Beating Decision Fatigue – Top Tips!


In a previous article we highlighted the area of social psychology known as Decision Fatigue which describes how your decision making ability deteriorates as you become mentally fatigued. Essentially, your mental strength is subject to the same rules as your muscles and overuse leads to impairment in function which can manifest in a reduced ability to make good quality decisions. It’s all too easy for your nutritional choices to get caught up in this and food decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made throughout the day around your food choices.

Picture the scene; it’s 9pm and you find yourself in the local express supermarket after an epic Crossfit WOD. You know which nutrients your body needs and you know which foods provide them but you are still staring at the same refrigerator section with a vacant expression. A fresh mind would pick up a few simple ingredients to augment the existing foods you have at home but the tired mind acts rashly (or does nothing at all) and makes poor and irrational food selections which leaves your body in a compromised state. When faced with too many choices, decision fatigue has robbed you of a good meal.

We make hundreds of food decisions each day so in order to help you make better choices we have pulled together a few handy tips and tools which should take some of the hassle out of the decision making process.

Create a larder list:
A larder list is a simple list of the ‘essential’ items that you want to keep a regular supply of in your home. It should form the basis of your weekly or fortnightly food shop. Most online supermarkets will let you do this by saving your ‘favourite’ items or you could use our printable version as a guide.

Write a weekly menu and highlight key ingredients:
Planning your meals for the week ahead is an easy 10-minute task that will save a lot of hassle, time and money. But if even that seems like too much work then just make sure you go to bed each night knowing what you are going to have for breakfast the following morning.

Write a shopping list:
Never food shop without a list. Shopping with a list reduces the need for you to make quick decisions when faced with an array of choices. But not having a list leaves you susceptible to clever advertising strategies and impulse buys – that’s why supermarkets stock tempting items like sweets and chocolates close to the tills. Use your larder list and weekly menu to dictate your shopping list.

Create a good default setting:
Make a list of 5 quick and easy ‘go-to’ meals or snacks that you can always fall back when you are caught short of time or ingredients. Our favourites are:
– Minute Steak fried in Coconut Oil with Mushrooms
– Homemade Chicken Fried Rice
– Tomato and Spinach Omelette
– Hot Guacamole and Bacon
– Greek Yoghurt with Mixed Seeds and Blueberries

Batch Cook
Double or triple your ingredient volumes for a dish then refrigerate or freeze for later in the week. Also, if the oven is on then get some more food in there! Throwing in some extra veggies and a chicken breast gives you an extra meal for the following day with minimal hassle.
Our favourite dishes to batch cook are:
– Sweet Potato topped Cottage Pie
– Homemade Burgers
– Lamb Meatballs
– Beef and Vegetable Stew
– Chilli con Carne

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