- Eating the same meals day after day can save time, but make sure you don’t miss out on any nutrients.
- Balance healthy eating and convenience by incorporating protein and plants into every meal.
- You can also swap out different ingredients in recipes for easy variety in your menu.
If you’re a busy person, have a hectic schedule, or just don’t like cooking, it’s easy to fall into the pattern of eating the same or similar meals almost every day.
This could mean that your diet is missing important nutrients.
It’s possible to eat the same meals every day and still be healthy, but it all depends on what those meals are, according to certified nutritionist Brigitte Zeitlin.
“If you eat pizza for dinner every night, you’re missing out on an opportunity to eat other, more nutritious foods. If you have that same stir-fry and it’s loaded with veggies, it’s full of those nutrients, even if they’re the same things,” Zeitlin told Insider.
A consistent menu of the day can also have some benefits, such as: B. Reduce the stress of meal planning, save money on groceries, and add some structure to your routine. Here’s how Zeitlin says you can avoid the potential pitfalls by adding a balance of nutrients to your diet.
Consistency can be great for a healthy diet
For most people who stick to a similar daily meal plan, convenience is one of the main benefits.
“It saves preparation and time. That can be good if it makes your life less stressful at a time when everything is so damn stressful,” Zeitlin said.
It can also help establish a routine, which is beneficial when trying to build healthier eating habits, such as: For example, avoiding processed foods. Planning ahead and eating the same things every day can reduce the stress of everyday decision-making.
These healthier choices are also more likely to stick if you repeat them over and over again.
“Consistency is a good thing when trying to develop and maintain new habits. If you’re trying to eat healthier, that can be really helpful because you know exactly what you’re going to have,” Zeitlin said.
Prioritize protein sources
If your chosen meals are lacking certain nutrients, set your whole week for a fall. Nutrient deficiencies can leave you feeling low on energy, mentally foggy, or dissatisfied with your food.
To prevent this, Zeitlin recommends adding protein to every meal, whether it’s meat, chicken, fish, eggs, or beans. Getting enough protein is crucial for a healthy metabolism, muscle growth, strong bones, and energy.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, even when you’re very busy, Zeitlin said.
Zeitlin recommends looking for pre-cooked protein sources, like roast chicken or grilled fish, that are suitable for multiple meals, along with oven roasting an assortment of vegetables.
“Healthy eating doesn’t have to be elaborate,” she said.
Aim for three different product colors at every meal
Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals are also essential for health. To get enough of it, Zeitlin advises trying to eat more vegetables and fruits, at least three colors a day.
That’s because the different colors in the products — from deep red berries to leafy greens to brightly colored peppers and squashes — indicate different phytochemicals, or plant compounds, with important nutrients and health benefits.
Dietitians commonly refer to this strategy as “eating the rainbow,” but you don’t have to make every meal a salad to reap the benefits. Instead, try adding a few different types of fruits and vegetables each time you eat.
“We don’t eat in isolation, the whole day counts,” said Zeitlin.
Try your favorite recipes with slightly different ingredients
“Part of food and our diet is enjoyment. They want to look forward to a meal and make it feel soothing or exciting, and that usually comes from changing our taste buds,” Zeitlin said.
If you’re not a fan of cooking, you can still shake things up a bit without increasing your stress by using the same cooking techniques for different types of proteins and vegetables.
Zeitlin recommends a skillet with peppers, onions, and tofu. You can try the same strategy with chicken, broccoli, and mushrooms instead.
Think about how you prepare your food
Finally, use healthy cooking techniques like oven roasting, steaming, frying, or sautéing in olive oil and similar healthy fats. This can help you get the most nutrients from your food without adding too many empty calories or saturated fats.