I crave routine and structure. I always have. Routine in my day-to-day, routine in meals, routine in work. In my mind, if I have enough routine for the things that need to be done I will be able to accomplish them efficiently and still have time left over to play and be spontaneous. It rarely works that way for me. It is all to often I feel unable to complete the tasks I have agreed to do in a timely fashion and thus when the opportunity to be spontaneous emerges I turn it down out of guilt and stress, citing my to do list and countless other excuses.
There is a fair amount of research out there on food/diet and routine. This research is very similar to most other bits on nutrition out there – no one understands what to make of it. For example, one person will suggest eating the same thing for breakfast daily while another touts variety. Who is right?? How can you tell? People have so many questions about the ‘knowledge’ being presented that they end up making no change at all. Here’s the deal – they are both right. It really depends on YOU and YOUR LIFE. Are you someone who can’t function very well at 5:30 in the morning when you have only had a cup of coffee? If so, I would strongly recommend having the same ‘formula’ for breakfast every morning. For example, if you know every morning – or at least Monday thru Friday – you are going to have a bowl of oatmeal, a glass of milk and a serving of whatever fruit is in season, mornings will be easier and thus your days will be more manageable. Having a formula like this not only takes the challenge out of mornings, but it also makes planning and shopping easier. You can even make a week’s worth of oatmeal over the weekend and simply have to reheat in the mornings. But what if you are a morning person and need a bit more creativity in the morning, or you simply hate the idea of eating oatmeal five days a week? That’s fine too! In this case, the variety-toters are your answer. Keep some healthy, easy staples on hand at all times and you can have something different each morning. I would still recommend planning what you are going to eat each day. That way you ensure you have adequate supplies come Monday morning.
In our house, it’s a bit of both. Monday through Friday alternates between two breakfasts. For example, this week we are having toast and smoothies as one option and pumpkin pie oatmeal as the other option. On the weekends I ensure I have enough of each breakfast on hand so we can have one of those if we’d like, or we can also do something completely different like egg burritos or pancakes.
I have been thinking a lot about routines lately. I have also been reading a lot about personal fulfillment. In my mind, as in many other’s, the two go together. It all seems to go back to balance. You need enough structure to feel like you have a purpose and a plan but enough flexibility to maintain your creativity and independence. What do you think?
Here is a preview shot from our recent trip to Sedona.