A quarter of British couples are too tired to experiment with evening meals when they get home from work, according to research.
A study of 2,000 men and women in relationships found many don’t have the time or energy to search for recipes, trawl through supermarkets for ingredients or spend hours prepping and rustling up exotic dinners.
Overall two thirds of couples will eat the same food night after night, despite being bored with what they are serving up.
And researchers found couples are spending at least 10 minutes a day disagreeing about what to eat – with common rows including what they should eat for the meal, who should have to wash up, and whether the meal is too unhealthy.
Lack of inspiration and variety when it comes to what to eat for dinner are at the heart of many dinner time disagreements.
Andre Dupin, head chef at HelloFresh UK, which carried out the study, said: “Food is central to most people’s lives – we think, talk and disagree about food all day every day.
“For many people, the evening meal is the prime time to catch up with their partner after a long day.
“Finding something tasty to eat that you will both like and is easy to cook is a way to avoid daily disagreements about food.”
Other arguments regularly had in kitchens up and down the country are what time to eat, who never finishes their meal and therefore wastes valuable food, and whether or not someone is a good or bad cook.
As a consequence of these rows, 12 per cent of unhappy couples have ended up eating separately, while a further 13 per cent have refused to cook for their other half altogether.
More than one in 10 adults have gone as far as ordering a takeaway for themselves – and not their partner – when disagreeing about what to have for dinner.
Researchers via OnePoll found the average couple has the same five meals every single week, changing just two for something new.
The five meals which are always on rotation are roast dinner, spaghetti Bolognese, fish and chips, pizza – and a sandwich.
And a third of couples admit they would be more adventurous with their food choices if given the chance – but blame their partner for being awkward and stuck in their ways.
More than half would love to have more variety in their evening meals – but of these, four in 10 say their partner doesn’t like change or eat anything adventurous.
A quarter say new ingredients are too expensive, while 15 per cent haven’t the energy to start researching new recipes, and when they do they’re not bothered finding all the necessary ingredients to make the dish.
Dupin added: “Often the lack of variety at dinner time is simply down to a lack of time, and energy and inspiration.
“There’s really no need to fall out with the one you love over boring dinners – there are ways of mixing up mealtimes, such as having fresh ingredients delivered or trying out different recipes, which will solve those daily dinner time debates.
“This means less time arguing, and more time with a loved one over a meal you’ll both enjoy.”
TOP FOOD ARGUMENTS
1. What you’re going to have for the meal
2. What time to eat
3. The cook makes too much mess / doesn’t tidy as they go along
4. Whether someone is interfering in the cooking
5. Whether you should have a takeaway
6. Whether a meal should include an item the other person doesn’t like, such as mushrooms
7. Who should wash up
8. How spicy a meal should be
9. Who should cook
10. Who lets foods go off before using them
11. If your meals are too unhealthy
12. Who eats all the snacks in the cupboard without replacing them
13. The quality of washing up
14. Who never finishes their meal, wasting valuable food
15. Why there’s so much of a certain ingredient hoarded in the cupboard, yet more is being bought
16. The fact the meal is the same as every other week
17. The fact the food is boring
18. Whether you should ‘meal plan’ for the week ahead
19. Who buys the most junk food
20. Who should shop for the food
21. If your meals are too healthy
22. Whether or not there is enough sauce
23. Milk going off before being used
24. If someone is a good or bad cook
25. Someone swooping in to take the glory