This week I went what I consider to be a little off track with the shopping.  There is a fair amount of debate in my household over the food we eat.  I like things made from raw ingredients with no added sugar, preservatives and so on, but other members of my household (i.e. my husband) find the food I am making a little bland and much prefers the brands (i.e. processed non-homemade food with all the added c.r.*.p.).
Basically we have completing opposing opinions when it comes to food and in consideration I have been having it all my way recently.  I make all the food and have increasingly gone down a pathway with it that my husband just doesn’t like, agree with or subscribe to.  I thought I was getting away with gradually increasing the healthiness of the food that I was cooking but I really haven’t.
The thing is I have weaned myself off sugar and my tastes have changed – the food I cook tastes just fine to me.  Although my husband eats my healthy dinners and lunches, the rest of the time he eats cakes, biscuits, chocolates, crips and regularly visits McDonalds (when out on work trips)…  I don’t buy any of this food, or even know about it half the time as he buys it when he is at work… The upshot is though that he must notice a massive difference between the sugar, salt and fat laden food he likes to eat and the food I am cooking for him.
Fed up of increasing amount of complaints about my food, I splashed out and bought duck, pancakes and hoisin sauce from the Chinese shop so that we could have crispy duck with pancakes for dinner.  It was full of wheat, loaded with sugar and wrapped in plastic packaging, but it is a meal I have always enjoyed and I couldn’t bring myself to cook it and not eat it. So I joined in. It did taste nice, if very sweet.
My husband was very happy. I’m not so happy about the facts though that I know I will have put weight on, I had to chuck plastic packaging in the bin and it contained all kinds of ingredients I didn’t really want to be eating or for my family to be eating…
In case you are wondering – my husband does read my blog (he even writes articles for it sometimes).  He knows exactly how I feel about sugar and how addictive and bad for health I think it is.  He has no interest in quitting it though because as far as he is concerned he doesn’t need to (he is one of those people that can eat what they like pretty much without putting on weight) and he thinks he just doesn’t like the taste of the alternative – homemade food made entirely from raw ingredients with no added sugar (and rarely added salt)..
From my perspective quitting sugar is about more than just losing weight – it can cause a myriad of health problems and I know that once the addiction has been overcome food does taste nice again.  Eating junk food can have a similar affect on your tastebuds to smoking.  The good news is that once you quit smoking/ eating junk food your taste buds do recover and food does taste good again.
My husband is unlikely to be alone in finding that this type of homemade food doesn’t taste good because almost every processed food available in the shops has added sugar, salt and/ or fat. Even savoury foods like sauces, condiments and bread for example often have added sugar and if not sugar white flour, or some other processed starch which is very quick to convert in our bodies, so although people are told time and time again to eat healthily there are lots of hurdles to overcome to really be able to become a long term healthy eater (how the food tastes just being one of these barriers).
There isn’t a lot I can do to change my husband’s attitude to the food I make, but I am still cooking most of the dinners.  This leaves me in a quandary as to what type of meals to cook in future..  I can either:
a) cook separate meals for him and the rest of the family
b) continue to make food from scratch but add in sugar, salt, fat etc to my husbands portions,
c) badger him constantly to give up sugar completely so that his tastebuds adjust or
d) tell him he can like or lump my meals and keep making meals the way I want to
e) make him cook all his own meals – to be fair he does cook sometimes on the weekends (I’m not so in favour of him cooking all his meals though as we eat with the kids and he wouldn’t be able to do that in the week if he cooked his own meals as he would get home too late..)
f) any other ideas??
What do you reckon I should do?


  1. Anonymous

    It tools us 3-4 weeks to get used to cooking without salt when we started baby led weaning with my elder child. Still salt now but only on plate, not in cooking. Much less salt! Could he be persuaded to have a trial period of 3 weeks?

  2. They reckon that compromise lies at the heart of every good marriage lol! I'm stricter than my husband on food (I put weight on quicker!) but I find that the use of herbs and spices helps. Unfortunately these do come in glass tubes with plastic lids (or cardboard boxes with plastic inside) but maybe you could source them without these (I don't know as I've not tried). As a compromise you could try organic kallo stockcubes in your cooking or leave herbamare on the table to add to the food (this stuff: I know it's in a plastic container but it is full of flavour and a good way to reduce one's salt intake without even noticing it. We've replaced crisps with homemade popcorn, which tastes lovely with herbamare.
    As to reducing sugar – we've not cut out sugar but I don't buy biscuits, cakes, etc. so the family are left with occasional homemade cakes/puddings (at least I know what's in them) or fruit, often with custard (which can be made without sugar). I've just started making homemade soya yoghurt too, which has been a hit, especially when made with pure vanilla extract. It's not sour/sharp like milk yoghurt but has zero added sugar. Honey can be added to taste but the vanilla makes it quite sweet anyway. Don't know if that's any help but best of luck. I have a husband who puts up with all my crazy ideas too 😉

  3. Anonymous

    I cook a separate meal for my hubby at least twice a week as he has a special diet and I have food allergies. It is a faff. I would worry about the example set to the children, although we eat differently we both eat healthily. My main bugbear is paper towel and paper hankies, If I don't buy them I find hubby collects napkins from coffee shops etc. I don't think you can always convert others you just have to live with it, so just cook good food for you and the children and something else for your other half a couple of times a week

  4. A tough situation. I don't think I could get used to cooking without salt.

    I agree with other comments on that homecooked food definitely doesn't have to be bland, but I guess salt can be a big part of that.

    Surely one of the easiest solutions for that though is just to get him to add salt on the plate?

    As for the sugar, I don't think the fact of not putting weight on if you eat it is a very good argument to keep on eating high sugar foods, given that he clearly must know the facts. I am exactly the same as that but feel so much better, healthier, and stronger having cut out all the sugary treats.

  5. Zoe

    I asked my husband what he thought about a 3 week trial anonymous (1) and he wasn't up for that unfortunately. To be fair though I think the problem is less about the lack of salt and more about the lack of sugar

  6. Zoe

    Thanks for your comment Sandy, I do use Kallo organic stock cubes on my husbands food – especially on rice or pasta. I bought loads of them a while ago when they were on special offer in the supermarket (before my no supermarket days). They have sugar in them though so I stopped eating them… I also do add herbs and spices and grow lots of herbs at home, but it just isn't doing the job for my husband…

  7. Zoe

    I think you are right anonymous (no 2.) I should stick with cooking the healthy food for me and my kids and make my husband different food at times…

  8. Zoe

    Hi theFIREstarter you are right my husband could add salt if he wanted, but he doesn't, so that is why I don't think salt is the problem and I think it is mainly the sugar. He really isn't sold on quitting it, so there isn't much I can do about that. I am thinking of trying making my homecooked food as usual and adding sugar and seeing what he thinks about that…

  9. KT Mum

    A 3 weeks trial is difficult during festive period. Maybe in new year? I think you're right though- sugar is much harder than salt to reduce. I don't eat much sugar at home but often turn to sugary snacks as energy boost at work. Even though I know there will be energy crash afterwards. Very hard habit to break.

  10. Zoe

    Thanks for the idea KT Mum, but I don't think he would even consider it in the new year… Sugar is a hard habit to break, but from personal experience I can highly recommend it!

  11. It's tough, if people do not want to change even after they've been given strong evidence to show that their current behaviour is, let's say, "non optimal"… then there is not much you can do about it. The worst thing you can probably do is keep going on about it and making it a constant source of friction. Us blokes can be mighty stubborn sometimes 🙂

    The best thing to do is probably what you are already doing… setting a good example and compromising where possible, in the hope that he will eventually see the light. Good luck!

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