I tend to eat the same meals all week with some minor variations as I live alone and cook big meals on the weekends to eat through the week. However, I eat a variety of different fruits and veggies with those meals and throughout the day. The next week will be different (though I tend to stick to same or similar breakfasts). Snacks vary, but I have plenty of "go-to" choices.
If apples are the only fruit you eat for a week, then you may have some issues with not getting micro-nutrients (not to mention boredom). I've lost 50+ lbs doing what I do. It works for me, and makes my life easier.
For me, I also do a "consistent variety" I stock the freezer with every Green Giant and Birdseye and Amy's Kitchen and Morningstar Farms products possible, adding in a bit of Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones and things like that, stock the fridge with fruits and fresh veggies, stock the pantry with beans and lentils and nuts and soups and things like peanut butter and power bars (they give chocolate, but don't cause me to crave sweets).
My decision making starts after that, but I aim for balance, so the consistency kicks in again after I have established what I call "safe variety" choices.
Edited by: FRESHBEGINNINGS at: 3/3/2014 (14:04)
Fitness Minutes: (36,406)
3/2/14 5:18 P
I consistently eat a wide variety of veggies every week with the occasional meal with fish, eggs or chicken. Berries and an apple every day, sometimes 1/2 a banana. A handful of nuts and seeds and a small bowl of yogurt once in a while. I make a vegetable soup every week to eat for dinner with a salad or for lunch, usually a vegetarian stew or curry to eat for a few meals. I like to cook meals that I can eat for more than one meal. I love leftovers for lunches, anything to keep healthy meals easy and readily available. I have eaten vegetarian for a great part of my life (I was always slim when eating vegan or vegetarian) so it is never difficult to create healthy and great tasting meals. I consistently eat a variety of veggies at every meal but there is always a wide variety to the type of meals I make.
My partner lost 45 lbs by consistently eating the same few meals every day. He said it helped make it easier to keep within his calorie range, reducing the daily decision making. He still eats pretty much the same breakfast and lunch each day and has kept the weight off for 4 years. He makes it look effortless and I think taking out the decision making (and unnecessary temptations) around meals does help with weight loss.
Fitness Minutes: (10,988)
3/2/14 3:51 P
Both. Being a college student my ability to vary my meals is limited. Plus, on my special diet (Vegetarian and gluten intolerant) I have developed a bit of a meal-time routine to ensure I'm getting in proper nutrition.
3/2/14 12:48 P
I like variety but I'm also not that creative when it comes to food. I also hate to waste food and with only two of us at home and only one of us really watching what we eat I tend to eat the same thing for several days in a row before the food expires. However, I then switch to something else. The one almost constant is salad for lunch but I mix up the healthy toppings.
Since Spark...the enjoyment of trying different ways of eating, the recipes, the variety of foods...has given me a different perspective on healthy eating. I rarely eat anything plain. And I prefer a variety of food...even a medley of veggies on my plate...because variety feeds the eyes and the senses, as well as, providing different nutrients. I even enjoy experimenting with healthy recipes from different cuisines.
3/2/14 5:28 A
I like variety and I think our bodies do better with weight loss when we change up our food.
Fitness Minutes: (281,061)
18,701 3/2/14 1:40 A
Mix and match
find what works. i tend to keep with the same items for breakfast when i am at work. i have certain items on hand for easy lunches. but sometimes i like to change it up and try different thinks.
3/1/14 6:46 P
Consistent variety! I like to try new recipes, but I check out the nutritional information. If I consistently keep staples like hard boiled eggs, cooked chicken meat, spring salad mix, nuts, greek yogurt stocked, then I can use them in new ways. A co-worker said that I had the most interesting salads for lunch. I was consistent with bringing a salad, but loved the variety of trying a new veggie or protein source in it.
3/1/14 6:22 P
I believe both have their place.
You need a variety of foods for good overall nutrition.
Learning to eat in a different way can be overwhelming. It Is nice to have some tried and true favorites to lean on when you start to feel overwhelmed or find yourself in a situation where you don't necessarily have control of the menu, but you use your standbys to make wise choices.
