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How unreasonable am I being? DH/cooking related

(20 Posts)
MardAsSnails Thu 21-Jul-16 05:26:58

I know I am being slightly unreasonable, and rather pig headed about this but some opinion on just how unreasonable would be great.

Both DH and I work long hours. Usually 6 day weeks, 12 hour days. We have a cleaner, so no uneven division of labour regarding housework.

We are both overweight - him more than me though.

I do all the cooking. This doesn't mean I cook every night. If I can't be arsed, we'll go out or get a takeaway. Sometimes he'll cook something from his repertoire of hot dogs, potato waffles and eggs, a ready cooked roast chicken and a pot of m&s frozen mash, or jacket potato with cheese. I don't mind this. I like cooking.

Due to differences in commute, If we both leave on time I get home 30 mins before him. This is the time for food prep, and I'm usually a good 50s housewife and have his tea at least almost ready when he gets through the door. Not to be a good wife, but because I've often skipped lunch and am bloody starving.

He's asked me to start cooking healthier meals at night and I've pretty much refused. I know that's a bit unreasonable, especially as I need to lose some too.

I have reasons though.

1. The food I make isn't hugely bad - it's portions that are the killer. He'll always go for second helpings, even if that means there isn't enough leftovers to freeze for really manic days at work (which is why there is always spare). If he didn't do this, it'd save approx a third of the calorie intake

2. If he cut down on booze, it would help.

3. His view of 'healthy' is chicken or fish with shitloads of veg. But he will only eat broccoli, asparagus, or buttered leeks. Oh and baby spinach. I'm actually allergic to fish, even to the touch, so he'd have to make this himself. He does have the ability to put a piece of fish in some foil, season, and bake. But then I'd still be having to make my own tea, or just having chicken every night which we'd both get bored of very quickly

4. When I ask what he got for lunch, the answer is always Burger King, kfc, or similar. Even if they go to nandos which is at least a bit easier to make a reasonably healthy choice, he'll have a large wedges and refillable fat coke and drink gallons of it. He won't take lunch as he's not long since started a new job and is getting friendly with a group of blokes over lunch every day. I understand that, but he could choose a subway salad or something, with no large fat coke and multiple cookies.

5. Because of unpredictability of our working hours, proper meal planning is awkward and often leads to waste, unless this is planned around ready prepared/frozen homemade meals. If not, we end up with loads of waste when one or other or both of us get home at 11pm. Therefore tea is usually what I pick up from the supermarket on the way home, when I know how long I have to cook and what time to expect him home.

Healthy cooking for me would involve research into low fat or low cal or high protein or whatever, trying to make sure it's things I'm not allergic to, learning new recipes, and generally being more organised than thinking about it in the drive home from work. I know that's not much hassle, but it's my hassle, when he's still eating shite at lunch.

I tried a couple of years back to get him to give me a bunch of healthy meal recipes so he did the research, he did the shopping and donkey work, and I just cooked. Many of them ended up in 2 hour cooking time or huge prep that wasn't appropriate for our short evenings. He also didn't grasp the concept of twiddling a recipe to make it what you want - the merest mention of carrots and he'd dismiss the recipe, rather than thinking 'are they essential? Can I use something else, or just leave them out'

I've said that if he starts being sensible at lunchtime and eating healthier then, then no problem. Along with some help with ideas and prep and minimal 'bah don't fancy that, shall we go out instead' when I tell him what's for tea. Again, no point eating healthy 3 nights a week and having pub tea the other 4.

So, after that epic rant, am I unreasonable? How much so?

Hrafnkel Thu 21-Jul-16 05:36:56

Yanbu. It would irk me to be told to cook healthier when he's been eating junk and lots of it already that day.

Joe Wicks: Lean in 15. I'm sure your DH can manage to cook some recipes out of this book smile

YANBU. If he wants different food he can cook different food.

Having said that, if YOU want healthier options then all the books suggest it is the preparation that counts - an hour on a Sunday afternoon making salads for lunch (so that you don't skip it!) and prepping veg would make the rest of the week easier. He could do that.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Thu 21-Jul-16 05:52:50

YANBU At All. He's basically trying to put the responsibility of his weight loss onto you, and that's a stupid thing to do.

What he needs to do is sort his lunches out first, then dinner won't matter so much!

As far as what you could do - make less. I totally get your concept of making extra to freeze, but since that's never happening anyway because he eats it, then just don't make extra. Just make enough.

As far as pre-preparing veg in advance, be aware that this does reduce the nutritional quality of the veg. Water soluble vitamins and enzymes are lost when fruit and veg are prepared too far in advance of eating, and this isn't necessarily a good idea. Having said that, if you are desperately short of time then frozen veg are the way to go because they're frozen fast, before the nutritional losses are too great.

So no, don't take this onto yourself - tell him to sort himself out first!

UsedToBeAPaxmanFan Thu 21-Jul-16 05:55:01

Yanbu. There are loads of healthy low-fat recipes which only take 30 minutes to cook, so the time factor shouldn't be an issue, but there is no point in doing this if your dh is not making an effort in other ways.

