**This post may contain affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Read my affiliate disclosure for more info.**
“I want to eat healthy but my husband doesn’t.” It’s a statement that’s been uttered by many a woman, including me! So in this blog post, I’ll share what I’ve learned after 10 years of marriage and how we make it work.
A few months after my husband and I started dating, he told me that he was eating so much healthier since meeting me. I remember looking at him and responding that I was eating so much worse!
And that’s how it’s mostly been during our 10-year marriage, but we’ve finally figured out how I can eat healthy even if he doesn’t. While it would be a million times easier if my husband wanted to join me in eating well, the reality is that he doesn’t.
He’s not a bad husband, and he’s not unsupportive of my goals. It just means that we have to put in more effort so that we both can eat the way we want to.
So if you want to eat healthy when your husband doesn’t, I have some tips that have taken us years to figure out!
Lower Your Expectations
I think our society has an unrealistic expectation of what supporting your spouse means. For some reason, people believe that if their spouses aren’t completely for whatever it is they want to do, then they’re completely against it. Or if their spouse doesn’t join them, then they’re not supportive.
I call bullsh**.
My husband supports my healthy habits, but he doesn’t want to participate. For example, he watches our two kids so I can work out. He doesn’t go to the gym, but he gives me time to work out. (I’ll give specific food-related examples later in this post.)
I used to think that there was something wrong with me (or my cooking) and that’s why he wouldn’t eat healthy with me. But I realize now that this has absolutely NOTHING to do with me. My husband likes what he likes, and he doesn’t feel like he needs to change. I believe that the only way he’ll change his habits is when/if he has a health scare.
I’d love for him to start eating better before that happens, but it has to be his choice. Which leads me to my next tip…
Don’t be a nag
I am my husband’s wife, not his mother. He’s a grown man, and I’m not going to tell him to eat his vegetables.
I used to tell him what he should and shouldn’t eat, and it caused a lot of tension in our marriage. He doesn’t comment on what I eat, so I don’t comment on what he eats. (Well, at least I try not to.) We have bigger issues to deal with than arguing over what the other person eats.
He did stop drinking Coke a few years ago, but he did that all on his own. And probably because I stopped making remarks about how bad it is. Ha!
Don’t shame him or pressure him because it’s not good for your relationship. Trust me.
Compromise means that both of you have to make concessions to make this work. You can’t expect him to give up everything because you want to make a change. You’ll have to figure out where you both can give a little.
If your husband isn’t willing to compromise, well, that’s above my pay grade. If you can’t come to an agreement that works for both of you, you may need a third party to help you work it out.
Explain why you want to eat healthier, and get his thoughts and opinions about it. Ask for his suggestions on how to make it work rather than just telling him what you need him to do. He’ll probably be more supportive if you include him in the plan.
And make sure you keep communicating. If something he does makes your goals really difficult, tell him about it. He may not even realize that it’s a problem for you. Or you may find there’s something that’s tempting for you, but it’s easy enough for him to give up.
I’m not good at communicating, so don’t feel alone if you aren’t, either. We can work on it together!
Adjust As You Go
You might make a plan with your husband but then discover that it doesn’t work for one or both of you. Adjust what you do as you go and make new compromises.
Plus, you may find out that the longer you eat healthier, the easier it is to stick with it. This means that eventually your husband may be able to have more junk food around you because you’re not tempted by it anymore.
Take Responsibility For Your Actions
Unless your husband holds you down and forces pizza into your mouth, you ultimately are the only one who’s responsible for what you eat. Don’t blame him if you slip up because it’ll cause a lot of bad feelings between the two of you. (And don’t beat yourself up, either. Your next meal is a fresh start!)
There are bad food choices everywhere, not just with your husband, and you’ll have to figure out how to navigate them. Birthdays have alcohol, pizza, and cake. Mom’s nights out have margaritas, chips, and queso. Brunches have mimosas, croissants, and pancakes. You can choose not to go, which I don’t recommend, or you can take responsibility for what you eat.
Set Boundaries and Stick With Them
Boundaries are necessary if you want to eat healthy when your husband doesn’t. Here are five specific things you and your husband can do to make it work.
1. He eats unhealthy food when you’re not around.
Don’t make your husband stop eating unhealthy food; just ask him to eat it when you’re not around.
Ryan will go through the drive thru at In-N-Out when I’m not with him, and he’ll eat it before he gets home and then throw the wrappers in our outside trash can. Or he’ll order pizza if I’m not going to be home for dinner. Sometimes we’ll both go to an ice cream shop for an occasional treat rather than keep ice cream in our house.
2. He keeps unhealthy food at home where you don’t see it.
It’s your husband’s house, too, so he’s allowed to have food that he likes. But ask him to keep it somewhere you don’t go so you don’t see it.
My husband keeps his favorite chocolate cereal in a cabinet in the garage, and he’ll eat it in his office. He does it so our kids don’t see it.
3. He buys alcohol You don’t like.
When your husband drinks alcohol at home, have him buy kinds you don’t like. That way you won’t be tempted to drink it.
My husband drinks beer and whiskey at home because I don’t like them. (I like some beer, but not the kinds he buys.) But a gin and tonic is a lot harder for me to pass up, so he rarely makes them at home anymore.
4. make a list of restaurants that work for both of you.
Make a list of restaurants you both like before you’re hungry and trying to figure out where to go. My husband gets really hangry when we can’t agree on a place to eat.
I always say that he’s a picky eater, but he told me once that I’m actually the picky eater. And he’s right. He can find something he wants to eat at many more restaurants than I can. He eats the way a lot of Americans eat, which is why there are so many more eateries for his tastes.
Chipotle is one restaurant that works for both of us. They even have Whole30-approved lifestyle bowls. Or sometimes we’ll pick up takeout from two different places and go eat at the beach.
5. Eat the same main dish at dinner with different sides.
Make the main dish at dinner something that both of you will eat, and then add your own sides.
For example, our dinner usually consists of meat for the main dish, which we all eat, with rice and vegetables for the sides. My husband eats the rice, my kids eat the rice and vegetables, and I eat the vegetables. I also will sometimes make myself a side salad.
My husband also likes to make pasta with meat sauce, but he’ll scoop out a portion of meat sauce for me before adding it to the pasta. Then I’ll eat just the meat with a salad or the veggies we give the kids.
It’s important to us that we eat together as a family, especially for our kids. But I learned that we can still eat together without eating exactly the same thing.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOW to Eat Healthy When Your Husband Doesn’t
Your husband doesn’t have to eat healthy for you to achieve your wellness goals. It makes it easier, for sure, but you CAN do it if you’re both willing to compromise and work together.
What do you think of these tips? Let me know in the comments!
- How To Choose Recipes That You’ll Actually Make
- 5 Simple Meal Planning Tips That’ll Make Your Life Easier
- 7 Ways to Eat Vegetables for Breakfast
- 5 Myths About Organic Food (and the Facts You Should Know)
This blog post explains how to eat healthy when your husband doesn’t.