For me, I focus on consistency. I eat chicken and veggies 6-7 days a week for lunch AND dinner. One big meal, cut into 2 meals. I do change my veggies a bit, and my snacks are macadamia nuts, cheese, and I eat berries, applesauce on the side, or veggies in my morning omelette, which I have eaten every day for 5 years.
I am on low carb, and a former binge eater, who controls my diabetes with the diet ( 4 years no meds ). Still, while my main focus is on consistency, I do continuously strive to add variety. I try different cheeses, fruit, vegetables etc. I like macadamia nuts for their taste, and high fat %, so not much change with nuts, but I think it is a balancing act of consistency and variety.
Cut variety too much and it gets to be a boring diet. Cut consistency too much, and you make mistakes with your diet, or eat a trigger food.
Fitness Minutes: (69,744)
1,330 2/28/14 12:37 P
I have heard that consistency helps with weight loss. But, for me, I have to have variety or I would go bonkers. I'm always trying out new meals and different foods. Right now, I'm learning some Indian dishes. Having the same things day after day would kill my desire to stay on a healthy eating plan.
Fitness Minutes: (10,685)
70 2/28/14 12:31 P
If you want to be skinny, chose consistency. If you want to be healthy, choose variety.
Eating a wide variety of foods means you can eat seasonally fresh foods and get better nutrition. It also ensures that you don't accidentally make yourself deficient in a specific vitamin or mineral.
Fitness Minutes: (85,520)
2/28/14 12:27 P
I try to be consistent with my eating schedule, number of calories and macro-nutrients per meal while varying the types of foods I'm eating. For example, I eat breakfast between 8:30am to 9am every day, lunch between 11:30am and 12:30 pm, etc. Breakfast is between 300 to 350 calories with a 40-50% carbs, 30% protein, 20-30% fats. Sometimes it's oatmeal with almond butter and other mix-ins, sometimes it's an egg and veggie omelet with a little cheese.
2/28/14 10:46 A
I like to be consistent when it comes to the foods that I buy at the grocery store (because I dislike grocery shopping and it really helps me get in and out!) But then I like to add variety and try new things when I occasionally eat out or away from home. I'm fine making a big batch of something, like vegetarian chili or quinoa and veggies, and then eating it every single day for lunch until it's gone. Good tip to try out bizarre vegetables!
At first consistency helped me. Then when I started to plateau, it helped to add variety. I read a study that said novel food choices are a good way to ward of sugar cravings. It works for me! Now I enjoy eating every bizarre vegetable I can find!
I am more consistent with my foods. I have a weekly menu that I use each week. I am thinking about using some new food recipes in the summer.
Fitness Minutes: (8,539)
2/27/14 7:32 P
More consistent than not
Fitness Minutes: (750)
47 2/27/14 6:39 P
I'm pretty consistent too, with my breakfasts and lunches. I'll get on a cereal kick for a while, then oats. Same with lunch, smoothies, or soups. If it's cold, I want something hot, if it's hot, I want something cold. Dinner's are a little more varied.
I would eat the same thing every day for a long time. Unfortunately they were the worst things. Once I joined Spark people I just look at the menu they suggest. If I don't like what is on it, I use the substitute chart that comes up if you click a food or a meal. Mostly I stay with at least part of the day. If I don't have one of them I am bound to have another one. It makes it easier for me to just stick close to that. I try to try out a new recipe a couple times a week. It is way easier when my husband is gone, he is gone 3 weeks then home 3 weeks, but I have him eating mostly what I eat now and he just eats more of it. If I do vegetarian, he adds meat to his. I don't go out to eat very often anymore, but I don't like most restaurant food anyway. I have looked up calories for different restaurant meals and some have over 1500 calories in a serving. I can cook basically the same thin at home for 500. Now that I don't eat junk food it doesn't matter too much what I eat. Healthy food is readily available so I just only buy that.
