Does your partner turn their nose up at vegetables, always want to dine out or skip the gym? Sometimes it can be tough making lifestyle changes when you don’t have the support of your partner in crime. There are so many benefits to eating healthy with your significant other including seriously reducing your risk for chronic disease, improved mood and energy levels and living longer healthier lives together! Here are some strategies to change your mindset and habits together. It’s called Couples Nutrition Therapy.
Focus on the benefits. Does your partner complain about trouble sleeping? Pain during activity? Feeling tired or fatigued? Rephrase some of these issues like let’s eat healthier together so we can enjoy our hobbies more and sleep better at night.
Reduce the junk food-frequency. This doesn’t mean banning or restricting. Start by setting goals for cooking more at home or making the effort to find other activities besides just eating out or drinking on the weekends. It’s more about what you do on a regular basis, so if the pantry is full of junk foods, try to keep it out of the house and stick to your grocery list without the excess chips and cookies.
Lead by example. Take on the role of leader and encourager (not the food police or lecturer). Let them know why you chose the food you ate for your meal. For example: “For a snack, I chose a Greek yogurt for protein, probiotics, and calcium to keep me satisfied.”
Teamwork makes the dream work. If you notice your partner often stops for a fast-food lunch, try to pack them a healthy lunch option or snack to help avoid poor choices. If you are meal prepping your foods or packing a lunch, help your teammate out!
Make healthy meals flavorful. Start by trying small healthy alternatives to favorite comfort or takeout meals. I add riced cauliflower to my favorite fried rice recipe so I can get an extra veggie serving without compromising flavor. Check out my favorite date night recipes including shrimp fried rice and weeknight spaghetti zoodles.
Get physical. Start trying new activities to get you to moving. Join a kickball league or start a routine of an evening walk. Instead of sitting on the couch after a meal try something active you both enjoy.
Celebrate success. If you set the goal to cook 4-5 times a week at home, go enjoy yourself and eat out! When you start to feel restricted or burnt out on cooking it can cause you to binge.
Remember it’s what you do the majority of the time to fuel and exercise your body that makes a sustainable change. Work together and start with small changes! Sometimes couples are not always on the same page with their health goals but that doesn’t mean they have to do it alone. Couples nutrition therapy isn’t done overnight, remember to have patience.