Food and Love
The importance of food choice and meal prep in relationships.
Posted August 28, 2019 | Reviewed by Gary Drevitch
Whether we realize it or not, food plays a big role in our romantic lives. Our initial dates often involve getting to know one another over carefully planned meals. We often introduce our romantic partners to family and friends over food and drinks, and the ritual of gathering around a table is how we share the day’s events with our partners. Being that food is so important, it is worthwhile to have a discussion with a partner about food choice and prep early on in a relationship.
Food Choice and Romantic Relationships
Research has shown that the stage of a romantic relationship a couple is in can affect eating choices. More specifically, females are influenced by male partners during the earlier stages of relationships, especially during their formation. Later on in a relationship, when it is more established, the reverse is true: At this point men are likely to be influenced by females' eating habits (Hasford & Kidwell, 2017).
This shift is thought to mirror traditional heterosexual dating roles, whereby men are usually responsible for initiating and planning dates, and thus are in control of the food. However, once a couple moves in together, women traditionally were in charge of the household's decisions surrounding meals and food.
We no longer unilaterally follow traditional gender roles, and relationships today tend to be more equitable when it comes to household decisions. Food choices are now much more likely to be made together. Therefore, it is imperative to have a discussion with your partner about the types of foods you will and will not eat, as well as how important a certain diet is to you.
Food Prep and Romantic Relationships
Not only is what we eat important to discuss, but so is the way we choose to prepare household meals. Time spent together is an important part of relationships. In fact, research has shown that couples that participate in joint activities experience more marital satisfaction (Orthner & Mancini, 1990). A great way to connect food and activities would be to cook with your partner. This would allow the two of you to come together to plan and execute a delicious meal. For those of you who are inexperienced in the kitchen, several meal kit services provide easy-to-follow instructions and pre-portioned ingredients to help even the most novice chef plan a delectable feast.
Some Questions to Ask
Being that our romantic partners play a large role in influencing our food choice, it is important that we are on the same page regarding eating habits and food prep approaches. Following are some questions that you may want to ask your partner about food and family meals.
- Do you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies?
- How important is keeping a balanced diet to you?
- How important are home-cooked meals to you?
- Would you like to help plan and cook the meals?
- Are you a good cook or would you rather rely on a meal prep kit?
- How would you like to divide the responsibility of shopping for and preparing the meals?
- How often do you want to go out to eat?
- Are there any foods that you love? Hate?
Hasford, J., Kidwell, B., & Kidwell, V. L. (2017). Happy wife, happy life: Food choices in romantic relationships. Journal of Consumer Research. https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucx093
Orthner, D. K., & Mancini, J. A. (1990). Leisure impacts on family interaction and cohesion. Journal of Leisure Research, 22, 125-137.