A Uniform for Your Food?

By Coach Emily

Every day I wake up and get ready for work. I wear black tights and my black work shirt that says “Coach” on the sleeve. Seasonally, my outfit changes slightly to long sleeves in the spring and fall, sweatshirt in the winter, and short sleeves in the summer. The black tights may turn into shorter tights and eventually into shorts for the hot Nebraska summers. Wearing all black every day for work can get a little bland, so lately I have added a bright colored shirt underneath for a splash of color and occasionally I put in the effort to make sure my socks match. 


It’s easy. I wake up and know exactly what I am going to wear. I know exactly when I need to do laundry so that my work uniform is ready to go. There is no thinking and very little prep work to get dressed for work. With the extra time in the morning, I make my locally sourced coffee pour over style and sit down and read a book for 30 minutes. 


I have never been a big fan of clothes…picking them out, shopping for clothes, and having to decide what to wear every day. How stressful and time consuming!


A few weeks ago I was having dinner with some friends and as it always does, food/nutrition came up, especially in regards to what I eat every day. My friend noted how boring it must be to eat the same thing every day as she prepares different meals and tries new recipes all the time. Coincidentally, she is stressed out deciding what to eat each day. I politely replied that it’s not boring and it is what works for me. I got to thinking how my friend and I differ in other areas, not just our approach to food. Clothes!!! Every time I see her, she has a different outfit on, a new bag, and cute new shoes. I thought about what I was wearing that evening out to dinner…probably exactly what I wore last time! 


I realized I have a food uniform. Every day I eat the same thing just as I wear my black tights and coaches shirt for work. Also like my uniform for work, what I eat changes seasonally and sometimes it is nice to add a splash of color to my food with different fruits and vegetables. To be clear, I do not eat the same food for every meal every day, but from week to week my meals are quite similar. 


Might seem like a stretch to compare my food to my work uniform, but keep reading. 


Metaphorically speaking, my tights are my protein and I put those on first. I rotate my protein as I have many different pairs of black tights. Next, I have different colorful shirt options or vegetables to put on each day. Finally, the coaches shirt represents my choice of carb for the day. I have multiple coach shirts to rotate through instead of wearing the same one every day, which gets pretty dirty. 

Over the last four years of nutrition coaching, I have heard the same story over and over again with my nutrition clients…


“I hate deciding what to eat for dinner!”

“I don’t have time to cook!”

“I never know what to buy at the grocery store!”

“I don’t have time to cook in the morning before work!”

“There are so many options for “healthy” food I can’t even…”

“All the recipes are so complicated and require special ingredients I have never heard of or are too expensive to buy and use just once!”


The last two sum up how I feel about clothes! There are so many options out there and if I buy a nice new dress shirt then I have to buy pants to match and then a pair of shoes I will probably only wear once because, let’s be honest, I do not get dressed up and go out that often. How do I carry my money and my phone…do I need a new purse now!? How stressful! Not to mention having to go into my closet before whatever occasion requires me to wear something other than my coaches shirt and trying on literally everything just to decide on one outfit to wear. Maybe I just won’t go… 


I have learned food is as stressful for most people as getting dressed is for me. I also understand getting dressed for some people is fun and exciting and they might not get anything from this and that is okay! 


Creating a food uniform can foster a less stressful environment where you know what you are going to eat for each meal.

  • You know what you have to buy every week at the grocery store.
  • You have your go to meals with all the ingredients on hand.
  • You have a schedule of when you are going to the store.
  • You have a schedule of when you are cooking your meals.


A food uniform can help decrease stress in your life that centers on what to eat and can open up more time in your day because your decisions have already been made. A food uniform can also be called menu planning, meal prepping and so on… 


Just as I sometimes DO wear something other than my coaches shirt and black tights, I do eat other foods. I enjoy going out to eat once in a while and trying a new recipe. I find that the less I do it, the more I enjoy those moments when they do arise.


There are people who cook extravagant meals every day and who wear new and different clothes each day, and I am so glad those people exist so that I can get inspiration from time to time. If you are someone who gets stressed out each time you open your closet door or your refrigerator, it might help to create a uniform you feel comfortable in and that makes sense for you and your life. 


Figuring out the best uniform takes time, and building the structure can be overwhelming all on your own. Our nutrition coaches are here to help you with your food uniform so that once you get it established, the stress is gone and you can just wake up and live your life! 


Thank you for reading and if you ever do see me out of the gym wearing clothes other than workout clothes please approach with compassion as it probably took me a long time to get dressed and I might be a little stressed because of it! 


Coach Emily 


Emily Brede coach at Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness: Home of CrossFit Lincoln

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