What to serve someone who hates vegetarian foods?
What to do when the person you have to cook for hates the idea of a plant-based diet and hates anything whole grain and healthy? He does not like most veggies, beans, tofu…(anything not processed) and loves meat.
– Janette, age 30s, Toronto
The important thing here is not to force the issue. He may not be ready to make the change, so you’ll need to try a few different things.
Let’s assume he understands the health benefits of a plant-based diet, and he is fully aware of the environmental damage animal agriculture causes (if not, you could perhaps educate him on that front), and that he understands the cruelty and suffering involved. But he just chooses to eat meat, dairy and eggs because that’s what his taste buds dictate.
I don’t normally recommend this option, but given the strong resistance you’re describing, let’s see if a phased approach works. Would he be willing to try some of the meat substitutes – i.e. Yves ground round, deli slices, burgers or Gardein, Tofurky or President’s Choice Blue Menu meat-free products? Daiya or other non-dairy cheese? These products certainly can’t be classified as “health food”, but they are good transition choices. Can you try putting some chicken-less (vegan) strips into a stir-fry, and see if he notices? Or put Yves “ground round” into a chili. Most people can’t tell the difference when all the spices and other flavours combine in a dish. As long as it tastes good, he’ll probably eat it. This way, at least the animal suffering stops, and these products are way healthier than their animal-based counterparts. Then slowly, bit by bit, you can try to wean him off the processed plant foods described above, and introduce more whole foods.
However, if he absolutely refuses to even take this step, then I’m afraid you’ll have to just let him make his choices – but make it clear that he’ll have to help with the cooking or other chores, because you can’t make two different meals everyday without help. It’ll be a negotiation.
I would also recommend this type of discussion takes place after a meal, and when both of you are in a calm frame of mind.
Wishing you and your partner optimum health.
Nimisha Raja gives lectures and workshops to schools, seniors’ centers and other groups on vegetarian related issues. She has appeared on numerous radio and TV stations promoting vegetarian lifestyles, and has taught several cooking classes.
Nimisha holds certificates from the Optimum Health Institute in San Diego, the Ann Wigmore Natural Health Institute in Puerto Rico and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Toronto.
I helped found the Veggie Challenge almost 9 years ago.