I think it's a very good idea to get him to do the meal planning, but insist he restricts it to recipes which take 30 minutes or less. There are loads of recipes on the net and a quick Google ought to give him lots of ideas.

I work ful time and do all the cooking. I've recently lost two stone and thats partly through healthy, low fat evening meals (plus salad for lunch and lots of evenings in the gym. I never cook for more than 30 minutes in the evening, and that often includes making an alternative meal for my stick-thin dh and the dc.

Blacksheep78 Thu 21-Jul-16 06:01:13


We also had a problem with portion control, so when I dished up, I put the "extra for another day" portions straight into their tupperware (sorry, yes, I said the T word) and into the freezer before I put the meal on the table.

This method helped me, but he is still eating crap for lunch.

Ifailed Thu 21-Jul-16 06:15:48

he sounds hard work, but agree you may get somewhere if you both sit down and meal-plan for the coming week. why not plan to try out a new recipe, something simple that either can cook, 1 day out of 5?
As to his midday feasting, can he not take sandwiches? He can make them the evening before and put them in the fridge.

Noodledoodledoo Thu 21-Jul-16 06:23:49

I was going to suggest Blacksheeps trike as well. Serve up for 4 buy portioning up the extra for the freezer at the same time. I do it, else a meal for 4 ends up as 3 portions and we eat too much!

Judester24 Thu 21-Jul-16 06:50:43

You must agree that healthier eating is needed by both of you here. Why don't the both of you together start spending 10 minutes of your evening making lunches for the following day? This would mean you don't go hungry and he doesn't end up in kfc or whatever!
As for the request for healthier meals, what exactly is it that you're cooking now that is unhealthy, and could it be tweaked a bit to make it healthier? Just having a larger serving of salad or veg on the plate can help fill him up a bit.
A jacket potato instead of chips, and brown rice and pasta instead of white,
cooking in minimal fat, not adding butter to veg etc are all small changes that could make a difference.
Also why not look into making a few vegetarian dishes, it hasn't all got to be chicken!

Middleoftheroad Thu 21-Jul-16 06:53:54

OP is buying in some pre prepared portion controlled/calorie counted food (or other nice food you like too) an option? Even if you bought a few of the lower cal ready meals from say M&S for example? I wouldnt want to do prep after that day, nor be asked to do so, so if you get a cleaner then get help with the food if you can too. Though make sure this is a dual thing and yr dh shares this.

Ive had a bit of a weight gain from being stressed at work eating easy food etc. But please make sure you look after yourself by not skipping lunch etc.

MardAsSnails Thu 21-Jul-16 07:54:48

Thanks all. I know we need to do something about it but it's good to hear the most don't think I'm just being an arse for saying no. If he would make the effort when he's on his own, I will make the effort to help him. I'm not doing it for him.

His main concern over taking lunch is that he's 6 months into a new job. There's a group of 8 of them, similar age, who go out and get lunch daily. With the hassle of the stressful job and long days, this is when he's getting to know people. We're expats, and most of our longstanding friends are moving away for good this summer, so he's not wanting to lose these opportunities to actually make some friends. I'm going to suggest at least 2-3 days a week he takes something (which may get him away from the office earlier at night rather than taking a full lunch hour), and he can still join in with them on the other days. Even that would be a big improvement for him lunch-wise.

middle unfortunately our m&s food range is minimal - it's all side dishes and fish ready meals which obviously I can't eat. We're in a Muslim country so the normal stuff isn't halal. The range of ready meals in supermarkets has improved over the last few years (as in, we can now get some ready prepped stuff!) but there's not always calorie counts on them. Ingredient lists are also somewhat lacking - mayonnaise being listed as an ingredient, for example.

For what I'm cooking now, I do all the usual easy subs with fry light instead of lots of oil or fat, for something including cheese I use low fat stronger cheddar, so you need less for the same taste and low fat anyway, low fat/fat free yoghurt and Creme fraiche. Chilli and Bol are packed out with mushrooms and peppers rather than too much meat. Potatoes are usually new potatoes because they're easy and come in microwave bags and cook in 7 mins, which we don't use butter for if we have some form of sauce with tea. If we have something simple like a meat and potatoes, I often make a simply tomato, onion, mushroom kinda chunky sauce for with it, make with no oil and spiced up with chilli or herby to make it Italian, or sometimes balsamicy, which make it lots of food without lots of cals. Or roasted veg. He'll eat bucket loads of that there's a point, not had that for ages. That's on the list for next week However, I also make an awesome cheese pie. My cauliflower cheese is second to none apart from my mums. We eat quite a bit of red meat due to my inability to eat fish and the expensiveness of pork, and chicken is expensive too for that matter - the cheap plain chicken breasts have an ingredients list(!!!!) and the NZ or EU ones are around £10 for 250g of chicken breast. I can get fillet steak for less. My favourite food of all time is beef Wellington so if I need comfort food, that's what I make with potato gratin. It's not like every single meal I make is unhealthy, it's probably 50-50 I reckon.

