I love my husband dearly. He is a smart, funny, independent man. He is a hard worker, and he doesn’t slack with regard to his responsibilities. That being said, his attitude towards food leaves something to be desired. If I didn’t feed him, he would eat fast food every day for every meal. He is a junk food junkie of epic proportions. Because of his tendencies, when we were married, I took over all responsibilities where food was concerned. There have been rare occasions when I have asked him to run to the grocery store to pick something up, but after the third or fourth time he came home with pork rinds and cheese puffs, he was permanently banned from grocery shopping. He is, however, a grill master. Give him a hunk of meat and he will char it to perfection. Wintertime in Cleveland, Ohio is less than conducive to outdoor grilling, though, so his cooking responsibilities are relegated to the summer months.
Being the primary cook in the household, I have made a concerted effort to keep our meals healthy. My husband’s tastes and lack of inhibitions in expressing what he wants, sometimes makes this task difficult. It is not out of the question for me to hear, “What’s THAT?” or “You’re putting THAT in THERE?” while I am cooking dinner. Along with the grocery store, he is now banned from the kitchen while I am cooking.
It is a challenge to work vegetables into our nightly dinners. Hubby’s list of “will-not-eats” is long and includes mostly foods that are low in cholesterol and high in fiber. I have learned that the easiest way to get healthy foods in our diet is to sneak them in. I sneak kale into our dinners; I regularly sneak ground flaxseed into almost everything; and for a very long time I have been putting blue agave nectar in his tea instead of artificial sweetener. I know that most people say marriage is built on honesty, but those people obviously never tried to cook for my husband.
We eat a TON of boneless skinless chicken breasts. At any given time, our freezer contains more breasts than the Playboy Mansion. The most common dish we have for dinner is something my husband has dubbed, “Somekindachicken.” It typically includes chicken sauteed in olive oil with onions and garlic and whatever else I might have in my fridge or pantry that day. Most recently, unbeknownst to my husband, it has included kale.
On a recent trip to Costco, I saw a giant, economy sized bag of frozen kale. Whatever magical spell the Costco folks cast on that building to make everyone who walks through those doors suddenly and illogically drawn to obnoxiously large quantities of foods, definitely works on me. I was shopping for food for just the two of us, and yet, buying that giant bag seemed like such a good idea at the time. Needless to say, I brought it home.
Kale has since been in almost all recent variations of Somekindachicken. It is super easy to brown the chicken, add onions and garlic and whatever else I decide to throw in, toss a handful of Kale in the pan, cover it, and let it cook. The flavor of the kale is much more mild when it has been frozen rather than stored fresh, and I have been able to get my husband to eat it by telling him that it is “greens.” For some reason, he is okay with eating greens, but not with eating kale. Maybe it is the name, or just the idea that it is a health food. Either way, in order to get him to eat things like kale, I have to be a little sneaky.
For all of you looking for sneaky ways to add healthy foods to your family meals, here is a list of some useful sneak-ins and substitutes.
What you can sneak or substitute in your favorite picky eater’s food
- Kale (chopped, frozen)
- Ground Flax seed (1-2 tablespoons are nearly undetectable in everything from breading on chicken to cookies to sauces, both sweet and savory)
- Sardines/sardine paste (sneak the sardines into canned tuna to boost Omega 3’s and reduce mercury; sneak the paste into nearly any savory sauce)
- Puréed beans (add to chili, ground turkey meatloaf or meatballs, sauces, even some baked goods. Also, I sometimes use puréed beans as a substitute for ground meat in certain dishes)
- 1/4 cup applesauce per 1 egg in baked goods (this works REALLY well)
- Unsweetened, unflavored almond milk instead of cow’s milk (works in most recipes, both sweet and savory)
- Blue agave nectar instead of artificial sweetener (in tea and coffee)
- Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or mayo (full disclosure, I think the difference in taste is somewhat noticeable, but I have actually grown to prefer greek yogurt instead of sour cream or mayo)
Have anything to add to this list? Let’s help each other feed our families healthy foods without them noticing!