Interdietary Relationships: How to Cook for Different Dietary Restrictions

You're a vegetarian, your partner was raised meat and potatoes (and not changing anytime soon), your son has a peanut allergy and your daughter is allergic to dairy. How do accommodate all of these different dietary restrictions without losing your mind? 

What if you're a vegetarian and you significant other eats meat? What if you or your kids have an allergy? You don't have to make separate meals. Learn how to streamline meal planning and how to cook for different dietary restrictions or what I like to call interdietary relationships from www.goingzerowaste.com

How do you do it without cooking four different meals? Which sounds absolutely exhausting by the way. I could definitely see the appeal of eating out, but man that would get expensive.

Plus you really wouldn't have control of what you were eating or the amount of waste being produced. Growing up allergic to dairy and now not eating meat, I have always had dietary restrictions. 

Justin is a pretty picky eater. He was raised meat and potatoes, and I avoid meat and dairy. As you can see, we have a dietary gap. 

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Sitting down to a shared meal is something very important to me. Eating good, wholesome food is really important to me too. I don't want to spend hours in the kitchen making two separate meals, so I had to learn how to make us both happy, full, and nourished. 

That is something I refuse to compromise on... so here it is the ONE and only rule for making interdietary relationships work effortlessly.

It's so simple. After you read it, you're going to be like, "Why is this so obvious!? Why haven't I implemented this before?" 

"the base of the meal should be something you both can eat, garnish with preference." 

Boom.

Life changing.

No lie.

I have a list of a whole bunch of meals we both like on my five-minute meal plan post. Which you should definitely check out. (It's a completely different way to meal plan based on frequency of cravings.)

related: Dating with Lifestyle Differences

1. agree on flavor preference:   

Justin doesn't particularly like Indian or Thai food. I LOVE both especially because they so easily lend themselves to vegetarian and dairy free. He prefers Italian and American food. Both of those are very dairy and meat heavy. 

But, we can always meet in the middle over Mexican food. It's definitely tex mex, but why does this combo work so well? 

2. use the same base:

It works so well because our main components of the cuisine are the same. We can both agree on beans, rice, and tortillas. 

3. garnish with preference: 

Here's where you get to be creative. Let's say we're making tacos. I'll sautee some bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, and garlic in the skillet. After they've finished, I'll add in some ground beef and sprinkle with a little bit of cheese.

Justin will get a little bit of veggies, the meat and the cheese. I'll get a WHOLE bunch of veggies. Just the way I like it. We'll both top with plenty of guac and salsa.

We both have something we love to eat in a timely manner. Sometimes, I bring out the big 15" skillet and do half and half on the skillet to save time.  

4. other examples:

Here's a list of some other things we like to make if you're looking for inspiration. 

Spaghetti is the easiest. We can easily agree on a base of sauteed mushrooms, spinach, and garlic. Add parm and a little ground beef for him. 

Chicken parm for him and eggplant parm (without the parm) for me! The same steps are happening with the breading, frying, and saucing. It only takes probably a minute more to slice the eggplant. 

We both love fried rice. It can easily be packed full of veggies. We both like eggs, so this is perfect for us.

Sometimes, you find really great recipes that work for everyone, but it's not a dealbreaker if you don't.

By using this method and changing garnishes, you're not severely limiting yourself to only the recipes you both like. If that were the case, we'd eat nothing but PB&J and fried rice. 

It's not that Justin has to have meat or dairy, but it can be difficult to find recipes that he really likes that don't involve those ingredients. 

By making the same bases and changing the garnishes, we're eating a fuller diet. He's eating more vegetables and less meat and dairy. Which is great for the environment and our health. Wins all the way around! 

Are you in an interdietary relationship? What are some of the meals you can agree on?