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Living with an Adult Picky Eater

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I love my boyfriend to death. He's wonderful, he's attractive, he pays for things, and he's super intelligent. I really never thought I could deserve a man like him. We just moved in together and going on our third year. I often consider marrying him.

But here's the thing: When I met him I was at my lowest weight ever - 145 lbs. I was HOT and it was AWESOME. Since then I have gained 20 lbs!!! Part of it is college, of course, but the rest is partially because of his influence. (I know I'm in control of my own destiny, but clearly he's a huge influence on me.)

This is what he eats:

- DiGornio Pepperoni Pizzas (or we go out to Mellow Mushroom!)
- Apples and apple juice
- Bananas on white bread or turkey bologna and American cheese on wheat (I got him into the wheat)
- Chicken nachos at Mexican restaurants
- Spaghetti ONLY with Ragu and ground beef
- Meatloaf/roast beef and mashed potatoes with a very specific butter-laden corn
- Cheese burgers
- Banana pudding
- Banana bread
- SOMETIMES some lettuce with thousand island salad dressing
- VERY occasionally sesame chicken at Chinese restaurants
- Apple Jacs or Raisin Bran cereal
- V8 Strawberry Banana fusion (my doing, again)
- Ketchup and occasionally mustard or a pickle are his only condiments
- Nacho Cheese Doritos
- Sugar or oatmeal raisin cookie

That is literally it. There is nothing else he will eat. Even things similar he won't eat. It's almost like a curse. I eat anything and everything. I can't possibly imagine someone who won't eat tomatos or green beans or peaches!!!

It wasn't sooo bad when we didn't live together, but now I make him a DiGornio and it smells sooooo good I want a little slice. But even the tiniest little wedge is laden with 200 calories!

He always says at least he doesn't like candy or what not, and I guess that's how he's managed to maintain weight, but it's just not fair! I gained my twenty pounds in my stomach and thighs, he gained his twenty pounds evenly across his chest and abs. He looks like gained ten, I look like I gained thirty!!!

I've read a lot about adult picky eaters and super tasters (more info if you want it) and it really seems to describe him. So I feel like there's essentially nothing I can do. I always offer him my food, and sometimes even beg him to try it, but then he just eats a banana sandwich or something along those lines. I hope that maybe I can increase his palette, but it's a futile hope.

I know he's trying to be supportive. If we do go out for Mellow Mushroom I know he'll pay for my salads or sandwiches, it's just so hard to watch him eat a pizza and beer while I'm suffering through a spinach salad.

I guess I'm just disheartened dieting alone when we do everything together.

Does anyone else have this same situation? How do you manage to avoid all his/her wonderful cookies and pizzas?

And given his diet, what can he possibly eat that would help him diet with me?

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Speaking from experiance it takes time.  My  husband is very proud of the fact he is a carnavor.   Was never a big home cooked kind of guy.  His mom was a single mom with three kids.  His eating habits were greatly influanced by the years that were really hard.  The summer he picked strawberrys to earn a new bike.  He won't eat strawberrys now.   Oddly enough though those early years after his dad left they basicly lived on Tomato soup and grilled cheese and he still loves those, "shudders".  

When we married, he didn't eat anything that wasn't either Italian or american.  It had to be cooked on a grill or have noodles in it.  The first time I made chilli, I thought he was going to freak out.  I DON"T EAT BEANS!.   My answer was you don't eat anything but pork and beans and as gross as I thought it was, I used pork and beans in my chilli until he finally let me use real beans.

It was a slow process.  Took me years to get him to eat mexican and now the local mexican restraunt is his favorite.   He still won't touch a salad and the idea of fresh tomatos makes him ill.  But, after 17 years of marrage and 19 years of being with the man, I have learned to adapt.   If I want something I like, and he doesn't then I make something else for me. 

But the truth is, its not hard to adapt all my menu plans to both of us.  You just have to play the if you love me you will at least try it card LOL.   Remember men are just larger boys with bigger toys.  The same tricks that work on a 5 year old work on a 55 year old.  You just have to be a bit more crafty about it. 


OMG, you are great! The "larger boys with bigger toys" totally cracked me up!