Fitness Minutes: (9,092)
2/27/14 12:25 P
I don't see why you shouldn't have the best of both worlds. For example, I like bagels but a whole bagel can be a lot of calories. So I had 1/2 of the bagel toasted for my morning snack (with 1 tb. of strawberry reduced fat cream cheese) this morning and tomorrow will have the other half of the bagel with another 1 tb. of cream cheese. Saturday, I may make me an egg sandwich in my breakfast sandwich maker using one egg and an English muffin lightly sprayed with butter spray. But then, I might not have bagels for a week or more, or another egg sandwich, either.. Lack of consistency is what is the matter with most diets that you see in books. Every day they have a different menu and they never tell you what you are sup-pposed to do with the rest of that food. So I do my own thing & never use a diet from a boook or magazine. P. S. I have a deep freeze and it is very handy all the time, but especially when dieting!
Edited by: BENE38464 at: 2/27/2014 (12:27)
2/27/14 7:43 A
I think the answer to this question depends a lot on your personality type. Calories are calories, so varying the source shouldn't matter. If you are someone who thrives on structure and dependability, then eating the same thing may work for you. If variety is the spice of your life, then branch out. Whatever works!! Personally, I'm in the middle. I tend to keep a smaller repertoire of food for the sake of simplicity. I know exactly how many calories there are without having to look it up. I will eat a particular food repeatedly for breakfast until I get bored with it(usually a couple weeks), then I move onto another. Also, as you mentioned, being more rigid at home allows me more flexibility when I'm dining out. I pretty much have to guess about calorie content in restaurants. Good luck to you!
Fitness Minutes: (24,977)
995 2/27/14 5:53 A
I tend towards being boringly consistent, mostly because I am lazy and live alone. It's easier to boil five eggs on Sunday night and eat one for breakfast with a piece of fruit and a cup of coffee than it is to eat a different breakfast every day of the week. Mixed green salad shows up 4-5 times a week for either lunch or dinner. I also tend to make something in the slow cooker on Sunday that will show up for 3-4 meals during the week, and also get frozen so that it will reappear in later weeks. On the other hand, what I make each week changes. One week it's lentil soup, another week it might be chili or black beans.
I find that I am less likely to overeat when it is a meal I have regularly. The third time you eat lentil soup in a week it's good, but not so great that you want to keep eating.
I do like a fair amount of variety in my fruits and veggies though. I think it keeps it more interesting, and makes sure that you get all of the different nutrients you need. I am more likely to grab a piece of fruit for a snack if it's not my second apple of the day.
2/26/14 8:33 P
Fitness Minutes: (16,395)
1,280 2/26/14 2:06 P
I find that I generally change things up every week or so, but I stay within my calorie limits.
2/26/14 9:35 A
I opt for consistent variety. I have at least three breakfast and lunch choices to try and alleviate the monotony. One thing I found to be most telling is whether I have prepared my meals ahead of time. If the meals are not prepared, then I tend to grab the quickest thing for lunch or dinner - sacrificing availability for calories.
the downsides to consistency are getting bored of the foods, having a meltdown because you don't have access to what's on your list or your base plan not getting you the nutrients you need. the downsides to variety would be spoilage and needing a wider set of base cooking skills/recipes, so basically you need to be able to plan ahead.
if you have a really great base plan that meets your needs, then stick to it. just make sure that you have a backup in place in the even that you can't find or don't have access to a product. in other words, make sure you're not the person who, upon not being able to find their exact brand of yogurt at the store, flips out and eats three big macs because the plan is now officially ruined. be the person who just buys the store brand or another brand that's close in values. be the person who sees that strawberries are on sale for $1 a pound and buy those instead of the higher priced berries. flex within the base plan. that's the kind of consistency that really works. my dinner tends to be some sort of pasta or rice, veggies and sauce. i'm fairly consistent in that, but exactly what varies based on what i have on hand and how i'm doing on time. in other words, i have frozen ravioli and frozen spinach and pasta sauce frozen in portions so that when i'm dead tired i can toss all those things in the microwave and have dinner in five minutes. tonight i have zucchini and squash that i need to use up and i'm either going to do spaghetti with beans and those veggies in a roux, i'm going to make lasagna with those veggies and pasta sauce, i might add those to a mac and cheese with black beans and salsa, or if i find i have more veggies that need to be used up i'll make a lentil veggie curry and serve it over baked potato cubes. so the general idea of what i am having is pretty consistent, but exactly what changes. as long as you're avoiding the pitfalls, there isn't really advantage to not doing whichever is easiest for you.
