Food Variety

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  • I've read many times in magazines or books that variety in the foods you eat is key so you don't get bored and stray from your diet. I worry that variety might actually be working against me though. Give me a choice and I inevitably seem to choose the wrong one! I'm wondering if I should have a more structured/strict diet plan for a little bit...

    Does your diet vary a lot? Do you eat pretty much the same thing every day or not and how is it affecting you?
  • You know, I had heard the very same thing: Variety so you don't get bored. But, recently (and I don't remember where I read this), I read that people who had a routine eating plan (always ate oatmeal for breakfast for example) did better with long term wt loss success.

    I think I do better when I tend to eat the same things, because I know how many calories, carbs, fats etc I'm eating. I enjoy it, know how much I should eat and there isn't anyway to go wrong.

    I say if you feel this would work for you, then that is exactly what you should do. You can always change things if you do get bored. Now that I think about it, it's pretty common for most of us to 'eat seasonally' anyway. You could have the best of both worlds without deviating too much.
  • I do both ways. I end up with the same couple of things almost every day for brunch/lunch and snacks. I think it's just easier than figuring out every day differently. But I vary my dinner menu a lot because I still love to cook and to eat and I do get bored and would not want exactly the same thing every day. Guess I get the best of both worlds.

  • I think it depends on you. Some people do better when working to a very specific meal plan, others are better if every day is an unknown!

    I'm like AngelsKeep, my breakfasts are always exactly the same, lunch varies slightly from day to day, and dinner is all over the map.
  • 90% of my calories come from:

    wheat bran
    apple sauce
    baked chicken
    ground beef
    McDonald's ice cream cone
    string cheese

    That's what, 13 things? The list was even smaller when I started: I've carefully added things as I've found things I like that fit my needs.

    I think people are different. Honestly, even when I was eating whatever I wanted, I tended to eat the same things every day. They were just bad things!
  • I like a having a routine, that way I don't even have to think about other things and I just know what I'm going to eat and when I'm going to eat it. That being said I have some variety, I mix up my fruits and I have a bar of some sort (currently Raw Revolution bars) for my afternoon snack every day and I get several different kinds of those so I don't get bored with that. I go grocery shopping about once a week and pick up mostly the same things but will switch it up sometimes.

    If I get bored of something, I'll replace it with another staple, and so on.
  • I tend to eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch M-F. Saturday and Sunday my breakfast and lunch tends to be the same. Diner is always different for me. It does make it easier to eat the same thing. I don't normally get bored with my foods for some reason.
  • I would say, 90% of what I eat is routine.

    For breakfast, I rotate among three things (nearly 100% of the time):

    1. measured 1/2 cup dry oatmeal, made with water, with 2-3 big tablespoons of apple butter (about 200 calories total)

    2. Trader Joe's fat free greek yogurt with honey (120 calories) with a package of berries (about 200 calories total)

    3. 2 pieces of whole grain toast, one with natural peanut butter, one with some sort of jam. This is a bigger breakfast, so I usually have it on weekends as something special, about 400 calories (probably a little less, but I round up)

    My daily snacks are: fruit, string cheese, non fat lattes

    For lunch, I nearly always take a salad to work. I made around 5 different kinds of salad (BBQ chicken, Asian, ham, Greek) so there is plenty of variety, I never seem to get tired of salad. On the weekends, I sometimes have a healthy sandwich or Chipotle (chicken bol no beans, lots of pic, tons of lettuce, 1/2 serving of guac), or a half sandwich, tomato soup at Panera.

    Dinner, I rotate around 10 favorite dishes. I do like to try new things, but I make a lot of home made pasta sauce, pork loin stir fry with tons of veggies, home made pizza on whole wheat crust, maple glazed salmon, etc.

    My variation comes from treat meals - about once a week I have a nice dinner in a restaurant. I've been maintaining for over 5 years and this way of eating works for me - I like everything and it is sustainable.
  • I have foods that I pretty much always stick to, but I rotate it. So if I have 20 choose that I normally eat, I eat maybe 5 or 6 on a particular day and mix it up every day. I do introduce new things to keep it interesting but the rotation thing has been working for me so far.
  • For me, it depends on what the choices are. Having more than a couple high-carb choices available to me, tends to get me into trouble. Eating the same thing week after week, though bores me to tears, and I'll quit in frustration.

    I try to keep a lot of choices (especially the easy and fast choices) for the food groups I'm trying to eat more of (like vegetables), and try to keep only a few choices (especially the slow-cooking choices) for the food groups I'm trying to eat less of (like breads/starches/high sugar fruits).

    I try to buy different choices each shopping trip, but keep the same number of choices. For example I try to keep only two to three fruit choices in the house, but I change which ones each shopping trip (apples are usually always one of the choices, but I choose different varieties).
  • I eat nearly the exact same thing for breakfast and lunch every day, and like the routine of it. Dinners vary, but are same in content: 1 protein serving, 1 whole grain, 2 or more veggies.
  • I posted about this before - I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch just about every day. And a little more variety for supper, but still mostly, the same half-dozen or so things.

    I have to go back and see if I can find the link but someone posted something saying that it's good to limit food choices and the greater the variety of foods you eat, the higher the calories. I'm certainly not saying that someone who wants a lot of variety and does well with it should change. But for anyone who worries about not eating enough variety, then definitely stop worrying!

    And to Bombe, I'd say that if you think limiting choices would be helpful for you, then give it a shot! You can always changing it up if that doesn't work well or if you get too bored.
  • You can still eat the same "things" while adding variety as well. Like, for breakfast you can have 1/2 a cup of oatmeal, then vary what you add into it (canned pumpkin, berries, peanut butter, etc). Or you can have a sandwhich or a salad for lunch everyday, just vary what you put on it!
  • Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are nearly identical day to day for me. Dinners vary a little bit, though they consist mostly of lean protein and veggies. Friday nights we have a "special" dinner which could be anything I'm craving; and my breakfasts on weekends are different than the weekdays. So I have both consistency and variety going on, and it works for me.
  • Thank you all for the input! It's comforting to read that so many of you stick to a routine and don't have a lot of variety in the foods you eat. I have been trying this out this week (so yea, I'm only on my second day, lol) but I was worried that it was "wrong" because I can't tell you how many times I've read in a magazine or book that you have to mix it up. I just want to give myself every little possible chance to succeed at this!

    I eat small breakfast, large lunch, small dinner so my plan is to have a fruit/protein smoothie for breakfast each morning. Yesterday it was a cup of frozen raspberries and 2 scoops vanilla protein powder and this morning it was frozen peaches and protein powder. I'm going to do some searching around so that I can learn how to make lots of different varieties of smoothies, hopefully that will keep me from getting bored but I really have a problem keeping my breakfast in check so I think it'll be good for me (at least for a while) to make the smoothie rule.