Is Food Variety Important?

Did you know the famous F.R.I.E.N.D.S co-stars Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston had the same cobb salad for lunch every day on set, for the ten years?! Clearly, food variety wasn’t on their list of priorities!

There has been a lot of debate whether it’s harmful to eat the same thing every day or food variety is really the spice of (a healthy) life?! Let’s look at the advantages of each aspect and then, perhaps you can decide which way better suits your lifestyle.

Before we get into a detailed discussion of the whats and the what-nots of eating, let us first be clear, that when we talk about eating the same thing every day, we assume the foods you choose to eat regularly have wholesome ingredients and provide a healthy balance of raw and unprocessed food.

A lean piece of protein, a potato, and steamed vegetables is a good example of a healthy meal. A cheeseburger, French fries, and a chocolate milkshake is not.

meal planning

Advantages of Food Variety in Planned Meals

Comfort And Convenience: Some people stick to planned meals for the primary reason of comfort and convenience; they plan out their every meal and probably their drinks too!

Awareness of Calories/Nutrition: The advantage of planning your meals is that you will always know what you are going to eat, in advance. You are also less likely to miss meals with planning. It also increases the likelihood that you will  eat a wholesome portion and not over indulge.

Choose Healthier Ingredients: People who plan out their meals tend to make healthier choices while choosing the ingredients. Of late, the Internet has been flooded with bloggers and articles focused on eating healthy and eating clean. The more colourful your plate, the more nutritious your food.

Focus on Other Priorities: When you mentally prepare for your meals it will help give more time to other things like working out, or even meditating.

Promote Holistic Health: Recent studies by the renowned Ph.D. associate of Stanford University, Justin L. Sonnenburg, show that adding a variety of food — especially fiber — helps in promoting superior bacterial variety in the intestines.

Sonnenburg also wrote the book “The Good Gut.” He detailed his experiments of low-fiber diets in mice and its consequences on the inner lining of intestines. The study found that with a low-fiber diet, the inner lining of the stomach measured half its original size compared to a diet that included a variety of food.

Different types of bacteria act to produce different parts of our structure. For instance, some play a role in appetite and fullness, inflammation, and blood sugar control. Diverse foods help in keeping weight in check. Eating different kinds of food may also helps in keeping health issues at bay.

A study chronicled in the American Journal of Epidemiology by Yang Yang, takes things a tad bit further by stating that people who indulge in a variety eating have a lower chance of early death.

Advantages of Eating the Same Thing Every Dayhealthy eating

Low-Calorie Intake: Scientists have discovered that eating the same meal every day of the week can result in consumption of fewer calories. While sticking to a carbon-copy menu however, even a well-balanced meal eaten repeatedly can end up depriving your body of certain nutrients.

Low Cost: Food expenses can shoot up if you indulge in a large variety of ingredients, not to mention unused food that may end up going to waste. Eating the same thing every day can save you a lot of money — not only in terms of ingredients but also trips to the grocery mart.

Easy Habit: Let’s admit it, planning the same meal every day takes a lot less effort.

Easy Tracking: You can use an app to track your daily intake or even without using one, you are aware of what’s going in your body, every day.

Easy Preparation: Unless you have a passion for cooking, following recipes and preparing meals can be stressful. You would not only end up spending a lot of time in preparing it but if it doesn’t taste good, then all your efforts go down the drain!


  • If eating the same thing every day is not planned properly, you could forgo probiotics or prebiotics that could affect the bacteria in your gut and result in low immunity or mood swings.
  • The monotony of eating the same food on a regular basis can result in over indulging at times.
  • Having the same kind of food could also lead to Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is a group of risk factors that will increase chances of one having heart diseases and other health problems.

So, which lifestyle do you plan on adopting? Leave a comment and let us know.

SOURCE: American Journal of Epidemiology, online December 31, 2014

About the Author: Alicia Honeycutt is a digital strategist and a writer at Essaydot.

Established in 2001, Early to Rise publishes information dedicated to helping you live your best possible life. Here you’ll find effective and proven strategies to increase your health, wealth and productivity.