"What Should I Eat?"
Do you ever find yourself asking the question “What do I want to eat?”, only to unfortunately come up empty handed and be unable to answer said question. What happens next? Do you default to not having anything to eat because your inquiry went unanswered? Are there any other questions you have considered instead to try to land on a solution?
It’s also important to normalize that struggling to answer this question is very normal at any given moment (or even season of life). Especially when you are eating more consistently and adequately overall, you may notice you no longer have very strong cravings for foods as you might have in the past. This can feel foreign, but can actually indicate something positive: that your body is getting the variety that it needs, and doesn’t need to send out crisis messages to get it’s needs met day to day.
Some other viable options to ask to make an eating decision include:
1.) What actually speaks to the resources (time, money, energy, etc) that I want to put into this eating experience? If you are OK with spending time and money, maybe ordering take out or going out to eat is the best option. If your reserves of any of these resources are running low in regards to food and eating experiences, how can you mitigate your usage of these resources and still be able to have meals and snacks?
2.) What food or ingredients do I have on hand that I want/need to use? You could try hosting an at-home competition similar to the TV show Chopped with this kind of thinking! Say you have a protein that is defrosted and needs to be used, miscellaneous vegetables, a few easy to cook starch options, and various spices/seasonings. Try to come up with something that uses those ingredients and can overall sound tasty! You may come up with something really delicious, and you may not (which is also OK), but either way you can answer by perhaps using what you have on hand and problem solving that way.
3.) What sensory details do I want to have with this eating experience? You might not be able to figure out exactly what you want to eat, but you may know that it’s a chilly, rainy day and you’d prefer something warm over something cold. Take it a few steps further and ask more sensory questions - do you want something creamy or crunchy? Sweet or savory? What color would you like to see on your plate?
4.) What will give me the energy level that I need? This question also asks you to work from your understanding of practical hunger as well as overall time management. If you know that you will not have an opportunity to eat between breakfast and lunch, having a more energy dense breakfast may be something to plan around and figure out your food decisions via that lens. If you need a quick snack to tide you over prior to going out to dinner in an hour, you may land on a different food decision.
Hopefully these alternative questions can help to make figuring out what you want to eat easier when needed. Keep in mind that even if you still struggle with answering these other questions, it is still important to prioritize snacks and meals throughout the day. You may not always feel excited about food and that’s OK but you always need to eat food! And if you are really struggling with this, please reach out for support from a loved one and/or trusted professional.