The diet you maintain while serving has a significant impact on your health. The best way to avoid gaining weight on your mission is to watch what you eat. It is much easier to slip into an unhealthy diet without your parents’ supervision, so remember all they’ve taught you about eating well.
On your mission you will often be fed by members and investigators which means you will not always be able to choose what you eat. That being said, never leave food on your plate. Many cultures take offense when a meal is not finished, so do everything to never offend your hosts. If they offer you seconds, feel free to take some! Taking seconds assures the host that you like the meal they have prepared. However, if it gets to the point where you can no longer take another bite (it will happen), politely refuse a second helping.
Abide by the following passage from the Missionary Handbook:
“When eating meals with or otherwise visiting members or nonmembers, always act in harmony with the highest standards of consideration and courtesy, observing local customs of etiquette and the common practices of the culture. Be thoughtful by not eating too much if food is in short supply. Always express your thanks. Follow the host or hostess in the use of utensils, and chew food with a closed mouth.”
Because you have no control over what is served with members and investigators, it is important to heavily monitor what you eat on your own time. Be sure have a balanced diet of dairy, grains, fruits, and vegetables. When purchasing your groceries for the week, be sure to include a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables.
It is important that you eat a good breakfast that sustains and energizes you, so eat one relatively light but still fills you up. Eating one too heavy, or going without breakfast entirely will leave you tired and distracted during your morning studies. Keep the serving size fairly small.
Suggested breakfast formula:
- 1 form of carbohydrate
- 1 fruit
- 1 protein
Fried egg on toast
1 fruit (apple, banana, berries, etc.)
1 bowl of granola based cereal with sliced banana or strawberries on top
1 hard boiled egg
You will usually eat lunch before you begin the bulk of your work, so make lunch your biggest meal of the day. Eat a hearty and filling meal that will sustain you as you work.
Suggested lunch formula:
- 1 form of carbohydrate/grain
- 1-2 vegetables or fruits
- 1 protein
Rice bowl with sautéed onions, peppers, broccoli, & chicken
Turkey sandwich on wheat bread
1 fruit (orange, apple, berries, etc.)
Contrary to popular belief, it is better to eat a lighter dinner. The reason is because the later you eat, the less active your metabolism is. Much of the sugar in the food that you eat during the day is converted to energy while the sugar consumed in the evening is more likely to be converted into fat, resulting in a much larger possibility of gaining unwanted weight. Eating lightly in the evening will prevent this.
Suggested dinner formula:
- 3-4 fruits/vegetables
- optional grain or carbohydrate
The examples given are simple just suggestions. I am not a nutritionist, and have still a lot to learn about eating well. I am just sharing what helped me while I served. There are endless meal options, so get creative! Don’t be afraid to switch things up and experiment with different foods. So be healthy and have fun!