Helping My Husband Change His Eating Habits?

March 21, 2005

May holding large hamburger looking at it suspiciously from the sideI have tried numerous times to get my hubby to give up sodas, change his eating habits. His cholesterol, blood pressue and weight are getting higher. He is on medication but the problem is he doesn't care for chicken, fish, salads.


I have cleaned out the fridge, cabinets once before and started the American Heart diet cooking for him. I don't like to cook and he works from 3-11 at night. I pack his lunch. But he always migrates back to old habits. Does anyone have any ideas on how to get him to change his tastebuds to eat healthy?



By Cheryl from Missouri (Guest Post)
March 22, 20050 found this helpful
Best Answer

Give him an incentive besides good health. My husband also gained alot of weight, has high cholestral even with medication and could care less about his eating habits. I also used the "Go ahead, make me a young, rich widow." line. What made the difference for him was to have a goal. He has always wanted to see Pearl Harbor. I told him if he wanted to go to Hawaii, he would need to get in shape for all the walking we would be doing. We also wanted to bike down the side of a volcano and hike the national park to swim in a waterfall.


In two weeks time he's lost 9 lbs, and 2 inches off his waist. We also go to the gym almost everynight. His mental outlook has completely changed. He's even refused the cakes and treats at the office. He tells them "I've come too far."

Maybe a trip to Hawaii isn't in your future but I'm sure their's something your husband wants that he thought you would never agree to buying. Well, here's your chance to prove to him how serious you are about his health.

Good luck!

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March 22, 20050 found this helpful

My favorite answer to this question is kind of flippant, but it does seem to work. Ask him who his beneficiary is. If he is intent on killing himself, then you must be intent on getting a will made and getting yourself as beneficiary.


It sounds crass, but it does seem to wake most men up to how serious you are about making him take care of himself.

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 364 Posts
March 22, 20050 found this helpful

It takes at least 6 weeks to make a change in habit. Keep trying and make sure he gets flavorful food so he doesn't miss the fat.

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March 22, 20050 found this helpful

I understand your plight completely. I am in very much the same situation; my husband had a stroke, and that hasn't been reason enough for him to change his eating habits. I have realized that trying to force him to change is like beating a dead horse (in fact, those are his very words,) so I have resigned myself to attempting to do things little by little. Since my husband is so resistant to the idea of eating vegetables, I make a salad to have with our dinner every night. He gets some vegetables that way. He likes apples, so I try to get him to eat an apple with his lunch on a regular basis. One thing that really works well is putting fruit in jello. He loves jello, and will always go to the refrigerator to get some of that, so I simply put canned fruit in it every time I make it. Use disguises. If your husband likes cheese sauces, make broccoli with a cheese sauce.


If your husband likes lasagna, make it with spinach. Try to spike his soda with juice, or a slice of lime. Serve orange juice for breakfast. Put fruit on cereal. I put raisins in oatmeal. Make oatmeal cookies. Oatmeal is great for blood pressure and cholesterol. Give him dried fruit to munch on. It's an easy thing to add to his lunch and you don't have to cook it. Instead of regular chips, give him vegetable chips; they are amazingly tasty, albeit quite expensive. Good luck! I have only been married for a few months (for the first time,) and I know how difficult it is to get a stubborn old guy to change his ways! Don't make a big deal about it either! The less you talk about it and the more you do little things in sneaky ways, the more success you will have!

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 104 Feedbacks
March 22, 20050 found this helpful

Not caring for chicken, fish and salads means he can still have lean steaks and vegetables! I have to agree with jaxi3 - this is an adult we are talking about here who has to take responsibility for his own health - but meanwhile you need some practical tips. You change your taste buds by habit - the more low fat meals he gets the more he will come to prefer them. Look at what he eats now and try to work out a low fat substitute - jumping from fast foods to salads is too large a step! lol! Only stock sugar free/diet sodas at home.


First step is to remove anything from the kitchen that is high in saturated fat. Oils and fats on the 'don't use list' would be - prepared foods with coconut oil or palm oil in the ingredients, (these are cheap oils used in deep frying, fast foods, biscuits, cakes, etc), dripping, lard, copha, ghee, solid frying oils and cooking margarine. For cooking substitute olive oil, (preferrably cold pressed), and canola oil.

Spreads - butter, cream cheese - substitute low fat spreads or use moist sandwich fillings and miss out the spreads completely.

Dairy - full cream milk products, cheese, cream, sour cream, yogurt, whole milk, ice cream. Substitute low fat varieties. Don't be fooled by 'light' or 'lite' or 'cholesterol free' claims, or even 'reduced fat' on products. Some of these may still be high in saturated fat. Look for LOW FAT substitutes.


Animal sources - this is the fatty edge on meats and the skin on chicken - just remove prior to use. There is fat in the muscle fibre of the meat but the main problem in our diets is not this source. Processed meats can be very high in fat, (and salt), too so avoid sausage, salami and luncheon meats. This still leaves all lean meat to choose from.

Once you have reduced/got rid of all the high fat products in the kitchen, then start reading labels. Any product you buy should have a total fat of less than 10g per serve.

