- In an effort to cook more nutritious meals at home, I’ve been eating the same dinner two weeks in a row.
- I balanced my meal with protein and healthy fats from lentil pasta, vegetables, and a mixed salad.
- I loved the easy prep work, thought my body felt better, and even looked forward to dinnertime.
I’m not someone who enjoys spending time in the kitchen and would rather end the day with takeout than cook a meal for myself. But after doing a review of my finances for 2022, I realized that I spent a lot of money on eating out and that I needed to change my eating habits.
So, in an effort to save money and eliminate the daily stress of figuring out what to cook, I ate the same meal every night for two weeks.
Here’s how it went.
I chose an inexpensive pasta and salad meal that was easy to make and had plenty of nutrients
It’s important to consider a meal that contains all the nutrients I need for optimal health, said registered dietitian Lori Walker. According to Walker, such a meal would include vegetables, a source of lean protein, and healthy fats.
Since I’m vegan, I decided my meal would be lentil pasta, which has 12 grams of protein, along with tomato sauce, a side of stir-fried veggies, and a mixed salad with avocado.
Eating the same healthy, balanced dinner like pasta and salad every night will also provide a steady source of nutrition, Irene Mejia, a registered dietitian told me.
During the experiment, I ended up having more free time for myself
By making this experiment, I was hoping to save time because I usually take about an hour to prepare dinner. I usually spent 75% of that time figuring out what I was going to eat and debating whether I should cook or order takeaway. I also spend about an hour a week at the grocery store trying to figure out what ingredients I need because I didn’t plan out my meals in advance.
Now that I have a set plan for dinner, I’ve saved at least three hours a week.
I knew exactly what I needed at the grocery store and would cook two meals of pasta and salad every night to last for two days. Since it was a simple meal, it only took me about 10-15 minutes.
Preparing and eating dinner only took about 30 minutes, which allowed me an extra half hour to do something relaxing and enjoyable each night.
In the end, I got bored of the same meal
Unfortunately, by the fourth night, I was starting to get tired of eating the same meal. I was craving takeout from my favorite local place and almost gave up my eating challenge.
However, I was motivated to continue when I reminded myself that I was making for a consistently balanced, nutritious dinner.
In an effort to stick to this one meal, I’ve started adding seasonings like pepper and garlic powder and different salad dressings like ranch and balsamic to help make it taste a little different every night.
However, I felt better in my body and I believe it was because I was getting the nutrients I needed
By day 10 of the pasta and salad meal, my taste buds had become accustomed to eating the same thing and I found myself looking forward to dinner. I think this may be because my body was happy that it was getting the nutrients it needed.
Walker told Insider that when you eat the same foods regularly, your digestive system gets used to them and “it can lead to better overall gut health.”
According to Walker, the trial also benefited from potential weight loss or control because “eating the same foods regularly makes it easier to control your portion sizes and calorie intake.”
Since I don’t track my weight or weigh myself, I can’t confirm if I lost a few pounds, but I did feel better in the two weeks than I have in a while. I didn’t crave sweets so much, something I had done a lot before, and I felt full every night.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience and would try it again
Overall, I thought the experience encouraged me to eat more nutritionally balanced meals and cook at home. Although i would have liked more variety in my dinners, i think my body felt better and i loved the amount of time it saved at the grocery store and at home.
I’m going to take a break from pasta and salad for at least a month but I want to try this experiment again with a different meal. This way, I can eat two or three nutritious meals that I can alternate back and forth each week.
But until then, I’ll settle for ordering takeout once or twice a week.