Do you suffer from decision fatigue? This is a topic I have been talking a lot about lately both in my own personal life and with health coaching clients. For many of us, our days are filled with hundreds or even thousands of micro decisions (what should I wear, which project should I start first, who should I email back, what should I eat for lunch, should I have that piece of candy, what chores do I have to do when I get home, etc.). There is a fantastic NY Times article about this exact topic, and one of the key messages is that "there is a finite store of mental energy for exerting self-control." In simple terms, that means that if you use up all of your decision-making capabilities by 3pm, you shouldn't be surprised if you feel like you have no will power in the evening when it comes to other key decisions. Deciding if you are going to make it to the gym and picking a dinner plan can become monumental tasks leading to you feeling overwhelmed and unequipped for good decision-making.
Tim Ferriss (The 4-hour Work Week) dives into this topic on a great 20-minute podcast, and he offers a very practical solution. Start out your day with 60-minutes of highly structured/planned activities. Decide in advance what those 60 minutes will look like, so for the entire first hour of your day, you will not have to make a single decision. I have been using this type of approach with my health coaching clients and helping them build structure with weekly plans to help avoid decision fatigue. One client and I built a solid 7-day plan which includes a weekly exercise plan, a dinner menu for each day, a schedule for cooking, and a plan for grocery shopping trips along with respective lists for each. This method will drastically reduce the number of decisions that will need to be made in the given week, especially the "tough" ones that occur in the evenings after long days at work and with family.
I challenge you to give this a try and make some decisions in advance. This can mean deciding a few things the night before or building out a more thorough plan on Sunday for the week. Either way, you will be amazed by how much easier life can feel once you reduce your decision fatigue, in turn building your willpower and leading to greater energy and confidence.
Today's recipe is a simple breakfast frittata that can be made in advance for the week. To remove decisions around finding a healthy breakfast, I often make a dish like this (switching up the veggies each week) and portion it out in containers so I am covered with a healthy, colorful, and filling breakfast every day. Try it out - you can switch up the egg whites for eggs, substitute any veggies you have, and top with cheese if you eat dairy. Enjoy!
SIMPLE BREAKFAST FRITTATA
SERVES 5, PREP TIME: 5 MIN, COOK TIME: 35 MIN
- 1 tsp. olive oil (or other cooking fat)
- 6 oz. organic spinach leaves (about 4 cups loosely packed)
- 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 cups egg whites (or 10 eggs)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- shredded cheese (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
- Brush the glass baking dish with the olive oil or other cooking fat
- Lay the spinach in the pan
- Bake the spinach for 3-5 minutes until it begins to wilt
- Stir the spinach, and then top it with the halved cherry tomatoes
- Pour the egg whites (or eggs) on top of the veggies
- Add the salt and pepper (and any other spices you may like)
- If dairy is tolerated, top with shredded cheese
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until set
- Let sit for 3-5 minutes and then slice and serve!
NOTE: To check if the frittata is set, stick a fork in the center of the dish. If it comes out clean, it is finished. If the frittata is still loose in the center, bake for 5-15 minutes (checking every 5 minutes) until it sets.