Whether it’s simplifying meal planning, making sure you meet your nutritional goals, or just finding foods that you enjoy eating, it might seem easiest to eat the same thing every day (or near every day). But what happens to your body when you do?
Not only does eating the same food every day not contribute to the diversity within your gut flora, but eating the same foods that are nutrient-poor can actually kill healthy gut bacteria.
This can cause a myriad of health issues since there’s a direct connection between your immune health and your gut health (70% of your immune system is located in the gut).
It’s not impossible to create a nutritionally-balanced diet eating the same foods every day…but it can be difficult and expensive when you factor in seasonal availability and market fluctuations. More often than not, eating the same thing every day decreases the variety of nutrients your body is getting, as well and decreases the nutritional benefits of the foods you’re eating when they’re not fresh and in season.
Rather than meal planning with the exact same foods every day, create food modules that add in diversity. Instead of “quinoa, salmon, and green beans” for lunch every day, you can have “whole grain, fish, and green vegetables” every day. This allows you to maintain your nutrient goals, keep your efficient meal planning process, and add healthy diversity to your diet.
Another way to add diversity is to shop for your groceries when they’re in season. This helps you naturally incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables while they’re also the most fresh and most nutritious. Not to mention the savings in your grocery bill. (Some vegetables like asparagus can fluctuate $4-6 in price between when it’s in season and when it’s not!)
If it just won’t work for you right now to add variety into your diet “the old-fashioned way,” or if you just want to be sure you’re providing as diverse and nutrient-dense of an environment for your body as possible, consider incorporating supplements to help your body get more variety than what is in your diet.
The human body evolved to eat a variety of foods when they were most fresh and readily available. The different colors, textures, and flavors of our foods give us a clue to the diverse nutrients within them and the more variety we have, the better. Try mixing in seasonal nutrients or adding new ingredients into your meal plans when you can, and most of all, have fun finding new flavors and nutrient-dense foods that you enjoy!