How to get your man (or lady) to eat healthier (without sounding like a nag!)
By Amy Crawford
"Hi Amy, I eat really well, but my guy/family/housemate (insert significant other here) just doesn't care. How do I remedy this?!"
I hear this all the time.
A huge part of your own health is influenced by those around you, and for the most part this comes down to what is put on your kitchen table for dinner at night. What does your living situation look like? What food choices do your house mates make? Take stock right now of what is in your fridge. Is it filled with fresh veggies that all house holders enjoy, or perhaps littered with packets of... junk?
In my experience, even if you have the resolve of steel and have the best meaning of intentions, there comes those occasions where you find yourself indulging in sneaky nibbles from the "man food stash" hidden on the top pantry shelf. From little nibbles big things (love handles ;)) grow!
Put some effort into casually "converting" the food choices your house buddies make and you'll all be feeling much better for it. Here's how:
1. Substitute. Easy healthy switch ups.
It's all about making the swaps painless. Trying to infiltrate dinner time with tofu if your counterpart is a meat eating cave man might run you into strife, but how about this...
Cancel the couch potato. If your guy hankers for greasy, vegetable oil cooked potato crisps to accompany cozy movie time, it's pretty easy to plonk a bowl of delicious sweet potato chips in front of him one night.
Recipe inspo: A Crispy Root Vegetable Threesome.
If you have a female housemate, it's more likely that she'll be after the sweeter treats (ever noticed that males crave salty and females like sweet?). Get rid of the cadbury and make some chocolate of your own.
Recipe inspo: Raw Chocolate.
For the young ones amongst us. How many of you have a housemate who makes the questionable choice of diving into the cereal bowl to quench a midnight snack. Imagine the ill effects of consuming sugar laden boxes of coco pops at night. A recipe for bad sleep for them (and you in return) for sure.
Recipe inspo: Tropical Maple Granola or Choc Goji Granola, found in 'A Nourishing Morning'.
2. Preparation. Food prep day can be fun.
If you're living with a male you can pretty much guarantee he's got an appetite brewing ALL the time. If he knows that there is a fridge stocked with food and all pre-prepared no less, he'll be less likely to duck into the servo for a dirty pie on his way home from work. Thus not bringing junk into your healthy home! Win. Chop up some carrot sticks and have a bowl of hummus on hand in the fridge. Wash and cut up all your fruit and veg straight away when you buy them too. The less you have to do when hunger hits the better.
Recipe inspo: A Middle Eastern Inspired Hummus served with Crunchy Raw Crackers.
Event better yet, do it together! Lead by example and get him involved.
3. Presentation. A feast for the eyes.
Men especially are very visual creatures, so here it really comes down to keeping presentation in mind. Make it look pretty on the plate and your man will feel like he's eating like a King, well eating at a nice restaurant at least. If you find you're reducing the quantity of a certain ingredient in meals too - such as cheese in tacos or wraps, simply sprinkle it just on top of the fillings, rather than infiltrating it throughout. It's all about perception.
Speaking of healthy tacos! Your guy will love these, especially if he can help cook the fish on the barbie.
Recipe inspo: Thai Coconut Fish Tacos.
4. Labels. Unstick 'em.
Swanning in the door and announcing one day that you're "going Paleo", or "becoming Vegan" or subscribing to another food methodology is a great way to be met with resistance. It appears that men (in particular) might be a little set in their ways - so just don't give it a label. Know in yourself what you are trying to achieve and make choices at the shops and cook accordingly; but don't try to create a vegan-labelled boyfriend out of a meat eater.
Recipe inspo: A Whole Roast Chicken with Quinoa, Cranberrry & Pistachio Stuffing.
I think it's important to note here that you can't make your housemate DO anything and that what is healthy for their body may not equate to your ideal of health for your own. However, if they understand why it is so important to you and can learn that your idea of health can also mean fun, then you might just be in with a better shot at creating a living environment that is going to benefit you both. Good luck.
*Recently we published an article on how to sneak veggies into delicious foods for kids. You might find this resource helpful too. We're all big kids at heart right?
How have you gone getting your housemate to eat more healthily? Do you feel like a nag or are you making headway? We want to know what works for you!