Getting a Spouse on Board to Clean Eating

This has come up a few times now.  So, I thought I would write a post about getting a reluctant spouse to change their eating habits.  Sometimes, they can be worse than the kids!  I am fortunate enough to have an amazing husband who has been on board since day one.  His high cholesterol and scary family history was enough for him to change his ways.  His cholesterol dropped over 76 points in 4 months of eating clean with no meds!


1.  Don’t change everything at once.  That can sound overwhelming.  Instead, try baby steps to make the change a little smoother.  Maybe you can change one thing a week.  My first thing I changed was, I stopped buying packaged granola bars.  I just started making my own.  After that, it was processed sugars.

2.  You can use healthier processed foods as a stepping stone.  Maybe you can stop buying Kellogg’s cereals and start buying Nature’s Path Organic.

3.  Educate your spouse by suggesting books to read like In Defense of Food, or even movies like Food Inc to watch.  That movie is an eye opener for so many.

4.  Hide healthy foods in normally not so healthy ones.  You can sub out white flour in recipes with white whole wheat flour and maybe move on to spelt flour.  Or make a homemade spaghetti sauce that had ground up veggies inside.

5.  Let your spouse have a say in the shopping.  Perhaps if they have a choice to pick out some healthy things, it may not feel like as much of a power war.

6.  If you have young children, maybe you can explain that you want to set a better example for them.  I can tell you that is the number one reason why we are on a journey to clean eating.

If anyone has any other suggestions or maybe something that worked for your family, please feel free to add in the comment section of this post.


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13 thoughts to “Getting a Spouse on Board to Clean Eating”

  1. Not my spouse, but my 69 year old mother (who lives with me, and acts more like an overdramatic husband sometimes! hahaha) ... the first step was to start cooking meals, laying them out on a plate, and serving them restaurant style (no more family style, all you can eat in my house). Gradually more of the plate was taken over by vegetable, the dessert course went from fruit with something sweet to just fruit and yogurt, or no dessert at all ... salad was added, dressing changed from ranch to a light vinagrette or yogurt and salsa. What I noticed most is that most people will not complain about food if they are given a nice meal with neat presentation. Much the same as children will eat things more readily when you cut them into shapes. In the past year my mother has lost 45 lbs, and puts together her own salads for lunch : )
  2. Thank you for answering my question! My partner has come SO far.... before he met me, I don't think a vegetable or whole grain had ever passed his lips. I hate feeling like I'm continuing to harp on the things he's NOT doing right when getting him to voluntarily eat veggies was such a big thing for him (especially how he realized that most aren't that bad and he actually likes some!) We've cut way back on processed foods and are choosing ones that have fewer ingredients we can't pronounce. Really, I'm just not sure what to do about the sugar. I want to ban it from the house, but if it's not in the house, then he'll just go buy it when he's out. At least if he's eating it in my homemade whole-grain baked goods, he's not getting HFCS or all of the other garbage that's in prepackaged sweets. And he'll still do things like go out to buy milk and come back with a box of poptarts and TWO bottles of chemical-laden salad dressing that contains multiple forms of sweeteners. What to do -- we can't always go shopping together due to my work schedule. Maybe I am expecting too much? I like the baby-steps approach; maybe I am just trying to push too hard. It's hard not to do that given all the health problems that run in his family.
    1. That is a tough situation to be in. I would try to praise him when he does try hard and just take baby steps. Sugar is a tough thing to kick. It's like a drug, making you want more and more. It may take time for him to come around. It sounds like you have been doing a good job getting him started down the road to eating healthier. Keep taking it slow. It can take a lot of time and patience.
      1. I am so dedicated to whole foods... I eat vegan whole foods exclusively unless I'm out at a restaurant, I cook wonderful meals, I try new things, yet my partner is so dedicated to his appalling eating habits I just don't know what to do. I cried after I showed him Forks Over Knives because he remained unaffected and in complete disregard of his health... Just this weekend with all this wonderful food in our house that I cook every day he managed to eat fast food twice in one day (Large meals with an extra burger and a chocolate bar for lunch and dinner, and then another icecream later that night). I just don't even know what to do. He's even cooked me wholefoods from recipes I've picked out, I've praised and thanked him for it and he went out and got himself McDonald's instead of eating some himself. Has anyone else been in my position and come out the other side? I'm so worried for his health :(
        1. And I have to say I am absolutely loving your website, so glad there is a resource like this! Thank you for being such an inspiring example!
  3. Be subtle. Serve without announcements. Don't make it sound like a big deal. If he ask where something is, tell him we arr trying this healthier version. Ease into it. That has worked for me. Our children are grown so can't use them. 100 days of real food website has been a huge help.
  4. I have started with changes that he might not notice like cooking dried beans instead of buying cans or making tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes. the rest I just dont push. he still insists on store granola bars but I'm not his mommy so I'm not going to forbid it. I do make homemade treats for the kids and tell them the granola bars are just for daddy. I secretly get excited when the kids eat something processed like spaghettios, and say its gross. Also prayer... has worked in very specific ways with our family's whole food journey.
  5. When we found out I was pregnant with our daughter was when we first started making changes. Even then though my husband was still stuck in his ways - meat, potatoes, gravy, milk. Once we had her, and she started eating more solids and becoming more curious about foods, we really upped the anty on our no gmo all organic life. I realized while gardening with her last summer, that she LOVED eating raw fruits and veggies- and prefered it. Since she was so adamant about it, I started putting more raw fruits and veggies on our plates at meals, if we werent eating the same things as her, she would wonder why and protest.... now we've changed our whole diet to organic, with mostly raw fruits and veggies and little no processed anything. Since we've switched our meats over to organic as well, now she's eating meats!! It's amazing how young children know the difference between whats REAL food vs what's processed. None of us have had a need to go to the doctor since we changed our eating habits. We're healthier, happier, and advocating the same amongst family and friends so that they can experience it too.
    1. That is wonderful! My almost two year old will eat almost anything. My older daughter loves raw fruits and veggies, but cooked ones are another story. I hope in time she will learn to love those as well.
  6. Wow your story is same as mine, only mine is unsuccessful. I tried and tried and tried to make my husband do something but it seems like I am talking to the wall. He also has scary sugar history with this family, also he has some raised sugar, but my explainings and facts seem meaningless to him. Please help, what should I do to convince him? :)

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