I find most veggie recipes uninspiring, maybe I need to experiment more. I find there's nothing worse after slaving away at work all day than ending up with a disappointing evening meal.

I'll grab the lean in 15 book, seems worth a read certainly if his lack of ability may be able to handle it! And definitely dish out spare portions so he can't dig in.

Overall I don't just agree that we both need to sort out healthier eating, but healthier life in general. We're both stressed as fuck, very little social life, very little time for anything. But the hard nosed side of me says that I'll sort myself out when I want to, I'm not being made responsible for his weight loss when he wont help himself. When I have lunch at work, the cafe downstairs do takeaway salads which are great and are actually caloried on the label, and all 350 or less. They also do a hot buffet for really decent money that I could choose to have but don't, because I'd be the size of an adult rather than a baby whale if I ate that every day. If I can do that, so can he. He can easily choose a salad from somewhere and still go with the guys. Apparently two of them do every day so it's not like he'd be the only one not eating junk

ShotsFired Thu 21-Jul-16 08:05:28

It all sounds very "boys club", subtly egging each other on with the junk etc. Is there a way to channel that into a fit-not-fat competition? Could be a bonding thing to go for a half-hour bootcamp/run/weights session instead of kfc at lunch? Get him on the protein shakes and the like? (those things sit like concrete in your tum, no room for anything else grin )

PaulDacreCuntyMcCuntFace Thu 21-Jul-16 08:10:33

YANBU. There is no point doing something high protein low carb for dinner, if he's been in Burger King at lunchtime.

The Lean in 15 books are good - the creamy herby chicken recipe is really nice. Watch for the quantities though - some of the recipes only serve 1 so you'll need to adjust the ingredients accordingly.

Agree with a PP about dishing up the portions and then whacking what's left in the freezer. If he asks for seconds then tell him there aren't any. IF he moans then point out gently that portion control is key in helping to lose weight. He will feel hungry for a couple of days but his body will adjust.

CaptainWarbeck Thu 21-Jul-16 08:18:11

Agree about just changing what he orders. I can understand the trying to fit in and not wanting to take his own lunch in (although really this shouldn't be such a big deal), but he could easily change what he orders without people noticing too much. Coke etc is full of crap and sweeteners and its empty calories. Could he drink a bottle of fizzy water with lunch instead and get regular food without extras ie wedges/cookies etc?

Regardless of how he eats once he's home, if he's eating KFC etc every day for lunch it's going to be pretty hard to lose weight.

CaptainWarbeck Thu 21-Jul-16 08:19:57

Also, he's bloody lucky you cook his meals. If he was single and wanted to be healthier for dinner he'd have to sort something out himself. No reason why he can't still do this just cos you're around. Not all your responsibility.

BreakfastAtSquiffanys Thu 21-Jul-16 08:25:19

Until he reduces the BK lunches and booze, what you serve in the evenings won't make much difference

whois Thu 21-Jul-16 08:39:50

I don't think you're being U Op.

he shouldn't be putting weight loss onto you, when he is stuffing his face with BK at lunch time, and eats huge portions.

Is salad reasonably cheap to buy where you are or is that expensive? Just thinking that might help the portion control - a normal sized portion of something like cottage pie with a huge pile of salad that takes ages to eat might help.

I know there is a 30 min difference in home time, but could you give him 2 week days and a weekend day as 'his' nights whereby if you're home he cooks something healthy? Book suggestions by previous posters. You could have a snack when you get in to ward of the hangry feeling of eating 30 mins later.

mrsmortis Thu 21-Jul-16 09:01:45

How about getting something like myFitnessPal or NutraCheck on his phone.

Tell him if he can reduce has calorie intake to a certain level using one of those then you'll do something about what he's eating in the evenings.

Bails2014 Thu 21-Jul-16 09:12:43

Buy the Jamie Oliver Superfoods book, everything in there is fairly healthy and MEGA easy.

Do a weekly shop in advance, aim to plan 4-5 healthy fresh meals a week that gives you a bit of leeway with having to cook every night, if you do Ocado they order the foods in the order they expire so you know roughly which meals you have to cook first.

If your partner is serious about weight loss then why doesn't he take responsibility for making packed lunches for the both of you the night before?

Also, I would not hesitate to point out to him that he will not lose weight by having a KFC for lunch!

IceRoadDucker Thu 21-Jul-16 09:38:47

My husband was always trying to put the onus on him eating healthily and losing weight onto me. He didn't want to eat cheese so wanted there to be no cheese in the house. Next week he was giving up chocolate so no chocolate. Then fizzy drink. Etc. Each time he would eat/drink the stuff I'd bought for myself and then blame me. Because it's my fault he has no self-control? Bollocks to that!

Your husband is an adult. If he doesn't like what you cook and isn't prepared to take over, tough shit.

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