which is not very much, and they seem to bounce back promptly. The girls have maintained a healthy weight range without significant effort, and the ones who are in puberty are having an easy time.

It was a slow sell, and it required patience which was challenging for me, but I encourage you moms not to give up if your husband doesn't care. Make the healthiest food that he likes, feed the kids the real foods that they like, and give it time.

If you have other ideas for how to get the family on board, please share!


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