Maintaining all the various aspects of a relationship is tough, especially when things get personal. One tricky difference to navigate is diet. Besides vegetarian and vegan, there are diet restrictions like being gluten-free, eating dairy-free or raw, or having a mostly low-carb diet. For couples with different diets, it’s incredibly hard to figure out how to shake up meal times so everyone is happy. Luckily, with a few tips and tricks, managing the diet of you and your significant other becomes easy and enjoyable.
Follow this guide for couples with different diets to help transform your dinner routine from nightmarish to harmonious. And be sure to let us know in the comments if you have any other ideas for couples with different diets!
The first step in finding happiness in a mixed-diet relationship is by choosing to respect your partner’s choices. Sure, we don’t have to agree with or even understand them. If you’re vegetarian and your partner is vegan, it’s hard to believe life is functional without cheese. But making a conscious decision to respect them is the absolute basis for any strong relationship. Respectfully toss the cheese on your enchiladas after your partner has taken a slice or two. Respect is mutual, so be sure to ask for the same understanding back. Once you’re both on the same page, it’s much easier to find ways to make your lives easier.
As with every other aspect of a relationship, compromising is key. Of course, no one should ever ask you to compromise on your diet (whether it’s for moral, religious, or other reasons), but there are other ways to compromise with your significant other. If you live together, a great way to compromise is by creating meals that are customizable. If one of you is a vegetarian and the other eats meat, try recipes that allow meat to be prepared separately and thrown in last. That way, it’s easy to avoid creating two separate meals. Some homes even have meat-specific pots and pans! It’s all about figuring out what works for you and your significant other.
Try recipes with grain bases, like our Quinoa Risotto with Roasted Root Vegetables or our Creamy Wild Rice Mushroom Casserole. It’s easy to add a grilled protein to either dish, and you can easily make dishes like these dairy-free. The Creamy Wild Rice Mushroom Casserole is an example of a hearty, creamy vegan dish—proving vegan isn’t a skimpy diet.
Remember that compromises aren’t always equal. If your partner only eats Kosher, you’ll need to eat Kosher alongside or buy and prepare your own meals. In this situation, you’re giving up more than your partner is, but the respect you’re showing him or her is what strong relationships are made of!
Try New Things and Have Some Fun
Don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things—together. Say you eat vegetarian but your partner eats vegan. Choose to find joy in experimenting with vegan alternatives. Research interesting recipes like whipped coconut cream and test it out. You never know, you might like it better than the original! But even if you don’t, your partner will respect you for trying food from his or her diet.
Another way to experiment is by wandering the aisles of the grocery store or farmers market and choosing a vegetable or food you’ve both never tried before. Host a contest at home to see who can build a better recipe using the ingredient. That way, you’re both trying new things and having fun in the process, all of which build strong relationship bones!
The most important thing for couples with different diets is to find a groove. Whether that’s having the meat-eater be solely in charge of handling and cooking meat, using separate pots and pans, eating vegetarian every other night, or cooking two meals, there’s no norm! Do what’s best for the both of you.