Ask Keri: I’m isolating with my partner who always cooks unhealthy foods! How can I maintain my own healthy-eating habits?
Keri Says: You were meal prepping like a pro, packing nourishing snacks for work, and grabbing healthy fast-casual meals on your lunch break before the pandemic started. Now you’re staying in and probably sharing all your meals with your partner (or roommate, friend, or family member), which means there’s a good chance their eating habits have had an impact on you. You’re trying to maintain your own healthy diet, but bae keeps cooking foods you’re hoping to stay away from.
There’s no doubt it would be easier if you were both following the same healthy-eating plan, but it’s not a deal-breaker for your health, if you don’t. You’re both individuals with unique preferences and goals, so don’t sweat it if you have different eating patterns. That being said, there are a few steps you can take to maintain your own healthy-eating habits and still get along during quarantine.
First, it’s important to let your partner know why it’s important to you to eat healthfully and give them an opportunity to support you in whatever way they can. Maybe they can join you, encourage you to make healthier choices, or help by keeping the not-so-healthy stuff out of your sight. They may not have even been aware how their eating habits affect you. Speaking up also provides an opportunity to set expectations around mealtime and boundaries. For example, you can work on designating an area where your partner keeps the foods that are off limits to you or decide if you’ll be preparing meals together. While they may not want to adhere to the same healthy-eating habits as you, that doesn’t mean they can’t be supportive.
Once you’ve established your healthy-eating goals with your partner, it’s time to find ways you both can enjoy the foods you love together.
- Cook with similar ingredients but make different dishes: There’s no need to forgo quality time cooking together when following different diets (btw, having a diet doesn’t mean you’re on a diet.) Try preparing ingredients that can be enjoyed with different bases. For example, you can add Mexican flavored veggies and beans to greens for a taco salad, while he makes tacos with all the fillings. Another idea: Prepare all the toppings for burgers but you use a veggie burger and lettuce wrap while he opts for a traditional beef burger and bun.
- Use different toppings: Another option is to prepare the same base or main dish and enjoy it with different toppings to suit your needs. Maybe you make pasta and load yours with veggies and a pesto sauce and he tops his with cheese and sausage, or you whip up some waffles and you top yours with fresh fruit while he tops his with maple syrup.
(Featured photo: Shutterstock)