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How I Instantly Improved Our Dinners as a Couple

How to Instantly Improve (1)

Note: This post contains some referral links to some of my favorite brands.

Sunday night, while my boyfriend and I were cooking dinner, he said something that made me stop chopping the vegetables because I was so surprised.

“I’ve been feeling a lot better since we’ve been eating healthy.”

This may not seem like a very shocking statement. I definitely see a difference between when I’m eating mainly fruits and veggies and when the majority of the foods I put into my body are processed. I’ve also heard a lot of other people say that eating well gives them more energy. Plus there are scientific studies about it. I don’t have any I can send you off the top of my head, but I’m sure you can Google it.

But trying to find healthy meals that satisfy both my boyfriend and me has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in the last two months.

The Problem

My version of healthy eating tends to be eating the same thing repeatedly. I always have one thing for breakfast (overnight oats) and lunch (whatever recipe I find on Sunday that allows me to make it in bulk – this week it’s these sweet potato black bean quesadillas). My snacks are also the same throughout the week (this week it’s greek yogurt with chia seeds, cinnamon, and strawberries and carrots and hummus).

My boyfriend doesn’t eat like this. This isn’t a problem for most of the day, since the only meal we share together during the week is dinner. That’s when our fundamental eating styles show up.

I want a recipe that’s 400 calories. He wants to eat about 1,000 calories at dinnertime. (I’m serious.)

I try to eat a lot of vegetables. He loves meat.

I wouldn’t complain if the only form of protein I could eat for the rest of my life was chicken. He gets bored if we have chicken three nights in a row. Even if the recipe is completely different.

I gain weight and lose muscle quickly if I eat out a lot. He LOSES weight with a weekly routine of Chik-fil-A Monday and Taco Bell Friday.

All of this made planning for dinner frustrating.

My boyfriend is an amazing, patient guy. Since I suggested that we start eating better, he hasn’t complained about anything that I’ve cooked. I could tell when he liked a recipe more than others, but he never stopped me from picking our evening meal.

So even though I could have kept on choosing the meals I was without any critique from him, I didn’t want him to hate eating with me. What kind of relationship would that be?

The Solution

Enter meal delivery services.

These have been popping up all over the place in the last few years. They are marketed towards busy people who have trouble making time to cook, but still want a fresh, home-cooked meal. Perfectly portioned ingredients, along with recipe cards that give instructions about how to use those ingredients, are delivered once a week in a box with ice packs.

One morning, my favorite news briefing The Daily Skimm had a coupon code for one of the many meal delivery service options out there: Home Chef. Around the same time, I also received a coupon code in a Fabletics delivery for Blue Apron. I figured the stars were aligning and that we should try them both out.

Or maybe I was just getting tired of planning our dinners.

Whatever the underlying reason, we got our first Blue Apron delivery the next Friday. The first meal we made was Chicken “Under a Brick.” (Alas, we weren’t sent a brick. The recipe told us to use a large pot filled with water.)

Blue-Apron-Gift

Y’ALL. It was SO GOOD. And I felt like a professional chef! I was pretty nervous to cook something with such a fancy name, but the recipe was very straight-forward.

Not to mention the fact that there were no leftover ingredients! I really hate buying herbs because they are sold in amounts that are bigger than a recipe calls for. While I could find another recipe to cook the excess, most of the time I end up throwing the herbs away. I hate wasting food. I hate it so much that sometimes I don’t even get the small ingredients that a recipe calls for because I know most of it will just end up in the trash. Of course, that means the finished product is missing that je ne sais quoi.

Another good thing about meal delivery services: portion sizes! All of the meals tend to have a high amount of calories. At least 700 or more is typical. I eat about half of one serving size and give the rest to my boyfriend. Since we get meals with meat, the protein usually keeps me satisfied even though I’m not eating the entire thing. That means I’m eating the small portion I want, and my boyfriend is getting the ridiculously high caloric intake he wants. Both of us are happy and full!

We have also tried Home Chef and Hello Fresh in the last few weeks. Blue Apron is our favorite. Home Chef’s portion sizes didn’t seem as fulfilling to us. Hello Fresh is more expensive.

