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Husband won't get with the meal plan

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By Carolyn Hax
Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 9:33 p.m.

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My husband and I fight about food, constantly. I grew up with fresh food. He grew up with chips and a candy bar as an integral part of every meal.

It wasn't a big deal when we first got together, but I've since changed a lot (vegetarian, but I'll cook meat for him), and he believes he's the one making all of the compromises. That's true, but because they're for health reasons, I think he should do it and stick around another 50 to 70 years.

Oh, and our young kids are now veryaware of what's on Daddy's plate versus theirs.

I know I'm being a pain, too, but I'm sick and tired of Husband complaining about what I'm cooking, and the kids screaming for what's on Daddy's plate. I don't have the energy to make two dinners every night. Any suggestions? Both of us are at healthy weights, but have a lot of diseases in our families that are helped by healthy diets.

— Food Fight

How about a deal: You back off on the crap he eats, and he doesn't eat it around the kids.

That leaves the problem's roots intact, but because your husband apparently doesn't buy into healthy examples for children(!), you have to anticipate his being too far gone to accept reason. But if you must settle for one goal, your kids' relationship with food is the best one.

Re: Food fight:

Let me get this straight: Wife didn't have an issue with Hubby's diet before, he's at a “healthy weight,” she's (now) a vegetarian, and he's the one who's “too far gone”?

I applaud you for “allowing” hubby to eat what he wants, but Wife seems to have pulled a bait-and-switch.

— Anonymous 1

The arrival of kids trumps any bait-and-switch. Plenty of people grant an adult the right to (bad habit), and even marry that adult knowing (bad habit) comes in the package. But when kids arrive, so do new priorities. (Bad habit) is now a potentially harmful example for the kids — so adult has to either shape up or take (bad habit) outside.

If his bad habit were smoking, then I doubt you'd be crying “bait-and-switch.”

Re: Food Fight:

Wow, this could have been me. We finally resolved it this way: Mom cooks one menu for everyone. Anyone may refuse food, but no complaints are allowed. If you don't like it, don't eat it.

Dad can eat what he wants, in private, if he buys it for himself, or he can cook a square meal of his choosing at any time. It was a fair deal, and eventually he came around.

— Anonymous 2

Sanity! Welcome to the table.

Email Carolyn Hax at, or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at

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