A few months ago in my house, the unthinkable happened. My husband, who up until that point had been a steak-eating, cheese-devouring lover of food, decided to make a huge lifestyle change by going vegan. (Yes, I'm still in shock. And somewhat in mourning.)
When he first told me about his decision, I laughed at him and said something like, "Yeah, ok babe. Good luck with that." I figured he'd be into it for all of about two weeks before finally caving and ordering a fat, juicy hamburger.
Guess what folks? Months later, the husband is still digging the vegan thing. And while he's lost 20 pounds, so I can't really get on his case and give him a hard time about not taking me to my favorite steak house in the city anymore, learning to adapt to making dinners that cater to two different diets has been a learning process.
Even though I'm a proud, self-proclaimed carnivore who could eat red meat every single day for the rest of her life and never get tired of it, at first, I resorted to eating whatever it was my husband was eating for dinner so we wouldn't have to cook two separate meals.
But it became clear to me fairly quickly that if I'm going to function properly on any given day of the week, I need my protein -- animal protein.
And that's why somewhere in between him going vegan and me losing my mind -- we learned to compromise, and now making separate dinners is part of our routine, and it's really not all that hard.
If you have a similar situation where either you or your husband is vegan or vegetarian and the other is not, here are a few tips to make meal time a bit smoother.
1. Share side dishes -- Since both of us love veggies, we double up on whatever healthy side dish it is we're making so that we not only have enough for dinner, but so there are leftovers for lunch the next day as well. (Total win-win.)
2. Add meat later -- Now that the temperatures are a bit chillier, we've been enjoying lots of yummy soups and stews. While the pot is simmering, I'll throw some ground turkey or chicken into the skillet to brown, and then I add it to the soup or stew when we're ready to eat so he gets his vegan dinner, and I get my meat fix.
3. Portion control -- I either buy meat in pre-packaged single-serving portions, or I take out a couple chicken breasts at a time and freeze the rest so that I don't cook up an entire packet and have some of it go to waste. I certainly don't need to eat four pieces of chicken in one sitting.
4. Get an indoor grill -- We have a Cuisinart griddler, which is the new love of my life. While my husband makes veggie stir-fry for himself on the stove, I throw my meat on the griddler, and that way we both wind up with delicious meals that fit our lifestyles.
Do you have a similar situation? What tips can you offer to make meal preparation easier?
Image via Christian Haugan/Flickr