A question I recently got asked was, “is it better to keep meals simple with just a few foods or to add lots of different foods i.e like my different mixes/lunches”.
And the answer is, one isn’t necessarily better than the other… it is about what works best for you.
Sure, the more variety and types of foods you eat the more different vitamins and minerals you get in each meal and in total. However, you can still eat a variety of foods in a single day even if your meals are very simple.
I wouldn’t recommend monomeals i.e just eating one type of food, because generally eating carbs, fat and protein in one meal will leave you more satisfied and full, as well as the different components together work together for absorption.
However, if you are suffering with a lot of intolerances or digestive issues, it could be a way to give your stomach a break while still getting lots of energy. I.e you could try just eating bananas for breakfast, just avocados for lunch and maybe just beans or just tofu or just oats for dinner. However, it would get boring and tasteless and not the best nutritionally for a long period of time. But it could help calm down your stomach if you are suffering with a lot of digestive issues.
I know a lot of people don’t like a lot of different foods and textures and tastes in the same meal. They prefer to keep it simple with 3-4 ingredients in their meal, and that works as well.
Example you could choose to just eat potatoes, tofu and broccoli (maybe a little bit of oil) as well and that is a nutritious and complete meal.
Many peoples stomachs can’t handle lots of fiber or a lot of food at once, so making a huge salad with 101 different ingredients and 4 different types of beans as well as quinoa and nuts and seeds could be too much too handle. Also if you are suffering with different food intolerances it can be hard to know what is causing the problem (If it is due to food and not other things like hormones, stress, mental health etc) if you are eating lots of different foods for each meal.
So my answer is… do whatever works for you. As long as you eat varied throughout the day and throughout the week you will most likely get all the vitamins and minerals you need.
However, if you are a vegan and don’t eat a lot of calories, or you are really focusing on building muscle then you may need to think a little more about protein combining or about getting all the nutrients you need in the food you eat.
I like eating meals with lots of different foods, but time to time I like just eating potatoes and avocado or keeping it simple with potatoes, tofu and avocado. But in general, the more tastes and textures the better!
What is your preferred way of eating? Simple or with lots of different foods in your meal?