Differences in food preferences among spouses/family


Does anyone else have a spouse whose food preferences are somewhat opposite of their own? When we first married, we liked many of the same things. But pregnancy really changed my tastes. I can’t stand poultry or pork anymore. If I eat it, I get sick. I can eat really lean organic beef, but that’s about it in terms of meat products. I’m allergic to shellfish and I’ve never had a taste for fish anyway. We used to eat turkey and chicken ALL the time in a variety of ways and now…I just can’t eat it.

My hubby is a carnivore. Lenten Fridays are torture for him. He will literally not eat dinner until midnight because he can’t stand a meatless dinner. It’s not a matter of gluttony–he doesn’t eat an inordinate amount, and he isn’t overweight–he’s athletic and in great shape. He just isn’t full from vegan or meatless dishes and requires a lot of animal protein to feel satisfied. He’s not a huge fan of dairy, either–he likes meat. If he doesn’t have it, he gets hunger headaches.

I find myself getting a little tired of just eating the bread, veggies or fruit part of dinner. I add beans to my salad or cheese to get some protein, but…if I make a main dish that I’d like, which is meatless, I can tell/he’ll say that he just isn’t satisfied by it. Now, he does encourage me to make things that I like too, but again…I know that if I make something meatless, he’s not going to be filled.

I guess what I’m wondering is how other families deal with differences in food preferences. There are only three of us and it makes zero sense for me to make two dinners every night–which I haven’t done and won’t do. (Plus I don’t want to encourage Sophie as she grows up to be picky or think that we’re running a restaurant.) I find myself just not eating or picking at what I make if it has meat in it, or certain things are easily made half vegetarian and half meaty. Some things aren’t, though. As a wife I want to provide a good dinner for my hubby and it seems selfish to make a dinner I know he won’t be full from or enjoy eating. But…I’d like to enjoy dinner every once in awhile too. :slight_smile: So, just not sure what the compromise should be. He’s also working insane hours right now and really needs to be fed well…so I feel very obligated to make sure he likes his meals.

Does anyone else have this issue and how does your family handle it?


I remember the pregnancy food issues all too well. Usually I would make a dinner that consisted of a meat, veggie, and rice or potatoes and make sure one of those things was something I could stomach. Although if I remember correctly I sometimes couldn’t even go near the meat to prepare it much less eat it.

I remember through one pregnancy eating so much deli American cheese and steamed dumplings… I’d have my husband run downtown for it after dinner because that’s all I could eat…


Oh, I should clarify I’m not pregnant anymore. Ha. Sorry about that. What I meant to say is that pregnancy seemingly forever-changed my food preferences. I used to tolerate poultry really well–but during the pregnancy I just couldn’t eat it and the disgust/getting ill over it continues even now, 13 months post-partum! :slight_smile:


How about making a nice vegetarian dish for your main dish, and fix a piece of grilled meat for your hubby. He can eat your main dish as his vegetable. And both of you can have a lovely salad.

Do you have a George Foreman grill? That would make it very convenient.



My hubby and I are both carnivores, but his taste includes wildgame. :stuck_out_tongue: On those nights, I go vegetarian. Like your hubby, mine doesn’t really think he’s eaten a meal if he doesn’t have meat, while I like to have meatless meals from time to time. Yes, that made for some adjustments earlier in our marriage.

What I often do now is make main dishes where the meat can be added or eliminated. Some ideas: pasta with sauce and cheese with meat balls cooked on the side,
burritos or tacos–(I fill mine with the rice and beans, he adds the meat), baked potatoes can double as side dish for meat eaters and be stuffed with veggies and cheese as a main dish, “breakfast for dinner” pancakes, eggs, etc. with sausage on the side.

I would encourage you and your husband to try eating as much as possible what the other eats. Eating together serves a social function too and sharing meals together is important to develop bonds–just look at the religious implication of “breaking bread together”.

I understand food preferences, allergies and food intolerance mean that not everyone will always eat the exact same foods together at every meal. Keep side dishes for yourself on hand like lentil soup or even simply eggs or peanut butter on bread. Don’t try to force your husband to go vegetarian, but vegetarian entrees can also serve as side dishes for him. Maybe even try sometimes thinking of meat as the side dish for him.

Keep in mind vegetarian cooking isn’t healthful if you simply eliminates the meat without assuring adequate protein–protein is particularly important if you are pregnant or breastfeeding! A healthy diet is a balanced diet.


