What we eat for dinner is something we have to think about every single day, so it’s no surprise that some people are taking the guesswork out of it and having the same meals on repeat.
In fact, a new survey has found that as many as six in 10 (or 60%) of Brits eat the same dinner up to four times per week.
The study of 2,000 adults by McCain found that a further 32% of people often end up with a ‘boring’ dinner in the middle of the week, citing tiredness and lack of planning as the main reasons.
Others say their main reasons for eating the same meal every day is because it’s convenient, they’re quick to make, and it’s become a habit.
While you may think your boring meals are bland, they can actually be a good thing - particularly if they are nutritionally balanced.
"For some people eating the same foods on repeat can take the thought process out of eating, it can be easier, quicker and may be what fits within their budget," Jenna Hope, registered nutritionist and author of How To Stay Healthy, explains.
"Additionally, for fussy eaters they may find just a few foods which they really enjoy."
While Hope adds that we should ideally be mixing up our dinners to ensure a diversity of nutrients like amino acids, fibre and plant chemicals, this can be costly for people - especially if you are cooking for one.
"Therefore, it’s important to try to buy different ingredients each week if you’re unable to mix it up during the week," Hope says.
So, say you have six go-to dinners, try buying the ingredients for a few one week and the rest the next to ensure you are getting enough variety in your diet. However, it is important to make sure that these meals are nutritionally balanced.
What counts as a nutritionally balanced meal?
Hope recommends having a source of protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and plenty of vegetables with your dinner.
"Opt for wholegrains, beans, pulses or root vegetables as your carbohydrate source, oily fish, nuts, seeds or olive oil for your healthy fats and then a good quality protein such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, tofu, beans or pulses," Hope explains.
"Additionally, try to bulk out your meals with green vegetables such as kale, spinach, spring greens or broccoli for an extra burst of nutrients."
Is it OK to have a few go-to dinners?
"Absolutely," Hope says. "It’s important to make healthy eating quick and easy.
"However, try to mix up the basics such as interchanging sweet potatoes with butternut squash, switching up rice with quinoa and rotating through salmon, mackerel, canned tuna or sardines. Additionally, try incorporating a variety of beans into your meals too."
Yet, Hope says there are even more benefits to adding a new meal to your repertoire every once in a while.
"Incorporating new meals into your diet can help to expand your tastebuds, keep healthy eating interesting and enjoyable but also expand your nutritional profile, antioxidant and plant chemical intake and incorporate a variety of fibre types into your diet," she adds. "This is particularly important for supporting a healthy gut."
So, there you have it. There’s nothing wrong with a ‘boring’ dinner, but maybe make a few switches when you can to liven things up.
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