While your dinner plate is filled with fresh vegetables, your husband prefers his meals processed. Differences in eating habits can cause friction between spouses and leave one concerned about the health of the other. Though you may not be able to control how your husband handles meals, there are strategies you can take to influence how he eats.
Live by Example
No matter how many times you ask your husband to choose fresh fruit for a snack, he goes for the chips instead. Just as you play a role model for your children, the way you eat can also have an influence on your husband, according to the American Psychological Association. Ensuring that you also eat healthy foods may encourage your partner to do the same. Preparing meals at home, and preparing any food your husband takes to work, may increase the odds that he will develop healthier eating habits. Foods that are ready-to-eat may be more appealing, so keeping healthy snacks that are ready to go may increase the odds that your husband will eat them instead of something unhealthy.
Eating healthier may make your husband fearful that he has to give up his favorites. Instead, you can work together to make your favorite recipes healthier. Switching dairy ingredients to low-fat or non-fat versions, and baking and grilling instead of frying, can spare calories and preserve flavor, according to the "Let's Move" campaign. Meal preparation can become a bonding activity for you and your husband as you try out new dishes together. Making one small change at a time - like replacing a side of mashed potatoes with green beans - may also help your husband adjust to healthier eating habits.
The reasons that your husband eats unhealthy food may be numerous: maybe he likes the flavor, or maybe eating is a way to cope with emotional stress, according to licensed psychologist Suzanne Phillips, writing for the PBS web site. If food is commonly used as a reward in your family, rewarding yourselves with active dates or mini vacations instead could be beneficial.
If encouraging your husband to eat healthier proves difficult, a psychologist or other mental health professional may be able to help, according to the American Psychological Association. Experts working in nutrition, like dietitians or nutritionists, may also help your husband make healthier adjustments to his diet. Change can also take a long time, and providing positive encouragement can be helpful as he undergoes the transition.