Do You Eat the Same Food All the Time?

woman eating sandwich

There was an interesting story in The Atlantic recently about The People Who Eat the Same Lunch Every Day (one man ate “a peanut-butter sandwich, with various fruit, vegetable, and dessert accompaniments . . . nearly every workday for about 25 years”), and I thought it might make for a fun conversation here — I definitely do that sometimes, and I’m always fascinated to meet someone who does it more rigidly. So, let’s discuss — do you eat the same lunch (or dinner) every day? Do you feel like it’s most useful with the concept of decision fatigue (think Obama and Zuckerberg wearing the same thing every day), from a meal prep perspective, or from some other perspective (comfort, nutrition)? 

First, a quote from The Atlantic article about how common this is:

One of the few existing surveys of people’s eating habits estimated that about 17 percent of British people had eaten the same lunch every day for two years; another indicated that a third of Brits ate the same lunch daily. But it’s hard to say for sure how common this really is, since these surveys tend to have been conducted by food purveyors, who might be inclined to exaggerate the ruts that diners are stuck in (and then try to sell them a way out). Still, loyalists who stick to a single meal for months or years—they are out there.

For my $ .02, I’ve known two people who eat the exact same food all the time — every day, for months on end. One of them was my former personal trainer (dinner: spinach salad with strawberries and chicken) and one was a close male friend (dinner: Boca burgers). My trainer was one of those older women who is super skinny through calorie control and cardio (one of the reasons I stopped seeing her since I want to gain muscle, although I liked her personally), and my guy friend was just really busy with law school and he’d decided Boca burgers were an easy thing to grab. He told me he knew it was time to switch it up when, upon the first bite of his Boca burger, he felt bile rising in his throat.

Personally, I definitely tend to alternate lunches between just a few meals, usually involving eggs: an omelet, eggs over hard, runny eggs with savory oats, or an egg sandwich from the freezer… I recently decided that because my willpower decreases during the day, that I should probably have my “no thought required” meal for dinner and instead try to find something else to eat for lunch… I’ll let you know how that works out. (Today: fat-free, plain greek yogurt with PB2, hemp hearts, and chia seeds.) In my own head I tend to view these as healthy habits, but that’s me.

{related: how to build good habits}

For those of you who do this from a purely nutritional perspective (or for ease of macro counting or something else), what foods do you eat — and how did you choose them? I just splurged on the GenoPalate food assessment (since I’d already done 23 and Me years ago) and I may try to work some of their recommended foods into my diet on a much more regular basis. (Recommended starches and grains for me: quinoa, russet potatoes, amaranth, sweet potatoes, bulgur. I eat none of those regularly, unless fries count as potatoes…)

Readers, how about you guys — do you eat the same food all the time, or repeat meals regularly? (What are they?) For those of you who have successfully integrated that strategy into dining with others (partners, kids), how does that work out? How do you view the habit — something good to continue and grow in other parts of your life to cut down on decision fatigue, or something a bit weird? 

Stock photo via Stencil.

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