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Help with a picky eater

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So here's my issue - My husband started this journey with me and has only agreed to eat a select few veggies (broccoli, lettuce, and cucumbers) - to be honest, I think that there are a lot of options that he is missing out on because of this unwillingness to try something new. I want to add more flavorful veggies to our diet, but I don't want to make more than one meal to accommodate what I feel like is someone being stubborn.


It was kind of funny, the first day we started this, he sent me a picture of his salad he had for lunch that was half eaten to prove he did, in fact, eat a vegetable. I know that he's trying to change, and I know that it is and will be slow going, but I feel like I'm missing out on positive experiences that we could have with foods that are healthy, and I want to experiment with.


We've agreed on a few things but it's been kinda difficult when it comes to healthy food. Our definitions of healthy are vastly different, and can cause a clash when it comes to dinner. He's someone who grew up with unhealthy choices in the home (I did too, but mine was interspersed with the occasional healthy food) and it definitely bled over into his adult eating habits. If he could he'd completely live on fried chicken, hamburger helper, pizza, mac and cheese and soda - and never have to look at a vegetable. Which I can't do, because I have always known to add veggies to my diet and honestly feel a slight twinge of guilt each time I actively choose not to add them, but I just never took the time to make it a point to have them at every meal, and it got easier and easier to eat like crap.


It would be nice to be able to hide veggies in the foods that we do eat, but I can't even be seen preparing them for dinner or there'll be an argument over me making him try something he doesn't want to. So, for now, I feel like I'm stuck, and I'm a little worried that all this work that I've put into this will fail because I am going to get frustrated and give up.


TL:DR - If anyone has a way to make veggies not so scary to my picky husband, I'd be grateful.

Mary | crummie85



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Sounds to me like your husband is makng this a stubbornness/personal freedom thing.  In other words, he's expressing his autonomy the same way two-year-olds do: by saying "NO."


No amount of nagging, arguing or pleading is going to budge that mindset.  He has to choose for himself.  If he doesn't wanna eat veggies, you simply cannot make him.  I advise you to stop trying.  Make your own delicious veggies, eat them at every opportunity, and make sure there's enough for him if he wants to try some.  If he doesn't, say nothing.  It's his choice.  If he sees you eating something that looks tasty, sooner or later he may come around to trying it.  But it has to be his decision.  No point in fighting about it.


likewise, he has no business trying to control what you eat.  If he complains when you're just cooking veggies for yourself, and not insisting he eat them?  Then he's invading your autonomy.  You both have the right to eat what you choose.  If only one of you cooks, then you'll have to talk out a compromise (one option is to let the non-cook fix himself a sandwich if he doesn't like the menu).  Neither of you should be attempting to control the other person's diet.  It just leads to strife.

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I'm with Raincloak - he's being stubborn, and you can't make him do it. He's also being a jerk about the veggies you're making. If you're the one making all the food, you should get to choose, within reason, what you make. He should be grateful to you for doing the cooking, not complaining. If you cook something he doesn't like, he knows where the kitchen is. Maybe it's time he learned how to fend for himself.


As for his eating habits: you need to let go of the idea that you can change his behavior. You need to let go of the idea that attempting it is even a good idea. You're not his parent, and he's responsible for his own health. People change when they're ready. Trying to force him before he's ready is just a good way to start a fight and sour the relationship as you become less of his lover/romantic partner and more of his mother/manager. I know it can be hard to watch someone you love making choices that you know are bad for them, but it's his life and you need to work on accepting that he may make unwise choices. If you can't live with his choices, that's another matter - but they're his to make.


The best thing to do is to eat in the healthy way you want to eat, get exercise, and start reaching your fitness goals and looking and feeling good. Don't preach, don't pressure. Just let him watch it work. Maybe that'll be the thing that helps him realize you're right, or maybe it won't, but either way you'll be healthy. 


Good luck! You have my sympathies - this is a frustrating issue. But it's not up to you to save him (and it won't work anyway) so just focus on your goals.

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Agree with Raincloak. This might be one to go into "not my problem" territory. Make the vegetables that you want to make. If you feel guilty about not providing a vegetable he's willing to eat, have lettuce on hand for him. (Since that one takes very little effort to make into a salad it shouldn't be extra cooking for you.) If he tries to argue with you about your zucchini, tell him that the (insert other vegetable here) is intended for you and you have made sure that there's lettuce just for him. He doesn't have to try anything. (Sounds a lot easier than it actually is in practice, I'm sure.)


Also agree with Severine that if he's so picky about what he's willing to eat then he should start cooking for himself, not berating the person who's willing to cook for him. Unless he's got two broken arms or is actually an eagle.

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Your husband sounds a lot like mine when we first got together, especially with his very short list of acceptable veggies. I can only speak for my own experience, but I did as everyone else is suggesting you do - don't pressure, don't go out of your way to cater, and don't let his preferences change yours - and now, several years down the road, he eats pretty much everything. Hell, he cooks it! He didn't change because I made him, either: he changed because he decided to try something new, of his own volition. It started with him sniffing around while I was making stirfry veggies, and surreptitiously tasting them when he thought I wasn't looking. That was when he decided he liked carrots, so long as they were cooked until soft and sweet. He decided he liked onions when he accidentally tasted some in the mushroom-and-onion gravy (he still shoved the mushrooms aside to give to me). Much later, he snuck a bite of fried mushrooms at Buffalo Wild Wings, and now I have to fight him for my share. ;) He started liking raw sweet peppers and cherry tomatoes when he ran out of chips watching football, and decided to give my vegetable snack platter a try (he still maintains he was under the influence when he made that decision :P ) I made Julia Child's recipe for eggplant lasagna and he became intrigued with the near tastelessness of it - next thing I knew, we were on a weeklong experimental menu of grilled eggplant burgers, fried eggplant, and goulash.

The point of me writing all this is just to encourage you that 1. There is hope he will begin making healthy choices that don't lock him in to a boring diet, and 2. It's not your job to bring that hope to fruition. As everyone else has said, just do what you do, and don't make a fuss about it. The tastier you make your vegetables, the more likely he is to sneak a taste - and like it. If you really want to encourage his potential experimentation, make dishes that feature his favorite as the main ingredient, but are accompanied by others (ex: casserole, stirfry, goulash) and that don't lend themselves too easily to being picked apart.

If you just can't help yourself, try taking the vegetables he does like and cooking a small portion in a different way, or with different spices. Make baked parmesan broccoli instead of boiled; use romaine lettuce instead of iceberg on his sandwich; or make a cucumber salad or roll-ups.


In the meantime, don't get discouraged; and especially, don't let it turn into a fight. Remember that you are his wife - you are not his mother, his personal chef, or his doctor. If you are making edible food and he turns up his nose because you cooked the broccoli and the cauliflower together, then he doesn't have to eat it. If he picks out the cauliflower and only eats the broccoli, that is fine too. If he complains, politely remind him that the kitchen is open to both of you to use as you will, and he is free to make food in whatever manner he prefers.

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There is a book called Deceptively delicious by Jessica seinfeld

I'm not sure how much it would really help you but it's worth a look at for some ideas.  I'm with the others about you can't force him, but I understand your frustration.   Maybe you could use a few of these recipes and show him things aren't as bad as he assumes. Don't hide it that you are feeding it to him, but maybe trade him something for giving it a chance, like a backup or something.    Don't argue about it.  Things are a lot less frustrating when you finally come to the realization to just live with it.

My husband is a really picky eater,  usually what he won't eat I love.  But it's the opposite for him.  I don't eat alot of the things he grew up eating.   
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