If you are buying fast food choose the outlets that offer low fat substitutes.

Serve large meals with the plate overflowing, but bulk out the meals with 3 or 4 different vegetables. Cut out greasy sauces and gravies and stop adding to meals - things like sprinkling cheese on top of food, ketchup, bacon bits - all those little extras that up the fat content. Cooking at home in a low fat way is much simpler and quicker than 'normal' cooking - mixing loads of ingredients into recipes! Just boil some potatoes, rice or wholemeal pasta, defrost a selection of vegetables and microwave while you have a steak or chops under the grill. While appearing more expensive it will actually work out cheaper in the long run once you cut out all the extras and the fast foods.

If your DH isn't active try to get him involved in something like bowling, or another activity you know he enjoys. It doesn't have to be vigorous - just moving will help.



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March 26, 20050 found this helpful

True advice from all.

Its an uphill struggle and an huge lifestyle change, but well worth doing.

I cook EVERYTHING from scratch. I make my own tomato sauce for pasta (OUT OF REAL TOMATOES!), & cook meals like pizza from scratch, where possible.....(time wise!)

We find it really hard to exercise, because life is so hectic, but I believe that while we are putting good things into our body we'll be OK!

If I can make it myself, avoid any chemicals, and it still be delicious.....I WILL! (I can even cook crisps by hand for that carb craving!)

Good luck lisa...remember "LITTLE STEPS!!!!"


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By alexis diamond (Guest Post)
April 7, 20050 found this helpful

Lisa -

Hi! I am a casting director for a new Fox docustyle like show about people iiving in the LA area with unhealthy lifestyles. If you live in the LA area, this may be the answer you have been looking for.

To nominate your husband, please email with your story, phone number and a photograph.

We are under a very tight schedule, so the sooner we hear from you the better!


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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 263 Posts
April 9, 20050 found this helpful

Little steps is correct. Husbands are really hard to change, especially when it comes down to their eating habits. My husband, much to my dismay, every time we'd go out to eat, would order chicken fried steak or prime rib. I finally said to him one day, "you're trying to leave this Earth early, aren't you?" I'd read that prime rib is considered "heart attack on a plate". My husband realized that alot of the reduced fat or fat free food items are coming out in green packaging. If he saw me opening something green, he'd declare he wasn't going to eat it. What he didn't know was he was getting them in his lunches & he liked them. His lunch pail would come back empty. I'm not saying switch the packaging by putting reduced fat Ritz crackers in the regular Ritz crackers boxes. If you have to buy cookies or crackers, put the reduced fat cookies in the cookie jar. Chances are he'll never notice the difference. We started using ground turkey meat rather than ground beef. At first it took a lot of getting use to, as the turkey meat is so bland in flavor. Use spices. We've recently started mixing ground turkey sausage with the ground turkey meat & it helps with the flavor tremendously, saving on my other spices. A pal gave me a potato salad recipe where instead of using potatoes, you boil a head of cauliflower, drain it, chop it and use it. Go ahead & prepare as you would potato salad. She said you can't tell it's not potatoes. I've not tried it. Best of Luck on your new venture!

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By Army Wife (Guest Post)
July 13, 20080 found this helpful

Mu Husband is only 35, eats like a HORSE, will not eat any fruits or veggies, eats all our food too. Nothing will change it. I am so sick of it.

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By (Guest Post)
September 26, 20080 found this helpful


If YOU are the one that purchases the groceries and prepares the meals, then only have healthy foods in your home. You may not LIKE to cook but you have to eat, so learn to like cooking, just like you want your husband to learn to eat healthy! If you have to, take a cooking class. Continue to use the AHA guidelines and their cookbook. If you cook NOTHING but healthy and there is nothing but good food in the house, he will get hungry enough to eat it.

I have been married for over 37 years and I started this practice from the beginning of my marriage. You can't force your husband or your children to eat what you prepare but you are in control of what YOU purchase and bring into the home. If you've been feeding him WRONG from the beginning of your marriage, tell him you are sorry for the damage that's been done and let him know that you will not continue to kill him with bad foods.

Teach him what appropriate serving sizes are, if he eats too much of something that you intended to have as leftovers for another meal, let him know that he just finished eating his lunch for tomorrow too. Remind him that overeating is a sin.

If your husband brings home sodas and junk food, throw them out.

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September 26, 20080 found this helpful

It isn't your role to try and change your husband, only he can choose to change himself, and he must first come to his own conclusion that it's necessary and it's what he wants. Almost always, any attempt a wife makes to change her husband comes across, and is perceived by him as "mothering." I assume he's already got (or had) one of those.

You can tell him (and no doubt, already have) how important he is to you, and how much you care about his being here for you and the children for many, many years to come. How his taking good care of himself is a cherished gift you feel he gives to you and them. And then, you can shop and cook as healthily as your budget will allow. You can also, silently and by example, take the kind of care for yourself you desire him to take by eating healthy, and exercising regularly.

In these ways and with words of affirmation, you can encourage him. Especially anytime he does eat healthy, exercise and take good care of himself. The proverbial "honey" will get you a sweeter response, while "vinegar" will just leave a bad taste in his mouth.

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