Several years ago, I led a group of women through Cynthia Heald’s Loving Your Husband Bible study. When we got to the chapter on “She Brings Him Good, not Harm,” I thought it would be a good time to talk about taking care of our husbands by feeding them well. The wives’ reactions stunned me. You would have thought I had asked them to give their husband’s a foot massage every night!
How dare I think they had time in their busy schedules of—taking care of kids, car pools, the gym, working, and feeding picky kids—to worry about what they fed a husband who often came home after the family dinner anyway. How could I expect them to add preparing healthy food to their already overburdened lives!? Even as I write this, I can still hear the indignation and anger in their voices as each one agreed with the other that this was over the top!
After I recovered from my shock at their response, I said, “Don’t you want your husband to be around to help you raise your children? Don’t you want him to have a long, productive healthy life? Don’t you love him and care about his health?” They were not convinced.
Your Husband’s Well-Being Could Depend on You
When I try to encourage women whose husbands are overweight or have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or high blood sugar, or have just suffered a heart attack, to prepare healthy food for these beloved men, the wives often tell me meekly, “I can’t take away his one pleasure.” Seriously—food is his only pleasure? Or as I watched one wife give Kentucky Fried Chicken to her husband who had just had open-heart surgery, “He loves it so much. I can’t deny him food he likes.”
To all of these women I say, “You are loving your husband to death.”
I’ve heard all the excuses—he eats lunch on his own. I can’t be his conscience or police what he eats. He’ll make it himself if I don’t make it for him. He won’t eat anything else. If he doesn’t care, I don’t care. And on and on . . .
One woman commented on last month’s Loving Your Body—90 Days to a Physical Renewal blog post by Debbie Alsdorf: “And while my hubby is supportive of me doing what I need to do for good health, he can only take ‘healthy’ food so long and then he wants processed foods.”
“Though my husband is very supportive, he did not do this plan with me. What he did do is eat the basic same dinner that I ate so I wouldn’t have to prepare two different things. My dinners usually consisted of lean protein, salad, and vegetable. Last night I had delicious grilled chicken, mashed cauliflower and grilled zucchini. It doesn’t get much better….Really! Sometimes I would add a starch for him, but he ended up quite happy without it. He still had his ice cream at night….I got used to not joining him in that. Without doing it fully, he lost one shirt size and one pant size in the 90 days!
Love Your Husband to Life
“I want to meet this woman who has my dad eating turkey burgers!”—Michelle, hubby Dave’s oldest daughter
When Dave and I first started dating, he was a heavy beefeater and didn’t eat healthy. I’ve always eaten healthy since my first career was as a Registered Dietitian, so when I prepared a meal it was always chicken, turkey, or fish, no fried foods, lots of veggies and salads, no added salt, and very little sugar. Dave probably went along with this because he wanted to make a good impression and was falling in love.
However, after we were married he had some real adjustments to make to what I cooked at home, but he ate whatever he wanted at lunch. Dave had always had bronchial problems and he was on antibiotics far too often. I also knew that his dad had quadruple bypass surgery so Dave could have a propensity to heart disease also. We had a long talk and I said how much I loved him and wanted him to be around for a long time, and I would do my part by making sure the food I fed him was healthy and that he got exercise with me at the gym.
Dave lost 10 pounds our first year of marriage, his bronchial issues went away, and he started enjoying the food I prepared. I honored the foods he didn’t like, but introduced him to a new way of eating. Whenever he protested, I just reminded him that I loved him and wanted us to grow old together. Love won him over.
Then twelve years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, we took eating healthy to another level. We budgeted to buy exclusively organic, avoid processed foods, and eat raw as much as possible. I still didn’t give Dave foods he didn’t like, but I didn’t give him a food he did like if it wasn’t good for him or me. Dave’s response: If this will save my wife’s life, I’ll do whatever it takes.
He also agreed to start taking his lunches instead of the fast food he was grabbing. Now after 22 years of feeding my hubby healthy food, his doctor says he is 98% healthier than the men the doctor sees in his practice. At 68 years-old, Dave takes no medications, all of his blood work is pristine, and he is in excellent health.
I loved my husband to life and you can too.
Here is what I responded to the woman in the blog comment above whose husband wanted processed foods:
I will be praying for you. I know all the health issues you’ve had and I’m sure healthy eating would help you so much. God provides healthy “fuel” to keep our bodies running optimally. My hubby had a hard time too at first, but when I had breast cancer (now three times), he agreed to do whatever it took. He had made many changes when we married, but he made huge strides after breast cancer. But he doesn’t do everything I do…and that’s ok.
Maybe you could convince your hubby that healthy eating would be so good for him too…because you love him and want him to be around for a long time. But until then, make the change yourself and set the example as he watches you enjoy more energy and live healthier.
1. For years, I didn’t cook veggies Dave doesn’t like: asparagus, onions, peppers, cauliflower, beets, cooked spinach, and artichokes. Then it dawned on me: I could make them for myself! Dave will eat raw spinach in salads so we eat it that way, which is much better for us. Often a hearty salad is dinner. Read labels on salad dressings or make your own heart-healthy ones with olive oil, vinegar, and herbs.
2. Bake, broil, grill, BBQ, roast, and steam. Don’t fry.
3. You are probably the main purchaser of food, so don’t have tempting, unhealthy food in the house.
4. Cook with herbs instead of salt. Don’t set the saltshaker on the table.
5. Cut back on red meat to several times a week, or none if he will agree and eat more wild fish, and organic or grass-fed chicken and turkey. Substitute turkey burger for hamburger. Eliminate processed/brined lunchmeats. Roast a turkey or chicken and slice for sandwiches.
6. Offer to pack a lunch for him. If he doesn’t agree, then be sure the meals you do prepare for him are healthy.
7. Do some research into what “healthy” means. For example if cholesterol is a problem, learn what foods are high in cholesterol. A simple “Google” search will provide answers to many of your questions.
8. Cut back on portion size. Dish up food on plates in the kitchen instead of putting food on the table with the temptation to have a second or third helping.
9. Limit desserts to special occasions or maybe on a weekend night—not every night.
10. Avoid casseroles—they are usually high in fat and calories. Another fallacy I often hear is that it just takes too much time to eat healthy. Not true. It’s much quicker to broil a lean piece of chicken or fish, steam veggies, and make a salad then the time it takes to make lasagna or a casserole.
Smother your hubby with love and let him know you are researching ways to prepare good tasting healthy foods that his body will love because you and God love him so much and want him to be around for a long long time. What husband could resist that? Mine can’t, and he’s so happy, happy, happy . . .