His mom totally catered to all his whims and let him just eat Wendy's and DiGornios all the time. It really frustrates me that she would do that. My mum always said "if you don't like it, don't eat it, but you're not going to say anything and you'll sit there and watch us eat it - later you can make yourself something but I won't." Harsh, perhaps, but we'll eat anything. (Except my vegan sister, but she eats weirder things than us, I think!)

And she worked full time and was a single mom and still managed to make food from scratch for three kids (then six when she got remarried) while his mum only had him to deal with! I don't know, I feel like it's almost neglectful to let your kids eat junk. =/ (However, as I haven't had kids yet and don't know those unique challenges, I guess I can't really comment.)

I can't imagine pork and beans chili, though. Maybe I should try to be more forgiving and moderate my meals to include him? It seems literally impossible though I may just not be trying enough (or craving pork and beans... =P) Though I suppose portabella burgers while he does beef would be delish.

It doesn't really bother me to cook two meals most of the time, as long as they're easy to split. (IE Making two different pasta sauces.) But sometimes my friends give me a hard time that I'm "doing to much for him." Which is really rough and sometimes humiliating. I'd call myself a feminist because I'll do what I want... and if that means cooking two dinners that's what it means!

Oh well. I'm glad I'm not the only one, though! It does give me some hope. I'd love for him to one day indulge me in Japanese, and while that might be ten years away, better late than never, I suppose!

not you again tincognito!!! We seem to have a fair bit in common.  My husband was a nightmare when we got together only ate take away KFC and McDonalds and greasy pub meals like chicken schnitzel/parmigiana, lasagna etc etc...drove me crazy.  As is the case with your partner and ladykeliens it has a lot to do with his upbringing.  After his brother committed suicide (my hubby was 8) it made his mother sick to cook food anymore, so his dad took over the cooking (when they didn't get take-away meals). 

Anyhow, I love my gourmet and multicultural food and we are really blessed here in Australia with some of the best and authentic restaurants, so I started taking him out to dinner.  Well! At first he would order the most predictable thing on the menu...boring, boring, boring...and then he would have a taste of what I had ordered (I had to convince him at first). The he would always ask for a taste. After a while he started saying/noticing that I always ordered something "better" than him and finally he started to ask me to order for him and we would share meals (swapping the plates half way through.  Now he orders for himself (thank god) and has developed his taste so much.  However, there are some things I still can't get him to eat like seafood (oysters, Morton bay bugs, scallops).  It was a long road to hoe!  We have been together now for 8 years.  As for meals at home is it possible to make healthy pita pizzas that he will eat?  And roast dinners are great.  If I were you I'd only make things that are easy to vary.  All that aside from the sound of your list you have been able to get him to adopt some new foods.  I reckon that if you can get a picky eater to drink that strawberry banana fusion you are doing pretty well really!

My husband was the same. When we first met, he fried EVERYTHING.  His meals consisted of either home-fried chicken and french fries, fast food or hot dogs.  At the same time, he is an entire foot taller than me, and weighs 100 lbs more (but is not fat - although by all rights he should be obese, the way he was eating!).

He also has "food rules."  He will not eat "breakfast food" for dinner, or "dinner food" for lunch.  He thinks I'm very strange because I will eat just about anything, and in strange combinations (to him), whenever the mood strikes.  Like he thinks you absolutely cannot eat pasta with chicken (??).  And baked beans should ONLY be eaten with chicken.  Things like that.

However, over 14 years, he has been converted to a few things which he now loves (plantains, smoothies, beef broccoli, chicken caesar salad) - only by my eating them and "enjoying" them so much or eating them so often that he finally broke down and tried them - and decided he liked them too.  

Since he's a grown-up, all I could do is to eat my own food and, most importantly, AT MY OWN PORTION SIZE (that was a tough one for him to understand at first) and let him eat his, but try to make his more healthy.  I began by shake-and-baking his chicken and oven-baking fries, and went from there.  I've come a little way, but he still has a fairly limited repertoire of "acceptable" foods, especially when he's stressed out (like hot dogs - I have been trying to get him to stop eating those since we met!). 

