Healthy Cooking for One? No Problem.
Whether you are a single college age student or hitting those retirement years and living alone, cooking for one can be a challenge. Research has found that some people who live alone don’t eat as healthy for many reasons. Issues like motivation to cook, poor cooking skills, not having a partner to help, and not taking the time to sit down and enjoy the meal can all be barriers.
I often find that clients who live alone rely on junky pre-made or frozen meals and eat out more frequently. Another big problem is not buying produce due to it going bad before being able to eat it all, which, buying less produce and variety can mean less nutrient dense foods which can impact health significantly. Here are some easy ideas to improve your diet when living alone.
Healthy Cooking for One Tips:
1.) Write out your menu
This is what I do with most of my clients every week to stay organized with a plan. By only buying what they need, they reduce their food waste and have simple recipes ready to go. It’s important to be realistic and leave days open too, especially if you are in the dating world or need socialization!
2.) Learn to love leftovers
I would suggest sticking with recipes that are 2-4 servings so you don’t get tired of the same thing. Choose foods that taste better the next day like chilis, protein-based salads, or make extra crockpot servings and freeze them.
3.) Shop more often
This isn’t always ideal for people who hate grocery shopping but can pay off when it comes to having fresh produce and avoiding waste. Try a pick-up service to make it easier! Pick a couple days a week to reassess your meal plan and buy accordingly.
4.) Buy frozen or pre-cut options
Frozen produce is often just as nutrient dense as fresh. Make a balanced smoothie with frozen fruit, steam a bag of veggies and grilled chicken, go for the easiest option! People complain about the increased prices with the pre-cut meat, fruit and vegetable options but I often remind them it’s more affordable than eating out or frequently letting produce go bad.
5.) Blend convenience foods with fresh foods
Take low-sodium soup stock and throw in some frozen vegetables; or buy a rotisserie chicken or shredded meat and then use it several way, like on salads, in sandwiches or casseroles. One of my favorite snack options is a tuna packet paired with fresh cucumber slices!
Don’t let cooking for one be a barrier for your health goals! There are a ton of ways to simplify cooking for one.
Healthy Cooking for One Recipe Ideas:
Some easy protein packed single serving lunches I like to make during the week are tuna and chicken salad too! Using a few healthy “processed foods” can still be a part of a balanced diet. Check out my list of favorites.