My children and I are vegetarians. My husband is not.

However, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been one since I was 16, and DH knew what he was “getting into” when he married me.

That said, we either use our George Foreman (SO CONVENIENT!) if DH starts whining about lack of meat, or he eats what we eat, since I’m the cook.

Morningstar Farms makes really good ground beef and chicken substitutes. I use them in all my recipes, and meat eating DH tolerates them.

If yours won’t, I’d second the G.F. grill idea, that way, you could make a veggie entree for yourself, and DH could slap a piece of meat on top of it.

In case he’s interested, I’m a runner, marathoner, triathlete, and mother of three, all while vegetarian. If he fears lack of meat will parlay into poor athletic ability, you could encourage him to check it out.


I had a similar experience…
Before kids we loved going to our local Chinese restaurant for a regular “Friday date night”…
Ever since my first pregnancy I can’t even stand to THINK about Chinese food!

My only suggestion is to get more creative with your cooking. Are there any more flavorful ways to cook chicken or pork that you’ve never tried? There are so many ways to mask the taste of the meat that you could never tell the difference between tofu and chicken, kwim?

I’ve become much more interested in SPICY foods since my pregnancies… and thankfully my young boys are totally willing and able to stand the heat! (you should see my 2 year old POUNCE on SALSA! LOL!)…

Try some new and more creative dishes!


I was going to second the grill a piece of meat for dh to go with whatever else you have fixed. How did you cook the chicken etc. before you found out you couldn’t tolerate it?

Let me give you an example in my family - I am allergic to tomatoes and can not tolerate wheat. I made a wheat free, tomato free eggplant parmesan last night. My husband really likes his tomatoes and since they are so full of great phyto-nutrients he should eat them - so, he pulled out the pizza sauce we keep on hand and spooned it over his serving of the eggplant. This is by far not making something different for dinner for everyone.

Brenda V.


It is a struggle.

My husband doesn’t eat salad or pasta. Never. He’d rather die. He’d never eat a raw vegetable or fruit. And there are not many cooked veggies he will eat. Fortunately he likes rice and has developed a taste for yogurt.

I fix a LOT of chicken. I buy frozen bags of chicken breast tenders and grill a couple to feed him and perhaps flavor the food the rest of us eat. I’ll sometimes flavor the meat with fruit juice.

I’ve just learned that if I want to eat what I like I have to fix more than one dish or eat out.


Wow, that’s tough. I had a vaguely similar experience with my 1st pregnancy. I felt sick going into Target for a long time after pregnancy because I went there often while I had morning sickness (and you know how it has a distinctive smell)! But that’s gone now and not nearly as much of a problem as what you have.

Have you tried eating other meats besides beef, pork, and poultry? Lamb? Venison? Cat? :stuck_out_tongue: Just kidding! What about veggie burgers/sausages? Mixed meat sausages? I think if I were in your position I’d try all kinds of different dishes to try and desensitize myself. I would try eating meat in dishes I haven’t had before, so they’re not associated with being sick during pregnancy. Who knows if that would help, though. :confused:


My interest in meat goes way up when I am pregnant. This delights my husband especially when I had a craving for 2 1/2 pound burgers smothered with bacon (a whole packet) and dripping with melted cheese, served in a large loaf of bread. Since this sort of food is usually banned in my house, he willingly leaped in the car to get these ingredients!:extrahappy:


I would have been a vegetarian had I not married my carnivorous husband. We’ve both had to compromise, and as a result end up eating a lot of poultry and fish. He’s had to give up eating pork at home (I can’t eat it), and I’ve had to cut back on the number of veg meals we eat. Fortunately, he will eat some veggies and isn’t too picky. Neither am I, so we can usually find something that we’ll both eat.


the last year everyone was at home:
DH vegetarian (no meat, no dairy, no eggs, no fish)
Me - Atkins
DD-1 – Weight Watchers
DD-2 basic teen junk food, mostly doritos & Dr Pepper
son - lived on McDonald’s cheeseburger and Hi-C, would not eat anything I cooked on principle.
foster daughter – missed her Slovenian grandmother’s ethnic cooking so was always making soup, sausage, potica, and other stuff which is on nobody’s diet
her fiance – who was around most of the time anyhow–Italian, and diabetic.

no wonder everybody moved out that year, nobody could get a square meal in that house.


