Variety or Repetition, Which is Best?


Last week someone asked me if she should try to branch out with new breakfast ideas or keep eating the same breakfast every morning because she knew it worked for her.  My response was “both.”  When it come to feeding ourselves well for health, energy, weight loss, etc.. we may find that through the practice of mindful eating, you eventually learn how much food is enough and what makes you feel good.  Using this information we may develop a structure for meals.  Having a “set” breakfast is a great thing for many people since they are less likely to get hungry at random times or feel poorly due to an unusual food choice.

Eating the same thing every day is something that people might frown on because at first glance it hints at no variety in your intake.  However, I believe you can eat similar foods every day, but still have a varied intake by trading foods within the same food group.  For example, if I eat oatmeal with sliced banana, skim milk, and walnuts every day for breakfast I can keep that same structure every day of a hot cereal, a fruit, a dairy food and nuts, but still have a varied intake by putting together combinations.  I could have hot amaranth cereal with sliced strawberries, toasted almonds and a side of yogurt; same food groups, just different choices from each one.

Another way to work towards variety would be making changes weekly.  For example I might eat that oatmeal, banana, walnuts and milk combo for a week, then the following week switch to 7-grain cereal with peaches, milk, and pecans.  This might be easier if you like to batch cook and might also simplify grocery shopping.  Lastly making a point of challenging yourself to try a new food or new recipe once a week (or month) helps a lot of people learn about new foods they like and as a result increase the variety in their intake.

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