Make your own meal plan | benefits of a boring diet

Back when I started paying attention to nutrition I craved structure.

A meal plan that I could follow as I learned the in’s and out’s of fuelling my body so that it performed well, looked good and felt great.

For a couple of months, I swore by Clean Eating Magazine’s bi-weekly plan. I posted it on my fridge, used it as a guide to grocery shopping and ate (mostly) the three prescribed meals and snacks.

benefits of a boring diet

But as I started to lift heavier in the gym and read more widely about sports nutrition, I came to realize that it wasn’t the plan for me.

  • Too few calories (my body needs more than the 1400-1600 most days’ menus provided).
  • Too many grain-based carbs (I tend to gain weight around my mid-section if my diet includes too many starchy carbs).
  • Too many processed foods (even ‘healthier’ versions of bars, cereals and crackers typically have too much sugar).
  • Too many different ingredients required to prepare the varied menu (the more ingredients required, the less likely I am to follow the recipe).
  • And not enough protein (protein has been a game-changer for me, helping me put on muscle, reduce body fat and feel satiated between meals).

[Note, that the very first sentence of the last paragraph included the words ‘for me‘. It might be a great meal plan for you. The only way you’ll know is if you follow it and pay attention to how your body responds. ‘Be your own detective’]

Over time, I’ve developed my own, personalized meal plan.

It consists of a handful of options for each of the mail meals of the day. I have three standard breakfast meals that I choose from. Lunch is always a giant salad; 3-5 servings of veggies plus lean protein. Dinner is a bit more varied (but the variation mainly comes from the way the way the meal is prepared, rather than the ingredients). And I have a dozen or so between-meal snacks that I rotate among depending on how many days it’s been since I’ve been to the grocery store.

It’s really very boring. And it totally works for me.

benefits of a boring diet

Nobody ever said boring couldn’t be delicious!

 

4 benefits of a boring diet

1. You always know what you’ll be eating. For many of us, paying attention to how we’re fuelling our bodies can lead to food anxiety. Stressing over how much of what to eat when. Trying to come up with new, creative ways to put food on the table for our families. Worrying about hidden ingredients that might be undermining our health and fitness goals. Having a list of ‘pre-approved’ go-to meals  means that you’ll only need to decide between a small number of options at any given meal.

2. Daily food tracking becomes less important. While keeping a food journal is a great way to learn how best to fuel your body, most of us don’t want to have to do it every day for the rest of our lives. Although I’ve used MyFitnessPal on and off for years, I use it mainly as a menu planner and a way of calculating the calorie and macronutrient content of my go-to meals. Once I know that a breakfast of a spinach and pepper omelette, with avocado and strawberries supports my goals for the day, I don’t need to input it day after day.

[Note: If food journalling works for you, by all means continue to do it. Adopting a boring diet just makes it easier ;) ]

3. A boring diet makes grocery shopping a snap. Just like my diet, my route through the grocery store is boring and predictable. I buy the same items (and the same quantity of those items) week in, week out. I’m much less likely to forget an important recipe ingredient and less tempted to travel down the supermarket’s ‘danger’ aisles. And I can be in and out of Superstore (having easily spent $300…) in less than an hour.

benefits of a boring diet

Yes, we eat bacon. And a LOT of eggs…

4. Restaurant meals are more fun. Most of us have difficulty sticking with our healthy eating plans when dining out. Portions are typically larger than we’d serve ourselves at home. Multiple courses are the norm. Even the healthiest options can contain hidden sugar, salt and fat. And there’s so much choice! Following a boring diet has helped me wade through the minefield of restaurant menus. I simply look for a meal that’s close to what I’d be eating at home and ask my server for modifications, if need be. Dressing on the side, extra veggies instead of potatoes, grilled instead of fried.

Plus, choosing wisely with my main course lets me enjoy a glass of wine or dessert if I’m in the mood ;)

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Are you a boring eater too?

What are your favourite benefits of a boring diet?

Learning how to create healthy meal plans is only one of the many lessons I’ll be teaching in my upcoming online group training program for over-40 women. Make sure you add your name to my email list so as not to miss the registration announcement!

 

 

Comments

  1. I read that people who eat a “boring” diet, meaning they consume pretty much the same things over and over have an easier time maintaining their weight. It makes sense since the calorie count wouldn’t change much.

    Like you, I don’t vary much. And I agree–it makes grocery shopping (a dreaded task for me) so much easier!

  2. Totally boring. I eat the same things a lot but they are things I really like. I still plan my food out the night before (so I don’t forget to bring what I need to the gym) but I could easily wing it.
    Pamela Hernandez recently posted…Healthy Life Lessons from a Type 1 DiabeticMy Profile

  3. I like that you have the same formula, but still mix it up. My breakfasts and lunches are pretty boring. I try to branch out for dinner so my family doesn’t want to eat out too often!
    Coco recently posted…10 Essential WordPress PluginsMy Profile

  4. YES I’m definitely a boring eater. Especially because me and my boyfriend eat somewhat different meals (and I do all the cooking and meal planning) it would be so difficult if I was constantly trying to invent the wheel, x2 … x6 meals a day.
    Wildly Morgan recently posted…Avoid Cottage Weight GainMy Profile

  5. I agree – boring diet over here! I almost don’t even need a grocery list b/c I get the same things week after week. The only time I really get creative is with dinner, but even then it’s very standard.

