Informational Articles

4 Ways To Eat Clean When Your Partner Is A Junk Food Addict

Eat Clean When Your Partner Loves Junk Food

MARYGRACE TAYLOR

Back when you and your partner first met, you thought his laissez-fire attitude about food was fun. He orders nachos without a shred of guilt! He’s up for going to the diner for a slice of pie at midnight! To a clean eater, it all seems weirdly freeing and adventurous for a while. Until the honeymoon period is over, and you realize that your better half’s burger-and-fry loving ways are making it way harder for you to stick to clean eating.

So, is there anything you can do to keep your healthy habits in check—and maybe even nudge your partner to making slightly cleaner choices without starting a fight? Absolutely. Give these tips a try.

When he wants to have pizza or burgers for dinner—every single night…

Pizza for dinner every night

PHOTOGRAPH BY IMAGE SOURCE RF/CHAD SPRINGER/GETTY IMAGES

Your partner might never be the kind of person who’s going to crave broccoli and brown rice for dinner. So meet him halfway. “If he wants to eat something that’s typically decadent, see it as an opportunity to show him how you can make the dish in a healthy, but in a completely delicious way,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, author of Eating in Color. For instance? Instead of ordering pizza, make it at home with whole-wheat crust and top it with sauce, loads of veggies, and a bit of cheese. Or make grilled fish tacos instead of pork carnitas.

Another option: next time your partner insists on meatball subs or mac and cheese for dinner, let yourself indulge—but find ways to keep your portions smaller without going hungry. “Increase the fruits, vegetables, and liquid [in your meal] so you get larger portions,” says Ellen Albertson, PhD, RDN, author of The Diabetic and The Dietitian. For instance, fill half your plate with salad, add broccoli florets to your mac and cheese, or have a cup of broth-based soup before the junky stuff.

When she’s constantly bringing junky snacks in the house…
Rather than focus just on how the stuff is bad healthwise, be up front with your feelings. Your partner might not get how tempting or distracting it can actually be for you to have a gallon of ice cream or a giant bag of chips in the house. So tell her! “In a calm and patient way, talk to your partner about how it makes you feel—stressed!—to have all those foods around you,” Largeman-Roth says.

When she sees things from your point of view, she’ll probably want to do what she can to avoid making you upset. “Hopefully, she’ll either stop buying the food, or she’ll eat them when you’re not around,” says Largeman-Roth.

When you’re legitimately concerned, or just plain grossed out by whatever he’s eating…

Concerned about eating junk food

PHOTOGRAPH BY LAYLA DARTRY / EYEEM/GETTY IMAGES

So your dearly beloved decided to order a slab of deep-fried meat loaf with cheesy fries for dinner. And naturally, you’re cringing on the inside. But it’s in everyone’s best interest for you to keep those feelings of disgust to yourself. “You have to have mutual respect for each other. If you treat your partner like he’s a slob and he treats you like a crazy health nut, it’s never going to work,” says Largeman-Roth.

So try to hold back on the judgment. Instead of starting a fight in the middle of your meal, wait until later on to have a conversation. And then? Be honest. State the facts about why his order was objectively bad for his health (in this case, loads of unhealthy fat and refined carbs). Then explain the real reason why it bothers you. “Express that you’re doing this out of love, because you want the person to be around long-term,” Albertson says.

And if all else fails…
Remember that the power to push healthier choices is probably in your hands. “Women do the majority of food prep and cooking, and you actually have a lot more control over what you bring into the house and what you serve,” Albertson says. In other words, if the only thing in the kitchen to snack on is fresh fruit, that’s what everyone is going to eat.

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