It drives me nuts because he still won't be adventurous when we travel - he wouldn't eat clam chowder in San Francisco or lobsters in Maine.  I have visions of eating at Wendy's in Venice!  But in the end, I just eat what I want, let him eat what he wants, and try to make things that are good enough for both of us most of the time - but when I want sushi, I'm still eating it on my own!

Zarelha - I honest to God have contemplated what he would do if we went to Italy. I was there by myself, but in a way I'm glad he didn't come, because there are no Wendy's!!! And he refuses to eat McDonalds. (Which, in a way is good, but Wendy's really isn't any better.)

It's actually one of the worst parts about it. Sometimes when I go out of town I want to go to some crazy local restaurant, but we have to steer clear until we find out what's on the menu. I'm not a huge fish/seafood fan, but going to Maine I'll still try things! =/ I absolutely love traveling though and we've tentatively planned that for our honeymoon we'll do a 14 day cruise to Norway (he actually has relatives there) but what is he going to eat?!

Unfortunately, I think it stresses me out more than him, because I care about him and want him to eat well. He never complains though if he goes hours and hours without eating and starts getting sick.

And LisaRoonie - We do seem to appear together!! And I'm so sorry to hear about your husband's situation. =( That must've been really difficult. In that case, it's such a hard thing, it's really difficult to blame anyone for the bad eating habits.

Where I live, in Georgia, US, we're blessed with fried food galore! I don't know if you know who Paula Deen is, but she is from Georgia and has basically made a career on putting sticks and sticks of butter in her food. Strangely, however, my good 'ol Southern boyfriend had to ask me what my mum was making when he came over and we were having pork chops... -_-;

Strangely, Australia is one place I have no desire to visit, haha! I was the Discovery Channel too much and just about everything poisonous that you can't even see is in Australia! I don't know how you people live there with so many deadly creatures!

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I thought my boyfriend had the worst eating habits of all time! I can't believe I'm not alone with this... He is in very good shape at 6% body fat with chest and arms to kill. Not only is it a mystery how he isn't over weight, it is quite unbelievable to me that he hasn't had a mild heart attack at his age of 26.

His diet consists of...

Pepperoni and Sausage Pizza, garlic cheese bread, spaghetti with tomato sauce (but NO pieces on tomato present), chicken parmesan, double bacon cheeseburger (PLAIN), chicken nuggets, french fries, corn, turkey and cheese sandwiches, and cereal.  But mostly pizza and burgers in access amounts; last night he ate 2 large pizzas by himself!

I got him to try green beans "They taste like trees" one piece of broccoli and he almost threw up. And part of a crab cake, which was the FIRST time he ever tried any type of seafood.

 His mom and I are very close and I have asked her what his eating habits were when he was a kid, she said she tried EVERYTHING to get him to try new foods as a kid, but nothing worked. Up until the age of 13 he ate PB&J every year for Thanksgiving dinner.

I am just so relieved to hear that his eating habits can slowly be changed. BIG GOAL: Sushi!

Thanks everyone for the posts! They all helped. :D


HA HA you guys live with my fiance!  His mother was (and is) horrible about food.  I think D LIVED off of peanut butter and jelly for a year.  If he didn't like it, that was OK, Mom will fry you up some french fries!.  UCK!  My parents had a strict "you don't have to like it, you just have to eat it policy" so I eat EVERYTHING.  When I moved in with D I implemented a better rule.  Just try it.  I will not get upset if you don't like it but at least try it.  He is eating better than he ever has, but he still eats like crap.  I got him to try calimari and that he loves, even when it is NOT fried.  He has come a long way, but I still can't get him to eat fruit. 

I just make him different stuff than I make myself mostly.  It is annoying, but it works for us.  And I REFUSE to fry anything.

Ladies, all I can say is appreciate it while it lasts.  Like I said hubby was picky.  He still is in a lot of ways.  At 25 he was working for McDonalds and then Burger King.  He was 6 foot 1  125 lbs with a 32 inch waist I was jealous of.  But that changes.  Hes 36 now.  Hasn't worked fast food in 10 years and now weighs about 315 lbs and is struggling to lose it.   He lost 5 and gained the whole thing back over the past two weeks being sick with the flu.  We started this at the beginning of June.  Ive lost almost 10 lbs.  Hes not keeping up with me.

