Lately, I’ve been sharing some of my meals on Instagram stories and it’s become pretty clear that I’m in a food rut.

My breakfast is the same every morning. Then I eat almost the same three or four meals all the time for lunch and dinner.

It doesn’t make for very interesting Instagram stories, but it does say something important about where my priorities are.

Have you ever read about how certain CEOs always wear the same uniform or eat the same meals?

I don’t think it will surprise you that I love this idea.

Although I can cook (my mother taught me well), I really don’t like to cook. I much prefer assembling food, which is why you’ll see me eating lots of salads, veggie bowls, yogurt and granola with fruit, etc.

When I first realized I was in a bit of a rut, I wondered if I should do something about it. I’ve been pretty good lately about eating a nice amount of veggies, fruits, and whole grains, but just not in a wide variety.

I asked myself if my life would be better if I incorporated more variety into my diet.

The answer? No.

I like not having to plan meals, research recipes, worry about whether I have all the right ingredients, or prepare elaborate lists before I go to the grocery store.

Right now, my partner and I use the same basic grocery list every week:

  • Fruits: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, avocados, bananas, oranges, and apples (and sometimes restocking on frozen mango)
  • Vegetables: kale, lettuce, mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and zucchini (and sometimes restocking on frozen corn and peas)
  • Dairy: cashew and almond milk yogurt in a couple flavors, vegan cheeses in three varieties & vegan creamer for tea
  • Grains: gluten-free bagels, pasta, rice (when needed to restock) and granola
  • Sauces: salsa, peanut sauce, and pasta sauce when needed to restock
  • Meats of choice (for my partner)
  • Drinks: Kevita (probiotic drink for my partner), sparkling water (also for my partner), and almond milk
  • Bulk: black beans and black olives (every month or so from Costco)

This list allows me to make a few basic meals:

  • a bagel sandwich with vegan cheese and tomato that I eat every morning after my workout and before I leave for work
  • a warm taco salad (lettuce, mushrooms, zucchini, sweet potatoes, corn, black beans, olives, avocado, vegan cheese, salsa)
  • regular salads (all the veggies listed above + some vegan cheese and black olives)
  • rice bowls (rice, peas, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, and peanut sauce)
  • yogurt with berries and granola
  • smoothies (kale, banana, frozen mango, berries)
  • pasta with sauce cooked with extra zucchini, mushrooms, and black olives (often cooked in bulk so I can eat the next day)

When I want some more variety, I go out to eat so I’m not adding in extra thought or planning to my grocery runs.

A couple more important things to note:

  • my diet changes slightly with the seasons when certain kinds of produce are easier to get
  • my partner and I cook completely separately and never eat shared food, so I can eat what I want, when I want, without having to take anyone else into account (it’s pretty great, actually)

Because I know exactly what I can cook with the ingredients that are always in my kitchen, my brain can focus on other things. I’ve realized that my food rut is actually more of a routine that offers me increased mental energy.

Next up: trying to find that perfect uniform that I buy in bulk and wear every day…

To think on:

  • Do you have any intentional ruts in your life that can be re-classified as helpful routines?
  • What could you make into a routine to free up some brain space and mental energy?