:eek: You might be a candidate for sainthood after all that!


Unfortunately, we all eat different things…my kids don’t like salmon, salads, omelettes, etc…which is what I have been trying to stick to, to eat healthier and leaner. I would like to lose 10 lbs, and when I eat those types of foods, the weight comes off easier.

My husband also would like to lose some weight…so he will sometimes eat the omelettes, salads, whatever…but hates salmon.

My kids eat something entirely different…healthy things we prepare, but different.

I can remember as a kid…being told that you eat what is in front of you, or you don’t get dessert. I was a rail, because I hated half of what was cooked in my family.

I don’t want to put my kids through eating broccoli, etc… if they hate it…but I was watching a show about how that type of parenting is bad.:frowning: Because kids grow up being picky, and not willing to try new things…and eat well rounded meals.


I can certainly relate to this post! None of us eats the same thing at our house. When I was pregnant, the only meat that tasted good to me was bacon–very crisp. I never cared for it much before, but many years since, I am still hooked on crisp bacon. I have very low blood pressure–maybe I need the salt.:smiley:

My husband loves vegetables (I don’t,) and the kids are out of the house now, so we usually compromise. We will fix the vegetables he loves along with a lean cut of some kind of meat or fish. I love seafood (any kind,) as well as Cajun food, and Tex-Mex. Cheese Enchiladas is about the only meatless meal I care to consume.

Seriously, I think you should be able to accomodate both of your palates–if you’re willing to be a bit creative (and it sounds as if you are!:slight_smile:

Good luck and happy dining!


Going back to your not being able to stomach chicken or turkey… have you tried ground poultry? Maybe in a meatloaf or mexican dish (tacos, enchaladas, etc.)??


I’ve been a vegetarian since birth (so hubby knew what he was getting into) and my husband eats meat. My husband is easy-going about eating, so that makes it easier on me than it could be.

Sometimes I make a standard meat-starch-vegetable dinner. DH will get a cut of meat, I’ll eat a Morningstar Farms burger, and we’ll eat the same other parts of the meal.

Sometimes I make dishes that are easily made veggie or with meat. For example, I’ll make enchiladas, half with chicken and half with cheese and black beans. I don’t mind “meat juices,” so I cook them in the same dish and just notate which side is which (maybe I’ll sprinkle cheese on one half to indicate that it has the meat or no meat). I have found that a lot of dishes can have chicken added at the last minute.

I don’t mind repetition, so sometimes I make myself a big batch of a vegetarian food, like black bean soup. Then for several dinners, I’ll have the black bean soup, DH will have whatever meat entree I make that night, and we’ll eat the same side dishes.

I plan to raise my kids eating meat, so I hope to adapt this system to feeding them. I do have it easier than you in that my husband is supportive of my making our home a lower-meat-eating household than is perhaps average in America. I most often make dishes with shredded meat in the dish as opposed to serving a big cut of meat. Also, my husband doesn’t mind meatless Fridays at all and he enjoys vegetarian food as long as it has enough protein to satiate him.


You know, it’s very common for people who persist in low-fat diets to get to a point where they really can’t tolerate much fat. Yet you need fat in your diet to absorb all those fat-soluble vitamins. Did you say you are pregnant now or that you were before? It’s especially important to have good fats in your diet if you are pregnant. A vegan diet is unnatural for humans and extremely unhealthy. I was a vegetarian for a good while–never totally vegan, but I believed that I should be—just couldn’t give up cheese. I lost a lot of weight and thought I was healthier, but I wasn’t really. And the truth came out in my daughter. I gave up meat right around the time she was teething, and as a result nearly all of her top teeth are decayed and there were about four that had half the enamel missing. She has had so much dental work done already and she is only three. Now that she is drinking lots of whole milk and taking cod liver oil, the color is back in her cheeks. She used to be really pale. I hope you aren’t consuming a lot of soy. Soy is extremely bad for you. You really should consider slowly adding more animal fats back into your diet. You need them more than you know. If you can’t tolerate a lot of meat, use butter as liberally as you can stand it. Get some coconut oil into your diet. Make your own stock and make soups from it. Here is a great reference:



One thing that is unique for us today, that is different from most people around the world, and from most people throughout all of human history, is that we get to choose what we want to eat, versus asking what do we have to eat.

I will have to see how far that line of reasoning gets me when my kid starts expressing preferences!!! It certainly never got us very far with our cat…:wink:

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