Right now eating junk is fine for your men.  I tried to tell him when he was their age.  Eat the way you did in highschool while playing football and baseball and you will end up getting fat.  He laughed at me.  Now he wishes he had listened. So appreciate it while you have got it, get the cook book on how to hide the veggies in your kids foods and use it on your man and pray that he manages to stay fit and healthy. Because for most men somewhere around 30 that all goes by the wayside and their metabolism bites the dust and eating the way they are eating, it will eventually bite the dust.


OMG kaparsons! TWO pizzas? I thought watching the man down a triple whooper was bad, and his challenges to the waitress that he could finish a whole pizza embarrasing, but TWO?! Now that I simply could not allow, hahaha! (Because I wouldn't want to put up with the moaning afterward!

But my guy says the same thing about greens. He doesn't want to eat "tree" food. Ugh. My poor vegan sister and him have some serious disagreements. My mum was the same way - "eat it or you don't get anything" - not "I'll make you something special!"

Well, I already told him that when we have kids I'm not going out of my way to make him anything special. He's just going to have to learn to like it. Although he admited to me the other day, after going out for work at MY FAVORITE JAPANESE RESTAURANT, that he doesn't feel enough peer pressure from me to force him to try things he does't like. (Oh, yes, I did the understand "just /try/ it" thing as well, which in general I've been satisfied with.) But seriously. I have no hope of sushi, I'm just hoping for teriyaki chicken so we can go to sushi and he doesn't have to sit there with nothing the whole time.

At least, my guy knows he's going to get fat. He already gained weight and is embarrassed by it. (Although who would notice, I'm not sure! He gains it so evenly...) But I think his solution is working out, not changing his diet. But as long as he's concerned, I think that's a start! I know he'll feel worse when I get back to the weight I met him at, and he's subborn and competitive enough to do something about it.

The thing that hurts the most, though, is that when I asked his mum about his prior eating habits, she said he didn't have any problems really (or, at least, he would try things, and even loved crab legs, which I can't  possibly fathom!) until after they got divorced and his dad and some crazy woman he was dating teased him about foods and told him they would turn him the color of the food (prunes = purple) or whatever. I don't know how much I can believe what she said, but she didn't help the situation much by not reversing the affects. =/

well, i will speak from the other side as i am a super picky eater myself, not that my diet consists of junk food, i just dont really like a lot of things so my SO gets frustrated with me... (i dont eat cheese (except pizza, weird??), condiments, butter, etc, etc) but i do love fresh fruit, raw veggies, salads so i luck out in that sense...

HOWEVER, since i have started to cook i realize i do like things when they are cooked in certain ways...i never liked onions and peppers, but now i like them cooked into rice or meat, whatever.  also, i am the one doing most of the cooking so if i know he likes, for example, parm cheese on top of his meal, he will get it, i will just leave it off of mine...i suggest start cooking and experimenting with different foods, plus you can MAKE the unhealthy things but put a healthy twist on them..."oven fries", homemade pizza, tacos/meat sauce/hamburgers made with lean ground can swap out the white bread for sara lee's version that is wheat but tastes/looks just like white...there are so many options...and cooking is FUN :)  nothing beats sitting down to a delicious and healthy dinner that you both can enjoy
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This is soooo funny!  My husband is the same way & it kills me!!!  I've lost over 50 pounds & WILL keep it off, but he brings in Bojangles every night (he works late & doesn't like what I cook) & its SO HARD to stay out of his fries.  I make veggie burgers & basically healthly low-cal options of everything & he won't come near it!  His mother says, 'thats not what he's used to'.  Well, I'm not going to spend my evenings cooking 2 different things for 2 different people, so thats why he brings his own food home!  But I'm only human & God, do I love those cajun fries!  LOL!  Just be strong, right?

I don't live with my BF, and he isn't a picky eater..but of course, he keeps a lot of things in his kitchen that used to shove me off the wagon all the time, especially on weekends.

I allowed more wiggle room on weekends, but not enough to cover cupcakes or nacho cheese dip by the pound, yanno?

