We all know that in the world of nutrition, there is a tendency to divide food into categories of being “healthy” and “unhealthy”, with the aim of getting people to eat more of the healthy stuff and shun the unhealthy. In the Strategic Nutrition Guide, I list down a formula for cooking in bulk that will ensure that your meals are healthy.
Today’s blog post looks into that in greater detail. In theory, we all agree that everyone who is concerned about their health should endeavour to eat healthily most of the time, right? What if you “hacked” the formula and yet eat the same healthy food for many consecutive meals? I admit I tend to do that because of practical reasons.
We have heard that variety is the spice of life, and truth be told, some people I know cannot stand eating the same food for more than two consecutive meals. Food snobs be finding it boring. Some people, in fact, have given me a hard time for eating the same meals time and time again. Despite that, there are reasons why this can be good practice.
The first clear reason is that if you are never wondering what to eat, you’re less likely to reach for junk food or splurge on expensive meals that not only cost more, but are also of dubious origin, so to speak. Think about it – if you cook in bulk, you know what you have put in there. If you get it at a café, you have less control. Make sense much?
On the note of control, if you cook in bulk and include plenty of fruits and veggies in your diet, you will be ensuring that you’re flooding your body with nutrients and antioxidants, and bolstering your immune system in the process. This is one point you can always raise when people try to shame your eating habits. In reality, they might just be jealous.
The next point I have is a psychological one. If you cook in bulk, you will know that planning for it takes a fair amount of effort. In my case, I know that if I mess up one session, the consequences will stick with me for the next two weeks. This mindfulness, however, is not only limited to eating, but permeates into other areas of health too.
Think about it – if I have already put in a lot of effort to restrict my calorie intake via a good diet, it stands to reason that I wouldn’t want to sabotage and negate all this effort in another area of my life. Therefore since I have moved the cooking out of the way, I can then focus on other areas of my life that relates to health – such as exercise.
While it might seem that I am bringing a strong bias into this whole thing, there has actually been some research that will pull it out of the realms of being anecdotal evidence into quantitative findings. A recent study demonstrated that having a more diverse diet is associated with a greater waist circumference. The researchers speculated that a more varied diet will include not just healthy food, but unhealthy ones as well.
This being said, no one here, myself included, is advocating for healthy eating 100% of the time. No matter what your healthy eating style is, having an occasional unhealthy meal will actually keep you motivated rather than deflated. The trick is to work these cheat meals into your system in a reasonable way.
Of course, my article can be accused of being extremely biased if I did not discuss any drawback of having the same food for consecutive days on end. One particular issue that has been identified is that even if a meal is healthy, eating the same meal day after day can deprive one of certain nutrients. There really isn’t an all-encompassing healthy meal per se, if this makes sense.
Another point that had been raised is that if certain components of the meal contain things like pesticides, then over time this would be a chronic exposure. While it does take a fair dose for it to have effects such as food sensitivities, such an arrangement will vastly increase the chances of this happening.
Of course, hardly anyone gives deep thought into those two points mentioned above. To most, it is simply the boredom factor. And research has also shown that boredom might result in a total abandonment of the plan. What do you think happens next? A return to junk food and unhealthy food, of course.
So what is the final solution? Like everything else, the answer is to have a balance. While I have declared straight up that I can eat the same lunches for two weeks in a row, each “cook-up” is different and unique. I still follow the same formula in the Strategic Nutrition Guide, but the good thing is that the formula actually has quite a lot of flexibility and room for creativity. Hope this helps.
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