How a meat eater and a part-time vegetarian can live together (happily!)

Posted August 28, 2014 in food, healthy eating, relationships, couples, love, healthy living, eat, vegetarian, living together

As I've mentioned before, the BF and I recently moved in together! We've been living together for over six weeks now! It's been such an exciting time. We dated for 4 years (long distance) before getting a place together. Being in the same town (and same house!) has been amazing. We've enjoyed spending weeknight evenings together, working out together, organizing our new place and so much more!

But the one thing we thought might be a challenge was our eating habits. I'm a part-time vegetarian/flexitarian. I don't eat beef or pork ever. I eat vegetarian a few times a week. I generally eat chicken, turkey or fish when eating out or when the BF and I eat together. 

But now we eat together all of the time. 

The BF prepares the majority of the meals. It's been amazing! I usually teach fitness classes four nights a week, so coming home to a meal after working all day and working out is so wonderful. 

He's made some delish meals too! His crock pot chicken tikka masala over brown rice with a side of naan was absolutely amazing! 

He has also sent me to work with salads for lunch and prepares meals for me on days I come home for lunch. I feel like I'm living a life of luxury!

But one night, the BF was out for the evening and I made dinner. We already had some shredded chicken, so I whipped up an olive oil and lemon juice massaged kale salad with cherry tomatoes, sliced almonds, fresh black pepper and feta and some red quinoa. This is a pretty typical meal for me. (I would normally eat it with chickpeas and hemp seeds instead of chicken though.) 

When the BF came into the kitchen he asked what else we were having. And when he sat down to eat he added a lot more seasoning to the salad I made. It hurt my feelings (obviously over reacting!).

The next day, the BF mentioned that he was going to thaw some chicken for the following day's dinner. I sort of looked at him with a look of 'ugh.' We had eaten chicken for every single meal that week (lunch and dinner). 

He admitted that he didn't know what else to cook since I don't eat beef or pork and that he didn't feel comfortable making vegetarian food. I told him that I wouldn't mind if he made burgers or pork chops or whatever. I would just have something else. He expressed concern that I wouldn't be eating enough protein (sort of a hot button with me since I get this a lot). 

The conversation eventually turned into a heated discussion. However, we were able to open up with one another and understand one another better.

So how have we managed to make our different eating preferences work?

  • I made a meal plan. I made a list of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks that would last us about two weeks, and we picked up the groceries needed to make everything on the list. The meal plan included a mix of turkey, chicken, fish and vegetarian dishes.
  • We started going Meatless on Mondays. Since the BF doesn't have a lot of experience making vegetarian dishes and I like to have a few vegetarian days a week, we decided to go veg for Meatless Mondays. The BF whipped up this Spicy Almond Creamed Curry, which he served over quinoa. It's one of my fave recipes!
  • We eat what we like. Sometimes we don't eat the same thing. Most of the time, we eat the same meal. But on occasion the BF will eat his fave mac and cheese with tuna while I eat something I prefer. Or when we make breakfast sandwiches, the BF adds bacon to his. 
  • We experiment together. Both the BF and I like to experiment with food. As I've been taking my Institute for Integrative Nutrition classes, I've been learning about different diets such as the vegan diet and macrobiotics. I'm experimenting with recipes and the BF is always willing to try new things! I've been toying with the idea of going vegan for an entire week!

  • I'm trying to get out of my comfort zone. I'm pretty wimpy when it comes to preparing meat (it totally grosses me out), but for our four year anniversary I bought fresh shrimp and made shrimp stir fry! I've also been trying to come up with meals that I think the BF will like. He loved the Mexican Lasagna that I made.

  • We're embracing the change. The BF has made some delish meals that I wouldn't have thought of making - like his delish stuffed portobello mushrooms. And I introduced him to the amazingness of harissa on avocado toast. The BF also fell in love with banana soft serve "ice cream." It's fun to try new foods and learn that you love something!
  • We're both committed to healthy eating. This makes eating together sooooo much easier. All the meals we eat together are healthy. I feel incredibly grateful that the BF likes to eat quinoa, kale and all the other healthy foods I love. (Ok, not all the healthy foods. He doesn't love goji berries and he's not as obsessed with chia seeds as I am). We always have a vegetable centered meal with protein and grains regardless of who is cooking.
  • I try not to take things personally. Once we talked about everything, I realized I was being a bit sensitive about the whole kale salad thing. It's really not that big of deal if the BF adds seasoning to the meals I prepare. We have different taste preferences - the BF prefers lots of seasoning, while I prefer a lighter flavor on my food.

Do you and your partner have different eating preferences? How do you make mealtime harmonious?

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