Is Variety the Spice of Life?

HelPur25
HelPur25 Posts: 23 Member
I'm the type of person who doesn't mind eating the same breakfast and lunch most days, and having different various meals for dinner. Honestly, I probably wouldn't even mind the same dinner most days, if it was something I really liked. I only mix things up to make sure I'm getting all the nutrients I need, and to keep other people in my house happy.

How about you? Can you eat the same meals over and over again, or do you need a lot of variety in your meals?
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Replies

  • NYPhotographer2021
    NYPhotographer2021 Posts: 502 Member
    I don't share my food diary here because it's so boring. I eat what I like, and basically the same foods all the time. I've lost 40 pounds in 5 months so I know the food I eat is what is helping me. I might eat, say breakfast, at dinner time, or mix it up that way. Luckily, I really like the foods I eat, otherwise, I could never keep doing this diet. I am starting to eat a bit more now, that I am near to my goal. But again, no fancy recipes or foods. I also live alone, so there is that.
  • nossmf
    nossmf Posts: 3,476 Member
    When I was a bachelor, I made the same 3 meals each week, with a large enough portion to allow one reheated leftover. Consequently my dinner pattern went ABC-ABC-Sunday dine out/pizza.

    As a married father, I try to rotate through a list of about 25 meals I've prepared and the family has enjoyed, just for the sake of variety. Throw in a couple new meal experiments my wife finds online, plus about once a week pizza for my teens, and I try not to repeat the same meal more than once per month, definitely not more than every couple weeks. Variety, but also nutritional profiles.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,846 Member
    Breakfasts are routinely one of two things, depending on whether I'm heading out to row (in season), or staying at home for a while. I love the latter breakfast, my oatmeal concotion, so much, that I'll eat that for lunch sometimes if I didn't have it for breakfast. In Winter, lunch is sometimes more graze-y than a real meal all at one time, and can vary. (Sometimes I skip it altogether.)

    Dinners are extremely varied, because I like it that way, but also because I like to use different veggies/fruits and protein sources (especially as I'm vegetarian) for better-rounded nutrition. I'm a one-person household these days, so I have no one else to please.

    I don't handle morning well, so formulaic breakfasts work for me. Other than that, I want and need variety. I don't even use recipes, generally, I just have meal patterns for dinner, different proportions and maybe even ingredients every time. (Examples of a meal pattern are things like tostadas, omelet, pasta with veggies and some kind of sauce, etc. Details change within that framework, spontaneously, while cooking.) I love trying new foods.

    I'm aware of the research that suggests that monotonous meals make weight management easier, but I don't care. I'm not doing that. NopeNopeNope. I'm also maintaining around my goal weight plenty well enough (BMI in lower 20s, normal BMI range, for 6+ years now, after 30 or so previous years of overweight/obesity). For me, not only is monotonous eating unpleasant, it seems to be unnecessary (thankfully).

    I do think that varying veggies/fruits, in particular, is a good idea for nutrition reasons.
  • nooshi713
    nooshi713 Posts: 4,842 Member
    If it is a something I enjoy a lot then I don’t mind eating it frequently but I still like variety.
  • chris89topher
    chris89topher Posts: 386 Member
    I'm one of those weird creatures that is very happy to eat pretty much the same few things over and over for long periods of time. I'll maybe switch up parts or components of my meals sometimes, but generally I have a small number of favorite meals I rotate though. I think it would bore most people, but I love it this way.
  • ReenieHJ
    ReenieHJ Posts: 9,511 Member
    Xellercin wrote: »
    There's actually research about this, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now, but the more variety you have in your food, the more likely you are to overeat. Repetitive food helps your satiety signals kick in more easily.

    I bulk cook 3 dishes each week and rotate through them for lunch and dinner, so a lot of repetition, and I can really notice that it's easy to not finish my plate and instead stop when I'm full when I'm eating the same few dishes over and over.

    Hmmm, interesting. It kind of is what I've found as well. I stick to tried and true foods. Besides I'm a lazy wench and don't like cooking all that much. :( So I'm not very good at it.
    When it comes to eating, I stay basic, easy, repetitive, and healthy-ish. But I *know* if I started adding many different things, I'd be all over the map with calories. :(
  • ReenieHJ
    ReenieHJ Posts: 9,511 Member
    @nossmf You're the cook in the household?? Good for you!!
    I think that's what put me off cooking so much was trying to cook for a family, trying new things, and everybody had an opinion, which generally wasn't very good. :( The food was good but the fact child #1 didn't like onions, #2 didn't like sauces #3 didn't like whatever their hated food of the week was, plus dh certainly had opinions about it all because it wasn't fast food type stuff. Oy.

    I know this is off topic but IMO women do NOT have to be the designated chef and dishwasher in the household. Just sayin'....... :)
  • HelPur25
    HelPur25 Posts: 23 Member
    edited January 22
    I think it depends a lot on whether or not you live alone. When I lived alone, things were much more repetitive (and, not coincidentally, I managed my weight much more easily). Now that I live with my partner, I feel that I have to rotate between what I would normally cook for myself and what my partner likes. To be fair, he does a lot of cooking, but it's not always as healthy as I would cook for myself (think meat and potatoes, bread, or rice, sometimes all 3). Veggies and fruits only cross his mind if I remind him.

    This post has turned out to be more interesting than I anticipated! Keep the comments and insights coming!
  • helen_goldthorpe
    helen_goldthorpe Posts: 340 Member
    I have the same breakfast almost every day. Lunch is the same wrap 4 days per week, soup one day per week and then we usually eat out the other two days.

