How To Overcome Decision Fatigue and Make Healthier Food Choices?
How many decisions about food do you think you make in a day?
The number of food decisions that an average person takes in a day might surprise you. According to Robyn Downs (the real food for life), people make about 227 food decisions per day. As astonishing it sounds, it’s true and backed by several studies.
Most of these decisions you make are simple ones like what to eat, what to make, how to make it, or how to get it.
Even what to eat for breakfast the following day feels exhausting to many busy professionals. Think about it. You decide what you will eat, at what time, or do you have the right ingredients in the pantry? All these questions quickly start to add up to mental exhaustion called decision fatigue.
Busy people like professionals, students, and homemakers make multiple decisions a day. Many a time after a tiring day, people are unable to make the simplest decisions like what to eat. It’s one of the main reasons most people head to the vending machine or fridge to grab sugary drinks or high-calorie junk food. Things become more complicated for people who follow specific diet plans like vegetarian, vegan, or keto. People with special dietary restrictions may struggle too—gluten-free and dairy-free diet or diabetes.
No, you are not lazy or lack willpower. Decision fatigue forces you to make some of the worst choices related to food.
Signs of decision fatigue:
- the blurry feeling where you are unable to think
- choosing easiest decision, just to get it over with
- feeling detached or unable to engage in the process
- feeling like abandoning things in the middle and walk away
- feels anxious or angry when put in a position to decide
Hungry people often do not make good decisions. According to a study at the University of Dundee, making any decision while you are hungry can lead to poorer choices for the long term. That is why experts say grocery shopping on an empty stomach is never a good idea. Shopping involves a series of decision-making, and the choices bombard us.
Eating Healthy and Decision Fatigue
A big part of eating healthy involves making the right food choices. It can be much more challenging than one can imagine. And what’s more, decision fatigue also crushes your willpower.
People mostly rely on willpower alone to resist the cravings and prevent themselves from eating unhealthy snacks. It is often noticed people who have a decision-heavy day or had a rough day, getting unhealthy takeaways to feel better or avoid thinking about trickier healthy alternatives. Studies show most people make poor food choices unintentionally. One of the most worrisome aspects of this study is that when you concentrate too much on nutrition and counting macros and micros, your mental energy drains. The mental exhaustion and confusion about what to eat and what not to eat can be stressful. It can make people more vulnerable to choices they wouldn’t make otherwise.
Willpower is not restricted to some people. We all have it. Whenever willpower starts getting weak, people tend to make unhealthy choices. Research shows willpower is like muscles that we use every day. Just like muscles, willpower can also get fatigued when used over a period. Similar to how your muscles get tired after a workout, your willpower fades depending on the number of decisions you make.
Do you suffer from eating decision fatigue?
Are you someone who often makes unhealthy eating decisions after a tiring day? Food decision fatigue can happen to anyone. Particularly those who lead a busy life and their personal and professional survival demands a lot of decision-making.
While decision fatigue is more common than you think, the good thing is you can overcome it and make smart food choices. What you need to do is redefine your food decision-making process. The practice can help set you on the right path of healthy eating for a lifetime. To beat the blues of decision fatigue, try to introduce new food and add a variety of flavors to your daily meal plan.
How to beat food decision fatigue?
Healthy eating must be easy. You do not have to rely on your willpower entirely. You can use strategies that can help you form healthy habits and make you more organized. That is why we have described 5 easy ways to overcome food decision fatigue. These methods can give structure to your meal routine and reduce your efforts and time.
Whether you are looking for weight loss or aiming to eat healthily, do not overcomplicate things. Most people do not like the idea of having fewer options. At the end of the day, you want lesser decisions in your life, especially when decision-making is tiring you down.
When planning your weekly meals, pick what is essential for you to stay healthy and eliminate what leads you to unhealthy indulgence. The simplification ensures having lesser distractions and takes away the mental clutter.
Standing in front of the fridge and figuring out what to cook every day can be stressful. Planning your meals in advance can save you a lot of time and energy. Start by breaking down your meal into components or parts. Our nutritionists say these components are the building blocks of any meal.
The six essential buildings block of any meal are:
- Topping and extras
Now the trick lies in the mix and match of these elements together and planning a weekly or daily meal plan. Start by writing down what you would like to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Get your groceries accordingly. You can prepare your sauces in advance and freeze them so you can use them later.
Meal mapping is more flexible than meal planning. Start with choosing a meal type and break it down on weekdays. For example, Monday – Stir-fry pasta salad; Tuesday – Meat Free; Wednesday – Fish, etc. Or go for country themes if you have a world palate; Indian, Mexican, Lebanese, etc., are excellent choices. Rather than following strict recipes, stick to mix-and-match your food. It also prevents food wastage, because you can cook with the thing you have and tailor your meal around it.
Get your groceries on your weekly off day. Follow your meal plan and get all the ingredients required. Create the grocery list along with your meal plan. This way, you will have all the necessary things for your recipes well in advance. You can avoid a last-minute run to the grocery store. Moreover, after a tiring day that run to the grocery store might never happen, you may end up ordering pizza instead.
Pick your battles
Everybody can’t be a great cook. Plus surviving in this fast-pacing world, people hardly get time to prepare food. Your commitment to health might restrict you from eating junk food, but freshly cooked healthy meals can be extremely hard to prepare daily.
“Hungry belly knows no love”
A hungry person cannot make the right decisions. You need to be nourished appropriately to go on in life. A nutritious meal ensures a sharp mind and an active body. So, rather than eating junk food or frozen foods, order ready-made healthy meals. Our meal delivery services ensure freshly prepared, nutritious, and tailor-made meals are home-delivered to you every day.
Meal delivery services in Dubai have become a boon to several busy professionals. We offer a range of dishes for all your meals, planned according to your dietary restrictions, fitness goals, and unique requirements. We have it all, from vegan meal plans to muscle-building meals, from keto diet food to pescatarian meal plans. The menu that changes every week ensures that you never feel bored and feel excited about your next meal. Your life can become a lot easier when healthy meals are delivered right to your doorstep.
Take back the control
Don’t let the food decision fatigue rule your life. You can take a number of actions apart from food commitments to ease your decision-making process. Knowing how your brain works give you all the power and improve the quality of your judgment. Some strategies to take control of your mind are:
- Commit to your pre-scheduled routine like exercise.
- Make important decisions in the morning.
- Make a grocery list and stick to it, do not get distracted.
- Don’t starve yourself; keep your blood sugar in check.
- Don’t shop when you are hungry or stressed.
The strategies may sound simple, but they are highly impactful and prevent decision fatigue.
If you want to make better conclusions from your mind, put something in your body first. A tired brain and hungry body cannot make a sound judgment. A little bit of planning and prepping can make your food choices intentional and not impulsive.
You cannot rely on willpower to save you every time you feel tempted to eat a piece of cake when you are hungry. A few changes and early planning can go a long way. To make things easier, we can take care of your nourishment. We offer affordable and customized diet plans well-suited for your health and taste.