  6. I eat the same breakfast and lunch almost every day and pick similar foods when eating out. It makes it easier and decreases temptations for me. I actually like what I like and don’t really get bored of it! I agree with Carrie – I think it helps me manage my weight. I do try a lot of new snacks for my blog :)
    Erica @ erica finds recently posted…Tried It Tuesday: Accessories for Summer Fun (#Giveaway)My Profile

  7. We eat a lot of the same things during the week, especially for lunch. I’ll come up with something different during the weekends and for week night dinners once in a while, though!
    Alysia @ Slim Sanity recently posted…How to Make Sure I’ll Have a Good DayMy Profile

  8. I’m a boring eater too. I eat the same thing for breakfast and generally cycle through the same things for lunches and dinners. I like that I don’t have to think about food at all until I’m hungry, and my grad student budget likes the consistency.
    Karen @ the mile report recently posted…10 miles and Lake MichiganMy Profile

  9. Nah, I am not really a boring eater. Too bad because if I were bored, I’d be less interested to eat!
    KymberlyFunFit recently posted…Optimists Walk Faster: Pessimists Die YoungerMy Profile

    • That’s one of the advantages of a boring diet. Note, though, that I love to eat and everything I make is delicious! Just ask my hubby!

  10. For the most part I’m a fairly boring eater as well. Like you I have regular breakfasts, lunches, and snacks that I rotate through. Dinners were the same up until recently; now that I have a bit more free time in my schedule I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen which I love! But even then I guess the basic components still stay the same – lean protein and LOTS of veggies! Just dressed up differently ;)
    Ariana recently posted…Meat and NutsMy Profile

  11. Tamara,

    The cake looks tempting, but I’ll have to pass on that one. :-)

    Yes, I am a boring eater. Grocery shopping is easier than it used to be. I do eat eggs now and I see your salmon in the buggy. Those are two staple foods that I buy each time I do grocery shopping.

    A week or so ago, I discovered that I wasn’t eating enough fruit. Yeah, I am doing some experimenting and learned that handful of berries a day doesn’t work for me. As soon as I upped my fruit intake, I felt better. It pays to be your own detective. That’s the only way we’ll ever know if something works or doesn’t work.

    Good read!

    Take care,
    Evelyn
    Evelyn recently posted…Five Ways to Improve your Gut HealthMy Profile

  12. I SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO resemble! :)
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted…Thoughts on Depression & Some Personal InsightsMy Profile

  13. Yup. We have the same school of thought when it comes to food boredom. High-5, girlfriend.
    Yum Yucky recently posted…Monday PUSHMy Profile

  14. Your advice is really helpful, and I would love to hear about your favourite snacks. (But, as a BC girl, I expected to see wild Pacific salmon in there!)

    • Favourite snacks? Almonds, banana + peanut butter + greek yogurt, single serving tuna cans, baby cucumbers with home-made hummus!

  15. Great points! This is me to a tee. You always hear to eat a wide variety of foods, but this gets misinterpreted. Little variations on broader themes are just fine!
    Suzanne @WorkoutNirvana recently posted…Training Tweaks for More Muscle DefinitionMy Profile

  16. I eat pretty much the same thing EVERY DAY and I ADORE IT! My diet is 100% NOT boring!!!! Salmon is just…… UGH – Myyyy favorite!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Enjoy These Bananas on a HammockMy Profile

    • How many ways can you think of to prepare salmon? I’ve got a list of about 10 that I cycle through! Not boring at all!

  17. I’m really boring too. I need to go read your article about starchy carbs and mid section weight gain. That’s really plaguing me right now.
    carrie@familyfitnessfood.com recently posted…Blogfest and IDEA Fit – Inspiration and FunMy Profile

    • Ugh. Me too. After holidays, you know. But my experience has been that I can see real progress in just a couple of weeks if I’m very mindful of sugar and starch. The first few days are tough, but then my brain gives up trying to convince me to eat chocolate ;)

  18. Do you mind sharing what your meals are? I”m trying to get on a healthy diet, and I tend to be a boring eater as well. But right now I eat too many carbs. I need all the help and ideas I can get. Thanks!

    • Hi Jami,
      Thanks so much for visiting. It’s great that you’re trying to improve your diet. We can all benefit from that!
      I don’t typically share my daily eats in their entirety with my readers or clients. I’m a firm believer in figuring out what works for your body and don’t want to leave the impression that what works for me will work for you too.

      Having said that, I do eat a lot of lean protein and veggies while limiting starchy carbohydrates and added sugars. My breakfast tends to be either eggs with veggies and a piece of fruit or a small serving of steel cut oats with fruit and a dollop of greek yogurt. Lunch is always a huge salad with lean protein. Dinner is pretty much the same. I try to limit snacking to a small handful of nuts and a piece of fruit.

      Hope that helps!

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