Honest to God, the only thing that has saved me from it is being low carb. Not only can I absolutely, positively *not* have those things, the cravings have vanished, too.

I simply don't want those things much anymore. Maybe it's the sugar addiction finally being broken.



Reading about picky eaters makes me way more depressed than reading about people struggling to lose 100 lbs.

I have to wonder how much of it has to do with location. I grew up in the middle of the Midwest, and the most exotic foods I ate before I went to college were nachos and sweet-and-sour chicken.

I went off to college and met my first serious girlfriend who grew up in downtown Chicago. She introduced me to Indian, Thai, Ethiopian, Mediterranean, and other ethnic foods.

When I moved to the San Francisco bay area, I started trying more new things under peer pressure: Sushi being the most notable food that I would never imagine enjoying.

Then I married a woman from Japan who has traveled extensively and lived in Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos) for many years. She eats things that I can't imagine eating (boiled eggs with fully formed chicks cooked inside - bones and all). She cooks foods for me that are alien and taste unlike anything I've ever tasted before. But I'll try (almost) all of them. I think it's only because I learned to enjoy food adventures earlier on in life.

My suggestion is to look into ethnic foods that are widely enjoyed by most Westerners: Pad Thai, Satay, Rogan Josh, Teriyaki, Katsudon, Schwerma, Chow Fun...All foods that involve a lot of recognizable meat or noodles, with few-to-no vegetables, and typically deep-fried or cooked in a rich but not "weird-tasting" sauce.

It helps if you live somewhere with a lot of restaurants to choose from. Only go to places that you know are good (Yelp?). And make the expedition an adventure, with no pressure. It's all about the fun of learning about something new.

Of course, if you actually travel abroad, you're stuck with the foods you can get (unless you're one of those people who eat at McDonalds every day while visiting which case...what's the point of living?). Traveling will certainly push you to try things you'd never try when sitting around your own house.


My boyfriend has no interest in healthy food. The only veggies he will eat are "normal" salad veggies (tomatoes, lettuce, cukes) or cooked peppers, onions, or tomatoes. Mayybe corn. He likes his beef and wouldn't touch anything wheat.

On his own, he eats spaghetti-o's and frozen foods. He also used to eat off paper plates every day... He is very supportive of my diet and I try to accommodate to his tastes 1-2 meals a week but be healthy about it. So we will eat together a couple times a week. Other times, we might eat at the same time but different food. Some days we might eat separately. He is open to trying new things SOMETIMES though - like last week I made turkey burgers.

You said you cooked him a frozen pizza - why can't he do that?? If we don't eat the same thing, I don't cook HIS food, only my own. Who says you have to eat together anyways? It's nice but every day gets crazy.

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I so relate to you.

I live with my boyfriend who is a fussy eater. So are both of his kids. He won't eat any vegetables or fruits, and drinks mainly pepsi-up to 2 litres a day.  He has had all of his teeth pulled and has dentures put in due to his diet. He eats a lot of chocolate and other junk.

Meal times are always an issue. I have had to change the way i cook everything. I cannot put any spices or  flavour in anything i must all be plain and bland or no one will eat it. If i want any spices, i have to cook myself a separate meal. I haven`t made a lot of the foods i used to make in a long makes me feel sad.

As far as the kids go, they are even fussier. i once made his son a plain bagel (one of the only foods he eats) and because it had sesame  seeds on it...he wouldn't eat it (yet he had a hamburger just days before with a sesame seed bun). At meal time, it is a battle. My boyfriend has to explain in detail any new food that we are trying to get him to eat..and tries to get him  to have even a couple of bites. It usually ends up with him gagging and spitting it up into the toilet.

His daughter has a diet of maybe 10 foods, which i can`t even name because whenever i ask her what she likes, she says she doesn`t know. If i hand her a bag of chips or chocolate cake, she will eat it. She is quite overweight, and has had almost all of her teeth crowned because they have all gone bad (i believe from her diet).

I`m afraid to make any meal, because i`m afraid they will be repulsed by it, and it makes me feel bad.

I love my boyfriend and his kids, but i`m having a really hard time dealing with this issue. I feel like i can`t make anyone happy. Maybe i should stop making meals all together. I dunno.

