Couple qui cuisine ensemble

Eating habits as a couple: obstacles without hunger

06 March 2023

“Humans attach a lot of emotion and a lot of their identity to food” Abby Langer , food and nutrition expert.

Your eating habits are a part of your identity. When you are in a relationship, your partner's eating habits necessarily become a part of your life, especially when you live together. When your habits diverge from those of your partner, some friction can arise.

While it might seem like your relationship is doomed because you can't agree on what you're going to have for dinner, experts insist there's everything to is a way to find solutions and be happy together, even if you don't follow the same diet. However, there are several tips to ensure that meals remain a time of sharing and not of conflict.

Eat your fill

Consume portions adapted to your hunger. Numerous studies show that heterosexual women tend to adopt portions similar to those of their partner and do not respect their satiation. Indeed, women, when they become involved in a relationship, tend to gain weight, in particular because they eat more like men. The best solution is simply to recognize that you need fewer calories and adjust your portions accordingly.

Don't force changes

Being supportive is one thing, and changing your diet to adapt to that of your partner is another. Don't feel like you have to change your diet for someone else. Helping to prepare a low-carb dinner for your partner who is on keto doesn't mean you should feel pressure to eat keto too. So you can try to compromise in order to support your partner in their eating decisions, but you don't have to completely change yours.

Bond over food that interests you both

Go shopping together and ask your partner for their opinion on what he or she would like to eat during the week. Keep in mind that the diet does not have to be the same for both. You can still bond over food in a way that satisfies both of your cravings. Without eating two completely different meals, you can diversify certain foods into meals that suit you more. So, if your partner wants to eat pizza for dinner, you can, for example, take 1 piece and accompany it with roasted vegetables or salad to satisfy your preferences. Even if you don't have the same way of eating, you can still find ways to enjoy and bond with food.

Try cooking together a few times during the week

“Cooking is a very underrated way to connect with someone you're dating,” says Brown, a registered dietitian at Foodtrainers . If you are able, find recipes that will satisfy both of your restrictions. This is a really fun way to bond beyond eating out. Cooking together is the romantic part! Try to find ways to prepare meals together. If your partner is open to the idea, choose a day of the week when you both cook something you love.

Whether it's researching recipes together, choosing ingredients at the grocery store, or playing in the kitchen with flavors and seasonings, cooking together is a bonding experience that doesn't just focus on the end result food, but which is interested in the entire manufacturing process.

If it is not possible for you to cook together for whatever reasons, you can take turns preparing meals. This way, you're guaranteed to have a meal you love at least half the week, and the other half you'll try something new with your spouse!

Check out our recipe section for some ideas!

Show your support

Maybe you've been together for years and still can't get your head around their eating habits. That doesn't mean you can't support them in the life choices they've made for themselves. “There are so many ways to support them without adopting the diet yourself,” says Langer.

You should also be open to trying new things when dating someone new. This is how you get to know a person and their food preferences. Even with a partner you've been with for a long time, if they've suddenly changed their diet, keep an open mind about what they're doing and why. Your relationship will likely be strengthened.

Additionally, a study by the International Association for Relationship Research demonstrated that couples of mixed weight reported a greater number of conflicts, both overall and on a daily basis, compared to couples of equal weight . However, overall conflict was reduced by perceived partner support. These results suggest that couples of mixed weight may experience more conflict than couples of equal weight, but that perceived partner support may moderate this conflict.

Do not judge

Along the same lines, it is important not to judge your partner for their food choices. Autonomy within a relationship is important, and this also applies to autonomy in food. If your partner is not interested in changing his diet, you should respect him. Pressuring or shaming your partner into eating a healthy diet, for example, is not a positive long-term approach. You love this person for who they are, not for what they eat!!

Lean on the community

Partner is not interested or ready to make changes Let's talk about all the other people you have in your life who are. Think about your work colleagues, family, friends or people in your neighborhood with whom you can cook. You can share the goals you have set with your interviewer and talk about the concrete steps you are taking to achieve them. It will be much more encouraging if you have someone by your side who has a similar level of motivation to yours! You will be able to share your experiences, your accomplishments and the difficulties you experience!!

Ultimately, there are several solutions that can help you find common ground when you don't have the same eating habits. The important thing is to communicate well and find solutions that suit your relationship. Sit down together and discuss your needs openly and honestly to avoid any problems at mealtime!!

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Source used for writing this article:

Burke, T et al. (2012). “Are you going to eat that ?” Relationship processes and conflict among mixed-weight couples. International Association for Relationship Research. .

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