2/26/14 6:02 A
I'll go on the side of consistency. I have a 2 different breakfast options weekly so that on the days I work later I can actually sit down to a meal, but when I have to get going earlier, I can grab a portable meal and get out the door. I also like to keep my lunch and dinner options simple; 3 meals each, rotating per week to save cash and time. For me, it's about getting the most out of your paycheck, and consistency helps out with that.
Fitness Minutes: (7,241)
1,513 2/25/14 10:42 P
My breakfasts are consistently the same, but I eat them on the go so they have to be. Otherwise it is all about variety. Without it I go off plan and binge.
Fitness Minutes: (118,961)
2/25/14 9:42 P
I like variety. Breakfast is usually one of three meals and lunch is a salad, but I mix up what goes in the salad and will bring soup or a sandwich or make the salad really big. Dinners are always different. I make sure I get lots of veggies and fruit, whole grains.
Fitness Minutes: (29,674)
2/25/14 8:38 P
I have a few meals and snacks that I usually rotate out each day of the week, but in general, I eat very much the same things.
The one meal which I vary is dinner because my family likes variety.
I go through phases. I'll eat the same thing for breakfast for months and months on end and then get sick of it and change to something else. Same with lunches. Snacks are always fruit, so that changes seasonally. Dinner is the only thing that I change daily. I don't do this for weight loss reasons (although all of my choices are healthy), but because I'm lazy.
I'm like you and that is how I lost the 90 lbs here at SparkPeople.
I even copy my meals on the Nutrition Tracker one week at a time.
Food has become nourishment for my body - not entertainment. I have to work at it but it gets easier day by day.
2/25/14 4:53 P
I tend to be a creature of habit and I also have a tendency to get obsessed with a particular type of food that I like and will eat it every day until I move on to something else. For example, I am currently obsessed with blackberries. I like a wide variety of foods, but generally I eat the same things through the week, but not necessarily the same thing every day at the same time. It works better for me because I know what to expect, I know what these foods are 'worth' in terms of my overall consumption and I've managed to find a combination that gives me pretty good nutrient value. I guess my approach is consistent variety: a variety of foods but consistently eaten, if that makes any sense. ;)
Fitness Minutes: (37,448)
2/25/14 4:27 P
I'm in middle. I generally have the same breakfast, but I vary snacks, lunch and dinner. I have a certain amount of healthy dinners that I know my son will eat without fuss, so we tend to rotate through those on weeknights and I use weekends to try new things.
One good thing about variety is it helps to ensure you get all your micronutrients too. Apples have different vitamins than bananas.
Fitness Minutes: (2,787)
6 2/25/14 4:21 P
This depends on each individual person. Myself, I like having a variety of things and mixing things up. I also like trying new things, though I do have a few favorite foods that I try to still have on a regular basis or will start craving around particular times of the year (like watermelon during the summer or mint hot chocolate around November). My husband, on the other hand, likes sticking to the same foods. When ever we go out to dinner I always know what he will get based on the restaurant we go to.
Just see what works best for you. If you try to do it one way because that is what everyone else seems to be telling you to do but it doesn't fit you then you won't be able to stick with it. Just make sure that you watch and make sure that you are getting the right about of nutrients.
Fitness Minutes: (18,443)
2/25/14 3:02 P
I am very consistent naturally. I like what I like and I tend to like it day in and day out. I only get variety because of hubby. It's not because I don't LIKE different things, it's more that food is not really on the top of the list of things I'm generally thinking about if I'm not hungry and I'd rather just find something that works and go with it.
