“Lather, rinse, repeat.”
Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs are two people who’ve made the concept of repetition smart, trendy, and charmingly quirky. I’m talking about the way these two are known for wearing basically the same outfit every day.
The supposed reasoning behind their outfit repetition is that, by removing the decision of what to wear each day, it frees up the brain for more important, billionaire-esque thinking and decisions.
Feel free to roll your eyes. It sounds a little reaching, right? I imagine the reason they wear (or, in Steve’s case, wore) the same thing every day is because they simply don’t care. And that part, I respect. They’re smart, successful, and aren’t lacking in funds for whatever their hearts desire(d) – why should they care what anyone thinks of something as meaningless as their wardrobe?
Regardless of the reason why, I started thinking about this when reading an article more wellness-related. It was about people who eat the same lunch every day and the advantages that practice can have on overall wellness, provided said repeated food covers the nutritional bases.
I found myself interested right off the bat because I don’t like eating the same lunch every day. This is equal parts interesting and ironic because I enjoy eating the same breakfast nearly every day (a wheat waffle with peanut butter and half a banana) and I often eat the same thing for dinner most nights (two eggs on avocado toast with a side of veggies in some format – maybe a steamed blend, a sweet potato, or raw with hummus).
Even though I enjoy it and it nicely fits into my evening time that’s more focused on keeping a one-year-old happy than cooking, I feel the need to at least try to mix up my dinner because I want to be sure I’m exposing myself to different nutrients and flavors. And with lunch, I have even more of a desire to do this.
But, why? A first thought is my belief in inclusive eating; including all foods rather than restrict foods from a diet.
My usual dinner checks off important nutrition boxes – protein and good carbs, plus iron, antioxidants, and tons of vitamins. Logic tells me that if I were to fashion a regular lunch that includes different veggies, another protein, and a fruit, I’d have my nutrition bases covered, even without factoring in my typical snacks like Greek yogurt, fruit, and nuts…and chocolate. I admit it, I snack on a lot of chocolate.
On the day I began writing this blog, for example, I enjoyed a salad with mixed greens, spinach, and cucumber, a half cup of cottage cheese, a cup of peaches, and a small side of tater tots (because, tots – mmmmm, tots). I enjoyed it and it made me happy, it was reasonably balanced and healthy.
Which brings me to the other side of things. Just like my example lunch, I enjoy the taste of eggs, sweet potatoes, and hummus-dunked veggies – so why am I so worried about enjoying the same foods daily?
I think part of this has to do with the fact that my life includes an office job and a one-year old. In short, my daily routine is nearly identical every day.
And you know what? I LOVE it. I love routine, I love consistency, I love schedule. I LOVE it. The fact that my days are often very similar is something I love. So, again, why would that make me feel as though I need to change up something as equally important in my lunch.
The real bummer of this self-reflection is one of the reasons I’ve never done well with meal-prepping is because – you guessed it – I don’t enjoy eating the same lunch day after day after day.
I think it’s time I take a good look at my opposition to eating the same lunch every day and, perhaps, try it.
As an initial effort and a way to dip my toe in before diving in headfirst, I ate the same lunch the day following the article read and my start to writing this blog. And it went well. I looked forward to my lunch, knowing it was going to be delicious, which it was. I didn’t dread it, thinking it would be the same boring lunch again two days in a row.
Then, I tried it again – two days in a row of the same lunch. This time a veggie and egg pita with hummus and feta cheese, a mixed veggie blend with lentils and beans, and a Greek yogurt. Again, delish, reasonably healthy, and balanced.
I started thinking my next step is to try three days in a row or just go for it and do a whole week. What I discovered, though, is my lifestyle, not an aversion to food repetition, got in the way.
I like grabbing lunch with friends or coworkers occasionally. I regularly run errands over the lunch hour and grab a quick lunch at one of my favorite places on my way back to the office. And, a key flaw in this concept, I don’t always plan ahead well enough to make and pack my lunch.
All those reasons all hold different weight. And they’re all valid. So, maybe I won’t be a star meal prepper and reap the rewards of having the same lunch every day. For the record, that would be nutritional reasons, not that I assume I’ll achieve any level of Zuckerberg or Jobs-esque thoughts.
A final note: My husband rocks at meal prep and genuinely enjoys his repetitive lunches. And I mean, he’s a really smart guy…maybe he’s onto the next Zuckerberg/Jobs trend in exercising brilliance.
Do you eat the same lunch or other meal/snack every day? Why or why not? Maybe you’ve never really thought about it before and this will enlighten you into something that might work well for you. In either case, please share your thoughts in the comments. Or, as always, tweet me @LindsayIRL.