On being an indecisive eater

19 September 2016

I have never liked being called a picky eater. Picky eaters don’t like most foods. Picky eaters aren’t open to new things. Picky eaters are high maintenance. I love exploring foods. Ask me what my favorite foods are and I’ll likely say “all of them.” There’s not many foods I won’t eat — or at least try. However… when it comes to deciding on what to eat, it can sometimes be excruciating.

It’s one of those everything and nothing sounds good and I can’t get myself to just settle and make a decision. In Chicago, I would solve this by ordering delivery. I had nearly 300 options that would bring food straight to my door. Here in Indiana? There are 4 options on GrubHub (a pita place, an inexpensive Chinese, a slightly pricey Mediterranean place, and a national pizza chain), and maybe 6-7 other pizza places in town. There is this other delivery service started by some BSU alums that’ll deliver from various local places, but there’s a $10 minimum and fees — which is a lot just to get Taco Bell to your door. (And yes, it takes a special kind of lazy to have Taco Bell delivered.) So delivery isn’t much of an option. (And my car window motor is dying, so drive thru is also not much of an option — I’m actually not too sad about that.)

The fun one is when you just went grocery shopping and can’t figure out what to eat. That happens more often than I should admit. It’s like I know I have tons of food, but figuring out what to do with it? Or if I choose to have something now it means I can’t have it later… (That one’s a little weird, because it’s not like I can’t go out and get more to make more, etc. — I do this with outfits, too.) Or there’s the ever popular: I just don’t want to deal with cleaning up afterward.

So one of the things I’ve been doing to fight my food indecisiveness are lists. Lots of lists, actually. I keep a magnetic notepad on my fridge and rather than using it for just what groceries I need, it’s most often used for meal plan ideas. It’s not just anything I want to make, it’s meals I have the actual ingredients to make right now. As I use up an idea (including the leftovers), I cross it off. Currently, the one I have on the fridge has meals I can make for lunch — it’s specifically focused because I’ve not done well with packing lunches last week. In another notebook, I’ve got a list of all possible meals. I go from all the things I can cook to even just listing cereal as an option. This way, instead of bemoaning not knowing what to eat, I can go through a list of options (my menu, if you will) and figure out from there what either sounds good or would be an easy option to fix up.

countrybreakfast

The other thing I do is reminding myself that good food doesn’t have to be complicated food. A crazy filling breakfast like the one above? It’s canned biscuits, two eggs over-easy, and the easiest sausage gravy ever (1/2 roll of sausage + country gravy mix). Like, it’s kind of embarrassing how easy it is. But that’s one of the tricks I use to choose foods: reminding myself that I can make some super tasty food without laboring all day. (Though, sometimes that’s fun to do, too!) It’s especially helpful when I am feeling lazy.

The last little list trick I use is, again, specific to lunch. Since I tend to spend all day on campus, I need to make sure I’ve got food that’ll fill me up and keep me from spending money on the fast food on campus. I bought a new lunch box system which is just a series of different sized tupperware containers. I took those, traced them on a large piece of paper, and then within the boxes I list the different options I can put in those specific containers.

packing lunches

All in all, these little “tricks” are mainly just to take the thinking out of all of this. The more time I spend in my head debating, the less time I get to eat. (And yes, I’ve had times where I’ve spent hours trying to figure out dinner and end up not eating because it’s past 10pm before I give up.) It’s all kind of freeing, really. I know some people do an actual meal plan where they choose which days to make certain things… that’s too limiting to me. Especially because I’ll be flighty and when that day comes not want to make whatever was on the list. It’ll just lead to more indecisiveness. Having a master list of meal options just works for me. Do I still have times when I still can’t pick from the list? Yeah. Sometimes. But it’s rare when I don’t eventually just pick something.

Are you an indecisive eater? What tricks/tips do you use?

  • Kay

    I think you’ve got an awesome system planned out! I plan our dinner menu each week, and it’s for a similar reason. I know if I have to wing it each night for what to cook, I’ll just browse recipes forever, get frustrated because I can’t pick, and just make everybody grilled cheese. With having them planned out, I know what my choices are and can just pick one to cook.

    • Thanks! While I do enjoy cooking for other people, I think that responsibility on a daily basis would make it extra challenging! Though, hopefully it means another person to help with the decisions and cooking. 🙂

  • Desiree

    These are all great ideas. I’m constantly in that what do I want to eat mode. I’m going to try making my own “menus” like you have. Thanks for the tips.

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