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
2/25/14 2:28 P
I'll chime in for consistency. I think some level of consistency can be helpful. It takes a lot of the guesswork out and it lowers the burden of tracking (if you do that). I would not want to be as consistent as you are, and I do get sick of things from time to time and substitute something else, but otherwise I am quite happy to eat the same thing most days for breakfast, have only 3 or 4 usual lunches, rotate among five or six favorite snacks, and so on.
Fitness Minutes: (11,767)
2/25/14 1:42 P
I am a strong believer in variety. I think a high protein breakfast is very important and eating a combination of fruit and protein rich food like eggs, oatmeal, cream of wheat or even peanut butter really make a big difference. I know the key to success is to jump start your metabolism in the morning with breakfast and also to stay full so you don't eat junk all day.
I think this is such a personal question. I have some SparkFriends who stick to eating the same thing every day and are highly successful. I know that for me I'd get terribly bored and unmotivated. For me, there are no foods that are 100% off the table since weight loss is much more about calories in versus calories out.
I tend to cycle through the same things for breakfast (vary between oatmeal, smoothies, breakfast burritos, and toast with nut butter) but lunch is often leftovers from the night before and dinner always varies. But we're all so different and if routine works better for you, that's great, too!
2/25/14 10:34 A
Variety is the spice of life :)
It helps to venture out of your comfort zone once in a while so as to not get bored.
"do different foods help you loose more weight"? I'm not sure what you mean by this. Meaning "if I change up my food choices more often, I will lose weight faster"? I guess it depends on the food?
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
2/25/14 10:26 A
I agree with the PP. I just get bored eating the same things all the time. Breakfast is yogurt, fruit, and granola - but the fruit changes every time I need to buy a new bag of frozen fruit. Lunch is soup, salad, wrap, or sandwich depending on my mood that week. Dinner also can vary greatly depending on my mood. I'm just cooking for me so I tend to make things in batches and eat them for a week until I cook again on Sunday.
2/25/14 10:25 A
You mean, would eating apples on Monday, pears on tuesday, blueberries on wednesday and cantaloupe on Thursday lead to better weight loss than just-apples all week long? No. So long as you stay within your overall calorie ranges, it doesn't matter if you substitute one fruit for another, or swiss chard for your spinach, or a piece of cheese for your cup of yogurt.
So plan your menus with foods you find enjoyable. If the convenience of a set menu is more important to you than a wide variety of foods - there's nothing wrong with that!
I tend to eat "variety within my set menu" - that is, I do eat yogurt, fruit and oats most days. So, that's the "same" part. But I change up the fruits depending on what is in season, what is the best-priced, and/or what i feel like. Today it's fresh pineapple and frozen blueberries. Yesterday might have been diced apple and raisins. So - easy prep, I can make it in my sleep - but it's never quite the same, so I never get bored of it. Same with my "breakfast egg and veggie scrambles" - which i eat very often. Basically it's just a pan full of sauteed veg, with one or two eggs cracked into it (looks a mess but tastes really good haha). Sometimes i'll have cabbage and onion, sometimes leftover butternut squash and spinach, sometimes assorted peppers and mushrooms, sometimes spaghetti squash and tomatoes... maybe I top with a sprinkle of cheese, maybe I top with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and salsa... So - "same" basic cooking concept, "different" taste every time.
I don't know that weight loss would increase, but as far as making this not a diet, but a new and permanent lifestyle, it's good to vary foods. Eventually you'll grow bored of those foods and you'll find yourself resenting the new life you've taken on . I keep a wide variety of foods in my diet because I don't want to get bored or feel stagnant. Variety (for me) keeps things easy and interesting.
What works best for you: to eat different foods or to eat the same thing every day?
When I started my weightloss journey, some years ago, my nutricionist gave me a list of things I could/should eat. It was varied and she showed me how to combine the foods, etc.
For me, it felt easier to choose one specific thing for each meal and stick to it (I know lazy me). So if it's fruit I'll have apples, if it's dairy I'll have that specific yogurt, and so on. Same breakfast every day, Same snacks. Almost always same dinner. Only lunch varies, as I eat out (my workplace provides meals). And I do different things on weekends.
Now, I'm wondering: do different foods help you loose more weight?
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