Our brains have a limited amount of bandwidth for making decisions, leading to a phenomenon known as decision fatigue.
The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain. Eventually the brain looks for shortcuts. One shortcut is to act impulsively instead of expending the energy to first think through the consequences. “Sure, buy that chocolate bar and bag of chips at the gas station checkout!”. The second shortcut is to do nothing. By avoiding any choice, the mental strain is eased. For example, skipping breakfast altogether but later finding yourself head first in the box of donuts at the office. Ducking a decision often creates bigger problems in the long run, but for the moment, it eases the mental strain.
After each decision, you have less bandwidth available to make future choices. Choices that will either bring you one step closer or one step further from your goals. My tip for managing decision making fatigue? Automation!
I’ve spoken about automation when it comes to clothing choices, but this same strategy applies to nutrition. If you are able to free yourself of the small decisions through automation, then you are much better equipped to make the decisions that cannot be automated.
Click here for my post on automating my outfits!
Some clients thrive automating breakfast, lunches, and snacks whereas others prefer more variety. My tip? Automate at least one meal or snack. That’s one less decision to make during the work day and less time going into grocery shopping, meal planning, and meal prep. It can even reduce food waste! Less time meal planning means more productive time to put towards your life’s mission whether that be career, family and friends, fitness and health, travel, or tackling the next item on your never-ending to-do list!
Automation of meals is not a perfect formula. Many meals have a social aspect like lunch meetings, family dinners, dates, and meet-ups with friends that can’t be planned for. That is perfectly okay! These type of meal events do not make up the predominant part of one’s week. Focus on simplifying the meals and snacks that are within your control!
Lately I have been automating breakfast! There are four components I look at including at every meal I create. These four components include:
- Healthy Fat
- Volume Foods (eg. low calorie, nutrient dense foods like veggies and fruits)
My go-to, automated breakfast this week is oatmeal with berries and nut butter and a side of an egg and egg whites. It checks off my four boxes with:
- Protein: egg and egg whites (minor amounts in the oatmeal and nut butter)
- Fibre: oatmeal and berries
- Healthy fat: nut butter
- Volume: a handful of spinach scrambled with my eggs and the berries in my oats
Tip: include 30g of protein at breakfast for a meal that fuels you until noon! If you aren’t a breakfast eater (eg. intermittent fasting) still try to include a minimum of 30g of protein at the first meal you enjoy!
This meal is very simple but so delicious!
Tip: the source of carbohydrate from the berries and oats make this an energizing breakfast if you are someone who works out in the morning or early afternoon!