I am a creature of habit.
I love routine, as I think most people do, and limiting decision fatigue makes me feel a lot more powerful and a lot less anxious.
Most people eat a meal or snack at least 3-4 times per day (we’ll go with 3 for this point). That’s 21-28 decisions that you have to make each week just about meals in general (not counting the mini decisions you have to make within each meal). If you’re looking at the whole month, that’s 84-112 meal decisions!
Eating similar meals or combinations of ingredients until you tire of them can take a lot of stress out of your life. We do need to have a variety of fruits and vegetables to get a balanced array of nutrients, but too much variety often leads to a lack of success with sticking to a meal or nutrition plan.
You can make your meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking a lot simpler by having a structure for each meal that you follow. Say for lunch you start with a broccoli, turkey and rice bowl. One week you can have chicken instead, the next you can go back to turkey and switch to sweet potatoes instead of rice, the next you can have spinach and brussels sprouts instead of broccoli. Then the fourth week you can switch to a giant salad and repeat the same process with a different base.
This gives you direction and let’s you get into a routine that will make your life easier.
For the past 6 weeks I’ve been alternating between a series of meals that I truly enjoy eating, make me feel good, don’t make me feel restricted and help me hit my macros. When I get tired of one, I sub it out until I want it back again. Here’s a few examples:
Bagels, cookies, tortillas? It’s all about moderation.
If you’re looking for weight loss, sticking with “whole”/ nutritious foods instead of bagels and cookies will likely keep you a little more full. However, if you’re maintaining or every once in a while when on your weight loss journey, fitting a “less traditionally healthy” food into your diet might just be the different between balance and going totally off the rails.
For me, I want to make sure that I’m eating:
- enough fruits and vegetables to get fiber and nutrients
- enough protein to build and maintain muscle mass
- enough carbs to fuel and recover from my workouts
- enough healthy fat to help absorb nutrients and balance hormones
- not too much food that I’m in an unhealthy calorie surplus
- not too much restriction that I feel my diet isn’t sustainable
Build your own nutrition rules, find you staple meals and you’ll hopefully find yourself feeling more confident and facing less decision fatigue!