One question I get asked A LOT is how I get my partner to eat healthy. The simple (and not so simple) answer is that I don't!
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The truth is, he chooses what goes into his body. Yes, I can try to inspire, I can lead by example and educate to the best of my ability but at the end of the day, the choice to eat & live healthfully is his and his alone. I can really only control me and my actions. I believe that a relationship should be a two way street built on communication, respect and compromise. And in saying that, I'm so grateful to have a partner who understands 'why' it's important to me to eat and live this way, who respects my choices and is willing to compromise and follow my lead. With that said, it hasn't always been easy for us. There have been some struggles and yes, even resistance from time to time.
Below I share my top tips for 'encouraging' your partner to eat healthy because I truly don't believe you can force someone into it. I think that only leads to a stressful situation for everyone and definitely not the healthiest approach.
My top suggestions for encouraging your partner to eat healthy:
1. Focus on YOU first:
My number one tip is to make YOU your number one priority. You can't help anyone around you until you help yourself. First, focus on yourself in terms of healthy eating and clean living. It's great to get everyone else on board but the only person you have any real control over is you. So, start there! Even if that means buying two types of milk - cow's milk and non-dairy or two types of pastas - white and brown rice pasta, so be it! Like I said, start with you first.
2. Lead by example/Don't preach:
This one is HUGE and really goes hand in hand with my first tip. Lead by example. It's the only true way to encourage those around you to eat healthier. Preaching, forcing, nagging won't work. It will only create a very stressful, hostile and toxic environment for you both. The best way to inspire and motivate someone else to eat healthier is doing it yourself. The results you experience will do all of the talking for you, whether it be glowing skin, weight loss or increased energy. Those visible changes can't be denied and often, they're great ice breakers that really open up the conversation in a very easy and organic way.
3. Take control:
Take the lead if you're able to. Create the grocery list, do the grocery shopping and if you have the flexibility do the cooking in your household. That is one of the best ways to encourage your partner to eat healthier. Because ultimately, it's YOU who is choosing the quality of food coming into your home and it's YOU who is creating beautiful, healthy and nutritious meals.
The best piece of advice I can offer you is to be patient. Creating new habits and choosing to make healthy eating a lifestyle change is a real process. It's not a linear journey, it has it's ups and downs and takes time to establish. So do yourself and your partner a favour and be realistic, compassionate and patient. They may be willing to eat a healthier type of bread but not ready to give up their fast food lunch. That's ok! Celebrate the small victories and give it time. Remember that small shifts over time lead to big changes.
Share the things you're learning, the documentaries you watch, the articles you read and the people that inspire you on social media. When you understand the why behind what you're eating and the lifestyle changes you're making, it motivates and inspires you to continue making better choices. For example, participating in Meatless Mondays, decreasing sugar in your diet or hopping on the green smoothie train will have a deeper and lasting impact when you understand the health benefits to making these choices.
Don't take it all so seriously and be willing to share a laugh. I promise you this simple gesture will go a long way with your partner and bring you both closer together on this topic.
For example, I know that many of the nutritionist-y things that I LOVE, my partner can't stand! He really doesn't like nutritional yeast, cashew cheese everything, wilted greens coated in a cashew cheese sauce, chickpea flour, chickpea pasta and cacao nibs!
Even as I write this, I have a huge smile on my face thinking back to some of the hilarious conversations we've had over these things. Honestly, I know nutritional yeast is an odd one! It has yeast in the title and it smells like parmesan cheese, ha! I absolutely, don't blame him there. Sure, it sucks for me because those are some of my favourite things to eat but I respect his palate and what he likes/dislikes. Does that mean that I stop eating those things? No! Of course not. I just do my best to keep those ingredients out of the meals we share together.
We have some of our biggest laughs over those little differences between us and talking candidly about it all. Give your partner the space to voice himself and be willing to laugh it off when you can. It keeps things light, stress-free and allows for open communication.
Here are some of Chris's favourite recipes from the blog - you may find these helpful with your partner:
- Double Chocolate Spelt Muffins
- Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes
- Thai Chicken Balls
- Creamy Potato Salad
- T-BLT Sammy
- Pulsed Veggie Salad
- Mushroom & Feta Mini Frittatas
- Vegetarian Taco Salad
- 3 Bean Vegetarian Chili
- Spicy Thai Inspired Noodle Salad