I feel your pain.

Original Post by tincognito:
Sometimes when I go out of town I want to go to some crazy local restaurant, but we have to steer clear until we find out what's on the menu.

Stop letting him control where you (y'all) eat.  Trade off: He picks one time, and the next time, you pick and he can eat from the bread basket if there's nothing else he likes.  His mother spoiled him enough; don't keep it going.

Repeat this over and over to yourself: I can't eat what he eats (nor the amount), and life isn't fair. AGAIN and AGAIN. 

They generally have higher metabolisms and more muscle tissue than we do (even as we all age).

Just make sure you're eating as well as you can. The best way you can influence him is by being a good example. Hang in there. Our society is a minefield of diet temptation. I agree with the idea that every temptation resisted is a victory and makes you stronger.

My husband is a picky eater, but will eat salads as long as i only put croutons and a few pieces of tomato on. He's also not very food oriented, which helps. I've seen women drive themselves completely bonkers trying to change a man in some way. If and when he wants to, he will change his eating habits, and not a moment before that.

The post about alternating picking the restaurant??? RIGHT ON! He shouldn't always get to pick.

Am I the only wife representing??? I'm a girl and an extremely picky eater. I don't even feign eating disorder-like excuses. I just say, "Don't be offended, I'm not adventurous in my food choices." As I eat a McDonald's burger. I have literally never tasted anything that a professional cook in my husband's group of friends has prepared because of this reason (yes, I walk in with McDonalds after she's prepared food for hours-sorry). My list is green giant canned asperagus, "normal salad veggies", cheeses, Japanese food, steamed (not fresh!) broccoli, food from a box, salads (from fast food places or restaurants only), sushi/seafood, and small portions of beef, plain avocados, french fries. If it's not listed, I won't eat it. I actually go as far as that if the colour/texture isn't to my liking, I won't try it. My husband on the other hand is on a strict diet; won't eat anything from a box. He makes very...adventurous...meals from scratch with a bunch of spices I've never even heard of. That being said, I understand your fight: I suggest eating two separate meals-together. Don't be offended: let him make his meal, you yours. You don't have to cook both meals. :-) You really can't get us to 'Just try it because I love you.'-we're picky and proud. Eat different meals together. And don't worry about his health. I'm 110 pounds because I'm such a picky eater but over all pretty healthy.


Note: Some of my preferences are NOT my choice. I have a severe tree nut allergy that includes coconut, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans...can't even breathe in almonds without having shortness of breath.

My boyfriend is so picky. He only eats meat (any meat of any kind) mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, canned green beans (he has to be in the mood), and the only condiment he'll use is frank's red hot sauce (only on wings) and fries.

Most of the time, I don't care. We cook our own meals, so it doesn't matter to me what he eats. But I can't believe he has no desire to try anything new. Ugh! Men!

Normally a lurker, but had to respond to this from the other side. I'm a male, 28 years old and am a partially reformed fussy/picky eater. I've been married a few years now to a girl who is quite the opposite, like you lot, an 'i'll eat anything' person.

When we got married, I was horrific. Plain chicken, wouldn't touch red meat, fried fish, but no other seafood, nothing with real flavour. Foods like Indian, Mexican, Asian food of any sort... forget about it, not a chance.

Things do change though... I now eat parts of all of those things, so much so that if I had to pick a favourite cuisine, Mexican & Indian would be right up the top of the list.

I think the big thing has to be that he has to WANT to get better and to be more adventurous and to eat more. No matter how much you pester, if he doesn't WANT to do it, then it won't happen. So give it some time, you may win, or you may lose. Eventually he'll work it out, well I did anyway. I still eat some bad food, such is life, but my wife is much the better for my individual choice to start trying harder at it.

We spend our time between Sydney, Australia and Boston, MA due to my work and study commitments as well as seeing family, so the last thing I will comment on is that don't watch the Discovery Channel too much. You won't get poisoned or stung by anything in Australia unless you actively go looking for it. If you are in the city (ie Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane etc) then you're about as likely to get impacted upon by nature as you are in New York, Boston, Los Angeles...


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