    But in the evening I experiment with new recipes most evenings and there is relatively little repetition.
  • wilson10102018
    wilson10102018 Posts: 1,306 Member
    I have had the same breakfast 6 days a week for about 30 years. Love the consistency. I fix something different on Sundays.
  • BarbaraHelen2013
    BarbaraHelen2013 Posts: 1,859 Member
    I’m quite surprised by the notion that repetitive meal plans make weight control easier. Definitely not the case for me.

    I like variety, lots of variety. If I was sitting down to the same old foods all the time I’d go crazy, craving all the other flavours, cuisines, textures that I’d be missing out on. Nothing more sating to me than a dish with new flavours or a new way to combine them. A little goes a long way if it’s delicious! Bland and boring would have me reaching for ‘extras’ to try and satisfy my taste buds.

    I also think that variety is important for gut health and your immune system. So I think I’d be concerned if I was only dipping my toe in the vast food pool.

    I tend to cook on the fly most of the time, day to day, and it’s something I’ve enjoyed doing very much since I was a child. I spend a fair amount of leisure time reading and researching various cuisines and recipes and new ways to do things that lower the calories or eliminate oil or dairy etc. I’m vegetarian rather than vegan but still am fascinated by the experimental fun of creating delicious food, that’s often better than the ‘original’!
  • scarlett_k
    scarlett_k Posts: 796 Member
    There's research to suggest that eating 30 different types of plant based foods per week is good for your gut microbiome. Seems like a reasonable metric to me and entirely achievable. And then there's the "5 a day" of fruit and veg the NHS peddles although I try to aim for 5-10 a day.

    I sometimes eat the same thing if it's something that will go off quickly, or if I have leftovers, but I couldn't stand eating the same thing day in day out, or even the same meals every week or even every month... I have a vast array of recipe books I choose from and while there are some recipes I make more often than others there must be a couple of hundred recipes I could choose from as "go to" recipes at this point. Of course I don't leaf through all of them at once, I pick 2-4 books and select a couple of weeks worth of recipes at a time, make a shopping list, and that's me sorted for the fortnight.
  • Xellercin
    Xellercin Posts: 802 Member
    I’m quite surprised by the notion that repetitive meal plans make weight control easier. Definitely not the case for me.

    I like variety, lots of variety. If I was sitting down to the same old foods all the time I’d go crazy, craving all the other flavours, cuisines, textures that I’d be missing out on. Nothing more sating to me than a dish with new flavours or a new way to combine them. A little goes a long way if it’s delicious! Bland and boring would have me reaching for ‘extras’ to try and satisfy my taste buds.

    I also think that variety is important for gut health and your immune system. So I think I’d be concerned if I was only dipping my toe in the vast food pool.

    I tend to cook on the fly most of the time, day to day, and it’s something I’ve enjoyed doing very much since I was a child. I spend a fair amount of leisure time reading and researching various cuisines and recipes and new ways to do things that lower the calories or eliminate oil or dairy etc. I’m vegetarian rather than vegan but still am fascinated by the experimental fun of creating delicious food, that’s often better than the ‘original’!

    I think I already explained that I rotate through different bulk recipes each week, so my repetition is within each week, bit constant.

    I'm a former vegetarian chef and make incredible dishes each week. I'll repeat a meal a few times and then won't have it again for a year because I have well over 150 different recipes that I cycle through.

    But yes, the repetition within the week means there's never any urge to over eat at any given meal.
  • HelPur25
    HelPur25 Posts: 23 Member
    Even when I was repeating a lot, I definitely went through phases or seasonal variations.

    When I lived alone, on Sundays during cold months, I would make a big pot of soup. The ingredients would vary depending upon what I had on hand, but the formula was basically the same (veggies, beans, protein, maybe barley or rice). I would take bowls of soup to work for lunch all week long. Then when it got warmer, I may make salads and something from the grill to take for lunch all week.

    For breakfast, I also went through phases. Sometimes it would be scrambled eggs with spinach every day. Then I went through a phase of oatmeal mixed with Greek yogurt and fruit. These phases can last several months to a year or more.
  • COGypsy
    COGypsy Posts: 771 Member
    I hate cooking more than I crave variety, so I usually make a vat of something and eat it a couple of times a day until it’s gone. I have pre made eggs and meat in the freezer if there’s something else I’m really craving, but otherwise as long as it’s made and ready to heat up, I’m fine.
  • ToffeeApple71
    ToffeeApple71 Posts: 92 Member
    I love cooking and trying new dishes and flavours. Now that there's only myself and hubby I find we're eating leftovers regularly...so we may have the same meal for two nights running. I haven't gotten used to cooking for two instead of four yet! But I'd go mad if I ate the same food all the time. I go through phases of what I cook...might be Indian for a while, Mexican, Japanese etc but there's a lot of variety. I have my tried and true recipes that I fall back on when I'm tired or not feeling like cooking.
    We eat mainly plant-based, but sometimes will have meat. I don't tolerate red meat very well so that's a rare ingredient.
  • badnoodle
    badnoodle Posts: 148 Member
    Ooh, I have to have variety. I tried meal prepping for awhile, but I couldn't stick with it because I couldn't face Another Depressing Day of leftovers. It actually was counterproductive, because I'd eat out instead of trying to force myself to eat whatever box of sadness I'd brought with me.

    One way I've found to keep a good variety of meals is actually meal planning. On Friday afternoons/evening I look at the weekly grocery ad, look at what's in the fridge/freezer, and maybe grab a cookbook for inspiration and plan out a week's worth of meals. Or throw in a recipe I want to try. This helps me build in variety, but also avoid buying a bunch of crap at the store just because it looks interesting.