A client recently approached me with the following dilemma:
I’m trying to eat a more balanced diet, but my boyfriend haaates vegetables of all kinds. I make the meals in our house because he works later, but since he’s grossed out by anything that isn’t cheese, carbs or meat, I usually just end up eating what he likes because I don’t have the energy to make two different recipes. What can I do?
Cooking for two can be a chore—especially if it’s your goal to eat healthy at home, but your main squeeze couldn’t care less about his/her daily produce intake or gags at the mere mention of kale.
Check out the suggestions below to get your green on, even in the company of confirmed veggie haters.
ADD VEGGIES YOU LIKE TO DISHES THEY LOVE
Is your honey mad about mac n’ cheese? Stir tiny broccoli florets into the next pot you make. Layer your lasagna with a few zucchini slices or chopped spinach. Chop any vegetables you can think of (I’m talkin’ real fine here) and mix them into spaghetti sauce.
If your significant other really can’t handle a vegetable-heavy meal, there’s no need to pressure them into sharing your all-raw salad—start small, until they’re comfortable with minimal amounts of produce, and work your way up.
USE FORMULAS, NOT RECIPES
This isn’t the first time I’ve professed my love for formulas over recipes; while recipes allow cooks of any level to create a spectacular dish, formulas allow you to mix and match ingredients depending on your taste. With formulas, then, both you and your sweetie can enjoy a satisfying meal without sacrifice. Quesadillas, pizza and omelets are all examples of “formula” meals—they each include a shell of some kind (the tortilla, crust or eggs) and leave tons of room for improvisation. You’re free to fill your tortilla/side of the pizza/frying pan with tomatoes, mushrooms, basil and bell peppers, while your other half enjoys bacon topped with bacon, served with a side of bacon on theirs.
And speaking of formulas…
DRINK YOUR PRODUCE
Guys, I could sing the praises of smoothies for days. Basically the garbage disposal of healthy eating, it’s tough to come up with any easier ways to ensure that you get all the produce you need without having to dirty up the stove, oven or a single mixing bowl.
Here’s the best smoothie formula I’ve ever found; adapting it to suit two people’s tastes is dead easy. Simply:
- blend all ingredients as instructed
- pour half of what you’ve made into a glass for your S.O.
- return half-full blender to base, and add as many handfuls of greens as you prefer
- blend again, and drink.
BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR NEED FOR SUPPORT + GRATEFUL FOR THEIR ACCEPTANCE
Making a lifestyle change is a dramatic shift—both for you and for the one you love. If you haven’t been vocal about how seriously you’re taking this new way of eating, your partner may not understand what a huge role their support plays in the transition.
It’s also important to approach the situation with a “lead by example” mindset; debating whose diet is “better” or making them feel guilty about what they eat won’t bring you together or inspire them to change their own habits. Your happiness and newfound vibrance will do that.
This post originally appeared on Eat Well. Party Hard.
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