How to Eat Healthy with your Significant Other
You may have the best intentions of maintain a healthy lifestyle, but when temptations arise in the comfort of your home, it's way harder to do. Our partners are often the center of our support system, this is our strongest asset to feeling supported, however, sometimes the most challenging. We all have our own health goals and so does your partner, this isn’t about making the change for someone else, it’s more about communicating with your partner on how to get on the same page, why, and what it might look like.
Here are a few simple tips for you and your partner to get healthier, together!
1. Keep in mind why you're on this path:
Instead of focusing only on weight management, consider how healthy eating improves quality of life on a day-to-day basis. When you maintain your healthy meal plans it translates into a better mood, don't feel as stressed out, and you feel calmer and more confident when they're at work or in stressful situations. I recognize that compromise is a necessity in these situations. Ideally you and your partner need to find ways to eat similar foods together, but you don't have to eat the same thing or the same amount.
2. Similar ingredients, different dish:
In my own relationship at home compromises are made. We can't always split a meal, so when we cook together, we'll have similar ingredients, but make different things. We must make peace with the fact that we don't have the same needs, or maybe we're not on the same page as far as our goals. For example, on meatless Monday, I always enjoy my plant-based meals (think: Tempeh) while my significant other at times doesn’t enjoy these meals, we always have a backup (non-plant based) for him with the same veggies and same carbohydrate.
3. Focus on quality time:
Don't allow mealtime to be the main course in your relationship. The reality why people spend time together has nothing to do with eating. It has to do with sharing thoughts and spending quality time with people that you care about. Take the focus off food.
4. Squeeze in Veggies:
Try to find ways to squeeze in nutrients whenever you can — especially in your partner’s favorite foods. A favorite smoothie? A favorite salad? A favorite side dish? Get creative with clever extras like a handful of spinach in a smoothie or a sprinkle of fiber rich toppers on a salad.
5. Do It Together:
Communication is key in any relationship, so why would it be any different when it comes to voicing your needs and asking for support or help in new healthy habits you want to establish? If you aren’t feeling support, ask for it and share with your partner your motivation and reasons why you want to make some changes in your lifestyle.
6. Lead by Example:
How can I get my partner to eat a healthy breakfast if I don't? I try to live a healthy life I want us both to enjoy by adopting my own healthy habits. Several studies have shown that influence from friends and family on eating habits has a strong impact on your own health behaviors. Therefore, if I eat healthy and exercise, my partner is much more likely to follow suit. Give yourself, and your loved ones, some patience with the change too. It may take many, many small steps, but the key is to remain balanced with it all so that it’s a sustainable change in everyday life.
Do you struggle with getting your partner excited about healthy eating? Have you discovered any tips for getting on board with each other’s lifestyles and sticking to health goals? Comment below, and be sure to share any creations you make with your significant other on #nutrition_connections
By: Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN