When mealtime rolls around, are you ever just like, I have zero inspiration right now and no idea what to eat…? This happens to me sometimes and it’s what I call “meal boredom.” Meal boredom is that feeling of creative exhaustion that washes over me where I’m hungry, I want to eat something delicious, but I have no idea what.
One solution I’ve found to help with meal boredom involves a simple mindset switch. Instead of making mealtime a consideration of what I want to eat (because of taste), I think more about which macronutrients my body needs for that particular meal.
By macronutrients I mean these three things:
These are the three, primary nutrients our bodies require to function, and also the three, primary components of all the meals we eat. The micronutrients (things like vitamins, minerals, etc.) are likewise important to eat; however, as the term communicates, we only eat these things in “micro” amounts.
To the list of macronutrients, I would also add:
While technically fibre is a carbohydrate, it’s one that our bodies cannot digest – and which also performs a vital function (to carry the food on through to the other side). For this reason I find it easier to imagine fibre as a macronutrient unto itself.
How My Focus on Macronutrients Fends Off Meal Boredom
When mealtime rolls around, oftentimes our minds go directly to: What would be a delicious meal for me? This is the place where our meal design begins (our taste buds) and subsequently where meal boredom is born.
Making macronutrients the beginning point of your meal design causes your mind to begin here: Which macronutrient(s) does my body need the most for this meal?
From there, you can begin to build your meal around the macronutrient. And don’t worry: Your meal can and should still be just as delicious as it would normally be. The only difference here is that the delicious-making comes later on in the meal creation.
What Fighting Meal Boredom Looks Like
My current nutrition plan, designed around macronutrient consumption to complement my routine at the gym, has me eating higher carbohydrates and lower fats before and a few hours after my workouts. This helps to fuel my workouts and aid in recovery and energy replacement.
Apart from the times I’m working out, I cut back on the carbohydrates and increase the fats. This helps to give me a feeling of satiation (like only fat can do) and also provides a nice, calm, slow-burning energy for my workday.
Woven into all of my meals is a moderate amount of protein to help with tissue repair and all that lovely stuff, as well as a hefty amount of fibre (usually in the form of leafy green vegetables, which contain more fibre than grains).
Here are some typical workout day meals for me, designed around macronutrient needs. A few contextual things to note:
- I usually work out in the morning before work
- I try to fast 3-4 nights out of the week (read more about fasting here)
- I typically don’t eat a lot of animal products during the work week
- Bowl of al dente wheat-free steel cut oats with almond milk
- Smoothie of spinach and almond milk (I drink this down fast!)
7:15 AM – 8:30 AM: Workout
High-carb post-workout meal:
- Smoothie of spinach, blueberries, chia seeds, almond milk, honey, sunflower seed butter
High(ish)-carb/Moderate-fat mid-morning snack
- Handful of raw almonds
- A couple pieces of fruit (usually apples or pears)
- Almond milk latte
Moderate-fat/High-fibre lunch number 1
- Sauteed veggies and tofu with miso gravy (no rice)
High-fat/High-fibre lunch number 2
- Big giant delicious salad with high-fat salad dressing
- Cucumber slices with homemade guacamole
2:30 PM – 6 AM (The next morning): Fast
Meal Boredom Is a Mindset, One That You Can Shift
Though the delicious factor might seem less important when making macronutrients the focus of the meal, along with my anti meal boredom mindset approach I’ve noticed something else happening:
The idea of what constitutes meal satisfaction has shifted in my mind, reducing the instances of meal boredom. The feeling of satiation I get having eaten what my body needs becomes the satisfaction I’m looking for when designing my meals; satisfying my taste buds becomes more of an added bonus, not the primary focus.
And taste buds, too, can easily be tricked by processed garbage and fake flavours – you can eat something that tastes delicious, but provides nothing for your body’s needs. Choosing to make macronutrients the focus is really about putting your body’s needs first, and that, in itself, makes for the best meal you’ll ever have.