I didn’t realize how instrumental the meal delivery service was in my overall goal of eating healthy with my boyfriend until he made that comment Sunday night. My boyfriend was eating what I cooked. And he was visibly happy about it!

Meal delivery services aren’t the perfect solution. Blue Apron – now our company of choice – only sends three meals a week. That means we still have to compromise on four other dinners. We’re a social couple, so we eat out one or two nights a week anyway. And since he’s getting three unique meals, my boyfriend is more willing to eat a bulk dinner recipe for two or three nights.

That means I only have to plan one or two dinners a week. I feel much less stress about picking a recipe he doesn’t like when that’s the case. After all, it’s only one meal out of many.

Want to Improve Your Dinners As A Couple?

My boyfriend still chooses his own food for breakfasts and lunches. I don’t think we will ever be on the same page when it comes to those meals. However, it is nice that we can now agree on dinner without ruining my own nutrition goals.

If you want to try a meal delivery service for yourself, I have five free Blue Apron deliveries! Head over to the Contact page and send me an email. First come, first serve. 🙂

Blue-Apron-Gift

Do you have problems eating well with a significant other? Have any other tips on how to accomplish that?

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This Week’s Workouts

This Week's Workout

The 2017 Tone It Up Bikini Series starts tomorrow!

If you who don’t know Tone It Up (TIU for short), it’s a fitness brand that reaches out to millions of women. It was started by two best girl friends, Karena and Katrina. I don’t even remember when I stumbled across their website. Maybe a year ago?

Honestly, I’ve only followed TIU on and off for the past year. That’s because I have some personal worries that looking at their Instagram feed makes me set unrealistic expectations for my own body. Although Karena and Katrina talk a lot about loving your body, all of the transformations they feature are thin girls with really defined muscles. Other programs I’ve followed seem to have much more realistic before and after photos. Fit Girl’s Guide, for example. Plus, this summer I realized that I need to diversify my social media feeds. (Maybe I’ll talk about that in another post.) This diversity includes looking at different body sizes. TIU isn’t exactly the best program for me to achieve that goal.

But what keeps me coming back to TIU is the Daily Workout. Every day, the website lists some suggested strength moves and videos to follow. There’s usually a theme to the moves, like arms + abs, booty, HIIT, total body, or cardio. The best part about this is that it’s free! Almost. Sometimes the videos for the day are on the Tone It Up DVDs, which I don’t own. Whenever that happens, I just look up a free video based on the day’s theme.

daily workout

Even though I have my qualms about TIU, I appreciate the Daily Workout because it takes the guesswork out of my fitness. I like variety. What I don’t like: planning a weekly routine that is well-rounded and effective at increasing my overall health. I’d rather leave that to the experts. So with TIU, I can open the Daily Workout on my iPhone as soon as I wake up in the morning. I recently saved the link on my screen so it’s even easier to get to. Since I did that, there have been a couple of mornings when I hop right out of bed and do some of the moves in my nightdress!

I like fitness because it gives me the opportunity to accomplish a clear goal. I like being able to point to something and say “I did that,” or “I didn’t do that.” Since I don’t currently have plans to run a half marathon or marathon, I’m looking at the bikini challenge as that something. I started last year’s bikini challenge really strong. But then I slacked off about halfway through. So my goal for this bikini series challenge is to 1) make it to the end of the 8 weeks and 2) turn the TIU Daily Workout into a habit that sticks.

Last week, Karena and Katrina suggested planning out workouts for the week. I pretty much do that anyway. In my head. I hope putting my schedule here will give me a little extra boost to kick off the week.

Monday: circuit training at the climbing gym and TIU 5 Toning Moves

Tuesday: 30 minute run and TIU 5 Toning Moves

Wednesday: circuit training at the climbing gym and TIU 5 Toning Moves

Thursday: 30 minute run and TIU 5 Toning Moves

Friday: yoga and 20 minute walk

Saturday: TIU Arms + Abs and 20 minute walk

Sunday: 30 minute run

The Saturday and Sunday workouts may switch. It always depends on when my boyfriend wants to run, since I’ve finally convinced him to run a 5k with me.

What’s your workout schedule look like this week?