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How to Eat Healthy When Your Partner Doesn't

Cohabitation Conundrum: How to Eat Healthy When Others Don't

You may have the best intentions of sticking to a healthy meal plan, but when temptations arise in the comfort of your home, it's 10 times harder to do. Nutrition and healthy living guru Cynthia Sass MPH, RD, tells us that many of her clients go through this exact scenario, but that there are ways to make sure it doesn't get in the way of a relationship or healthy diet.

Sass's first piece of advice is to "remember why you're on this path." Instead of focusing on sheer weight management, consider how healthy eating improves quality of life on a day-to-day basis. Sass explains that when her clients stick to their healthy meal plans, "it translates into a better mood, they don't feel as stressed out, and they feel more calm and confident when they're at work or in stressful situations." But Sass also recognizes that compromise is a necessity in these situations. "Whether it's your roommate or it's your partner, find ways to eat similar foods together, but you don't have to eat exactly the same thing or the same amount."

  1. Similar ingredients, different dish: Sass says that in her own relationship at home with her husband, compromises are made. "We can't [always] split a meal, so when we cook together we'll have similar ingredients, but make different things. I have to make peace with the fact that we don't have the same needs, or maybe we're not on the same page as far as our goal." For example, on taco night, Sass enjoys a healthy taco salad with avocado and pico de gallo, while her husband goes for a big burrito with all the fixings.
  2. Takeout from two places: If your partner or roommate is going for a loaded pizza, Sass suggests going for Japanese food or something a little healthier. "It's the same price!" she says. "The only difference is you're just two deliveries instead of one." If you're not sure where to start when it comes to a takeout menu, be sure to check out all of our healthy takeout tips for everything from Italian to Indian.
  3. Focus on quality time: Don't allow mealtime to be the main course in your relationship. "A lot of people focus on eating together, but really why people spend time together doesn't have anything to do with eating; it has to do with sharing thoughts and spending quality time with people that you care about. We get programmed from a young age to think that eating is a way of bonding and it can be, but really just spending time with someone is the most important." Take the focus off food and consider a new relationship ritual that's healthier. Who knows? Maybe your old foodie buddy will be your new fit partner in crime.
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