Food Variety: Too Much Of A Good Thing?
Did you know eating the same foods every day for one or two meals means you have a better shot at losing weight?
I came across that little tidbit a few years ago when I read YOU: On A Diet. It’s harder for some people to make smart food decisions when they have too many options. If you know what you are going to eat every day, you’re less likely to eat something unhealthy or have cravings.
At first I resisted the idea…it seemed unrealistic. I mean, variety is the spice of life, right? My variety consisted of eating out, ordering pizza or figuring out what to make at home. The result: I packed on the pounds.
For the last year, I’ve embraced the idea of eating the same thing every day for two of my meals — breakfast and lunch.
June of last year, I settled into a nice routine for breakfast — 2 eggs, 1/2 tomato and 1/4 avocado. Sometimes I might add bacon or another veggie like asparagus into the mix.
When I started weight lifting in October, my trainer gave me lots of suggestions for breakfast to increase my carb count. I felt overwhelmed. After a couple of months I went back to my eggs, tomato and avocado routine. To give me a boost on days I’m strength training, in the mornings I’ll eat 1/2 cup of steel-cut oatmeal and 1/4 grapefruit.
Both options are pretty simple and only takes me minutes to make each morning, although I usually make the oatmeal the night before (steel-cut oats don’t cook quick). I never have to get up and figure out what to eat. As an added bonus, no points to calculate — I’ve already done the heavy lifting.
For lunch, a salad with protein. It’s a no-brainer and I love it. Sure I change-up the ingredients, but I know what I’m eating.
Dinner is where the magic happens, but within reason. While I normally stick to my weekly menu, I allow for spontaneity like making a healthy curry chicken and cauliflower rice on a whim.
As I start my Paleo Challenge next month, I don’t plan to make changes to my breakfast or lunch (the oatmeal is a no-no for the challenge) other than organic veggies, cage-free eggs and grass-fed protein.
When it comes to food variety, I guess less really is more. By limiting my food options I find that I stay on track, don’t miss meals and avoid eating when I’m not hungry.