Friday, March 12, 2010

Food Ennui, That Is A Novel Idea

As I sit in Panera Bread writing this blog post (ironic, I know), I am reinforced of the impact of food novelty. We like and crave new foods, or new food combinations. We tire easily of eating the same thing over and over.

A client recently remarked "I don't know if I can eat one more egg." Typically, I would offer the solution of finding a substitute for her egg breakfast. This is a common sentiment. Many popular-selling diet books include many recipes to address this concern. Some of these diet books even have hundreds of recipes in them.

The more I thought about this issue, the more I realized how we are addressing it inappropriately. Adding food choices actually is counter-productive. Food novelty enhances paliatability. It gets us to eat more. It reinforces the cravings and desires of eating foods for pleasure.

Now, I recommend to keep foods more consistent. It is easier and cheaper to buy larger amounts of similar foods (you won't have the "healthy food is too expensive" excuse). It is easier and more efficient to prepare similar foods (one hour a week can provide you with lunch for a week). Meal planning is simple and straight-forward.

Most importantly, you will spontaneously eat less when you consume similar, but healthy foods. Keeping variety to a minimum is advantagious. You will have less anxiety wondering what to eat. If you have two fried eggs each morning, but have gotten to the point where you eat one and have no appetite to finish eating them, that is good. Eat what you will and move on with your life. Quit obsessing about food!

You shouldn't seek out more food simply for novelty. You will more appropriately use your appetite to regulate your food intake (especially without processed carbohydrates). You are not starving yourself. Your body will let you know if you physiologically need more energy/nutrients. If you were truely starving, you would eat all of those fried eggs without thinking twice. Hell, you would eat bugs and worms if you were trully starving. Don't fool yourself with the hungry excuse. It is pleasure you seek and food novelty delivers!


Porter Family said...

I agree to a certain extent but there are studies that show people will eat less with more variety in their diet. You may feel satisfied earlier if there are a variety of flavors and textures in a meal.

In our society there is such an abundance of food that if we're not satisfied it is common to eat until we are. Often times, eating more than we need in search for "something" that is missing.

Dan Hubbard, M.Ed. said...

Thanks for your input, Judy! Having a variety of flavors and textures is important. I love to learn how to cook more complex recipes. But, I am not saying the eggs, for example, can't have a complex texture and flavors (such as making them into a cheese and mushroom omelet). I am more so saying that you should eat that omelet each morning and not have three or four options for breakfast. Make food choices healthy, convenient, predictable and simple during your week. You may make an exception for a dinner party or other infrequent event.

Liz said...

I concur with both. I find it simple to change how I do my eggs each day. Hardboiled, omelet, scrambled etc... change the spices or extras I put with them. I don't overeat breakfast because 1-2 eggs is plenty with a little greek yogurt. I also find that my appetite doesn't spike till well into the afternoon so keeps me full for long time. However, look forward to occasional variety in meals when go out to eat or friends houses. That keeps me satisfied and not craving the carb's like I use to.

Sally Hubbard said...

I love eating the same thing day after day. Is that abnormal? But I don't understand why people dwell about food so much. I eat, enjoy, and move on. Is that really that uncommon?

Btw, Judy-- after eating five boxes of Samoas, I finally got my fill and cannot see another Samoa until next year. :0)