TikTok rumors that Jennifer Aniston ate the same salad every day on the set of Friends for 10 years—but is it bad to eat the same thing every day? An RD breaks down everything you need to know.
You’re finally home after a long, exhausting day and trying to decide what to eat. But before you can even make a decision, the tiredness washes over you and you revert back to exactly what you had yesterday (and the day before that and the day before that). You’re not alone: It’s incredibly easy to keep one particular meal on repeat.
In fact, celebrities supposedly swear by this strategy. According to TikTok, Jennifer Aniston ate the same salad every day on the set of Friends for 10 years (though Aniston herself says the salad she ate is different than the viral TikTok recipe). She isn’t the only meal repeater: Celebrities are known for their can’t-live-without-them signature smoothies (see: Hailey Bieber’s Strawberry Glaze Smoothie), and Mariah Carey has claimed she eats only Norwegian salmon and capers. But is it ok to eat the same thing every day? We asked an RD to weigh in.
Is It Bad to Eat the Same Thing Everyday?
In short, no. Eating the same thing every day isn’t bad for you, but it may not be the most healthful option either. There are some cons to it, such as nutrition gaps and burnout, says Gaby Vaca-Flores, RDN, CLE, educational specialist at HUM Nutrition.
“For the most part, there are more cons to eating the same thing every day than there are pros,” Vaca-Flores says. So while it’s not the worst thing you can do diet-wise, it’s not the best thing you can do either (sorry to all the creatures of habit out there).
What Does Eating the Same Thing Every Day Do To Your Body?
“When you eat the same thing over and over again, you run the risk of running low on certain nutrients that may not be present in your daily menu,” Vaca-Flores says. Take for instance the famed Jennifer Aniston salad: It does have an impressive range of carbs, protein, and healthy fats from bulgur wheat, veggies, fresh herbs, chickpeas, pistachio, feta, turkey bacon, and EVOO.
Still, not all go-to meals offer this kind of nutrition. (Plus, even Jennifer Anison would be lacking in certain nutrients if she truly ate this salad every single day.)
By sticking to the exact same menu every single day, you’re missing out on the variety of benefits that different foods have to offer. “Eating an array of foods, particularly whole foods, can help ensure you are getting a variety of nutrients and other beneficial compounds like fiber, prebiotics, and antioxidants,” Vaca-Flores says. “In fact, diversity in your diet can help promote diversity in your gut microbiome.” (It’s true—studies show that a diverse diet creates a more diverse gut microbiome, which can make it more adaptable to changes.
Another drawback? A repetitive eating pattern can get boring, especially if it’s a restrictive diet. “For example, people following a strict meal plan that consists of the same thing daily can cause burnout and consequently cause you to revert back to old eating habits,” Vaca-Flores says.
Why It’s Not All Bad to Eat the Same Thing Everyday
Despite some drawbacks mentioned above, there are still benefits to having reliable meal standbys. “The biggest one, in my opinion, is that it takes away the stress of having to figure out your meals every day,” Vaca-Flores says. “Also, you’ve probably mastered your meal prep routine which can cut down cooking time.”
It’s also a useful strategy if your goal is weight loss. “Eating the same thing every day can also help give you control over how many calories and macronutrients you eat which might be helpful for someone who is looking to manage their weight,” Vaca-Flores adds.
How to Avoid Eating the Same Thing Every Day
Stuck in a rut and want to boost your gut health and prevent nutrient deficiencies? Here are three ways you can avoid eating the same thing every day.
Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
Take away the stress of making a game-time weeknight dinner decision by planning your meals in advance. By knowing ahead of time, it won’t feel like too much work or stress to execute. “It can help to ‘menu plan’ some of your favorite meals and cycle them throughout the week to ensure that you are getting variety while also maintaining the perks of having a routine eating pattern,” Vaca-Flores.
“As a dietitian who hates cooking, I meal prep once or twice per week several different dinner options with three to four different protein, carb, and fat staples so that I can easily make a variety of meal combinations,” Vaca-Flores says.
Another pro tip from Vaca-Flores? Cook your proteins with different sauces and seasonings to add flavor and variety. “For example, on one baking sheet, I might have one salmon filet marinated in teriyaki, another filet seasoned with garlic and salt, and another with rosemary and lemon pepper,” she says. “You can also challenge yourself to add one or two new (or seasonal) foods to your grocery haul each week to help keep things exciting at meal time.”
Keep Your Daily Diet Simple
It may be tempting to constantly switch up your meals and try new things. But if you’re prone to eating the same thing every day, Vaca-Flores says it can be helpful to keep your daily diet as simple as possible. “No need to get granular about exactly how many different types of foods you should eat every day,” she says. Instead, just try cycling through your favorite meals throughout the week.