More than just you…
A friend of mine recently asked me about how he could be on a strict healthy regimen while being married and having to think about cooking for two. Plain and simple, his wife doesn’t want to diet, but he does! I loved this question because it made me think of my own internal struggle with it and the groove I’m now in and the tiPs I could pass along to help him. When I started my health journey I was single and living in NYC. I had my routine of going to the farmer’s market across the street from my apartment, getting all my healthy items to juice and cook with! It was pretty easy only thinking about myself. When I would go out to dinner or brunch with friends I would ask them if we could go to a vegan restaurant or a place that has a load of healthy options for me to choose from. All of that hasn’t changed too much since I’ve moved in with my now fiancé (Mike) in the suburbs, BUT something has become a little less easy.
This is a two parter – first there is now cooking for two. My biggest piece of advice is to come up with some STAPLE dishes that you both like. Luckily Mike likes what I eat – all sorts of veggie dishes, salmon, sometimes chicken, salads, healthy version desserts & snacks, etc., but he also likes a lot of things I don’t eat like beer & pizza:) I think after a year and a half of living together we have finally found our groove, but this took a while to figure out. This is how we do it and I hope this is helpful for those of you who don’t live alone. We have a few meals that have become staples in our kitchen –
- Baked salmon with sauteed broccoli and/or kale
- Spaghetti squash – I like mine with a little olive oil and sea salt. Mike likes his with tomato sauce & ground turkey.
- Sweet potatoes fries (baked and sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg) is always a good back up plan when craving carbs!
- Our own healthy version of chicken brown fried rice – brown rice, egg, frozen peas & carrots, shredded chicken with olive oil and liquid aminos.
- Homemade soup – mostly in the winter we’ll make a big pot of homemade chicken soup with quinoa/brown rice noodles, butternut squash soup or Peruvian quinoa soup. We’ll also make a stew in the crock pot with lentils or quinoa.
- Salads – I try to vary it up with different greens, shredded carrots, cucumber, chickpeas, (a little cheese for shredded parmesan cheese for Mike) and vinaigrette I whip up with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, salt & pepper.
Now, when I am not home Mike has his own “go to” staples that I can proudly say he doesn’t eat too often anymore.–
- Turkey burger
- Tacos with ground turkey
Ok, so his staples are not as healthy as ours, but we can’t completely deprive ourselves either! I believe very much in the 90/10 diet – eat as healthy as you can 90% of the time and eat whatever you want 10% of the time!
On nights I’m out which is at least 1 or 2 nights per week, Mike will make whatever his heart desires with what’s in the house, usually one of his go to’s (Aka – not my problem;). When I’m home we will make one of our staple dishes. Sometimes we find ourselves sitting together eating two completely separate meals, but hey, as long as we are both happy who cares! I ALWAYS have in the house – veggies, fruit, eggs, chicken, salmon, sweet potatoes, various grains, brown rice/quinoa pasta, veggie/chicken broth, beans and for Mike all of that plus his personal favorites like cheese, etc.
So, all in all, find your groove by finding the foods you both like and together create some STAPLE dishes! Those staple dishes saved us some major stress. Especially since I don’t get home from work until 8pm most nights and I don’t want to have to think about it that late. The plan had to be made ahead of time otherwise we’d be eating at 10pm every night! I just wish I had more time to experiment, but that’s what the weekends are for!
Part two – going out to eat. This is my struggle! In the city it felt so easy, but maybe that was because there are so many organic healthy/vegetarian/vegan places to choose from. I feel like many restaurants cater to the more healthy lifestyle now. In the suburbs it’s tough! We go out often with our friends who meet up at bars/restaurants which are so fun, but hard for me to find something healthy without hidden sugars or healthy enough amount of sides that fill me up. Unfortunately, there are barely any vegetarian/vegan restaurants out here in the burbs. I used to feel eating out was so easy and now I feel opposite. I just try to look at the menu beforehand as much as possible. So going out with friends can be tough if you’re not picking the place or if they have no idea you are even on this journey. I’m learning to just do the best I can and that has got to be enough:)