I admit it. I'm lazy in the kitchen. The idea of cooking something new every night for only one or two people seems like too much effort. Sure, if I'm cooking for a big dinner party I'll be motivated to cook up a storm, but for just me or me and my husband, the inspiration level isn't so high. As a result, we tend to eat the same thing five days a week or so. This may sound boring, but the more we do this, the more I like it. Here's why:
- It Makes Shopping Easier and More Cost Predictable: Eating the same foods every week allows you to budget properly for groceries and in the end, makes shopping faster and easier. Every Sunday when I food shop, it takes about 20 minutes, because at this point, it has become very systematic. I know what I want and I don't even need to make a list. I get in and get out and always spend within $5 - $10 from week to week.
- It Makes Weight Loss or Maintenance a Lot Easier: Whether you want to maintain weight or lose weight, eating consistently the same things can make reaching your goals a lot easier. Finding healthy foods that you enjoy and entering them into tools like FitDay.com can help you learn what will give you an optimal breakdown of calories, Fat, Protein, Carbs, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. This gives you a successful eating 'formula', which means you will never have to count calories or nutritional recommended daily allowances again. You know what works and repeating the formula most days will help you to reach your goal without a lot of time and thought.
- Knowing Your Body: Eating the same foods helps you understand your body and how it reacts to foods. When you eat new or atypical foods, you will be able to hone in on what foods make you feel too full, gassy, not full enough, etc. Further, it will also give you insights into how your body reacts to chemicals, preservatives and spices. If you eat healthy most of the time, your body will expect that, and so, if you throw it a curve ball, it will let you know whether or not it likes it. For instance, if you don't usually have caffeine or drinks with a lot of sugar, you may find that when you do, you get jitters. I know personally, if on a rare occasion I eat fried foods, my body will feel awful within an hour and sometimes into the next day.
- It Makes Cooking a Lot Easier: I use whole foods or ingredients and don't try to get overly complicated. Breakfast usually consists of a half or a whole grapefruit, a whey protein shake and a cup of coffee. Lunch always includes a huge salad and some sort of protein, usually an egg-white omelet. On Sunday nights, I tend to whip up a big batch of baked or grilled chicken (changing up the spices or sauces from week to week), which I can reheat the rest of the week and pair off with another big salad for dinner. Lastly, I'll have a couple of well-balanced snacks (nutrition bars or a Greek yogurt parfait) in between meals. All of this is pretty much routine and as a result, it is very easy and saves time.
- Greater Appreciation for Off-Days: Having a routine for meals makes dining out or those times you do get creative in the kitchen all the more meaningful. New dishes and flavors have much more significance and tend to taste extra scrumptious.
- Healthy Behavior on Off-Days: If you find the optimal 'formula' from #1 above, you will have a good baseline for when you don't eat the same foods. You will become very accustomed to how much of what kinds of foods you need and will be able to use that as a guide for the days you digress.
Trust me, I'm not implying that this is the only way to eat, but it sure can simplify things and make navigating healthy eating a lot easier. If you have kids, this way of eating, I understand, is challenging. But remember, spices, seasonings and sauces can make a simple food like chicken, seem quite different from night to night.
Do you eat the same foods often? Have you found any other benefits to doing so?