It can seem difficult or overwhelming to cook for only one person when so many recipes give a yield for 4-6 people! Maybe you have been used to cooking for a large family or maybe just another loved one. Whatever the case may be, I am going to give you tips on how to shop and cook healthy for one. So, lets get started!
Tip #1: Make a Plan!
Use a calendar or some scrap paper to make your menu for the week. See what you already have in your cabinets so you are not spending extra money on things you don't need. It doesn't have to be super specific. For example: Monday (chicken with rice and veggie casserole), Tuesday (scrambled eggs with veggies), Wednesday (chicken soup using leftover rice), etc. Just having an idea for the week can help to keep your budget and health on track.
Tip #2: Be Careful with Fresh Produce!
Fresh produce is a great choice; however, if you don't plan correctly, you can be throwing away money. Be strategic with your fresh produce. If you buy lettuce, be sure to use it early in your weekly menu so it won't go bad. For fresh fruit, freeze it before it goes bad for use in smoothies or yogurt toppers later.
Tip #3: Use Frozen Fruits and Vegetables!
Frozen produce are just as nutritious as fresh produce and they won't spoil quickly. When choosing frozen options, look for ones without added sauces. You can use frozen produce for smoothies, soups, stir-fries and more!
Tip #4: Use Canned Fruits and Vegetables!
Canned beans can be a great addition to any salad or entree! Beans are a long-lasting food item on the shelves. Other canned vegetables can be a great option to fresh or frozen. To cut back on the sodium for canned veggies, buy low sodium options or drain and rinse. For canned fruits, buy them in their own juices or with the label "No Added Sugar." Again, canned fruit can be a great alternative to fresh or frozen. If I go for canned fruit, I love pairing with cottage cheese or Greek yogurt for a protein source.
Tip #5: Cook Different Ways!
When you cook your meals, think about ways you can re-invent it into another meal. For example: Cook rice/quinoa as a side dish on Monday, then use for a casserole or soup for Tuesday. Baked chicken can be made into chicken salad!
Tip #6: Make Eggs for Dinner!
Don't feel like spending much time in the kitchen? Have eggs for dinner! Eggs are a great source of protein and choline. Make an egg scramble with veggies. Or, hard boil a batch of eggs for a quick snack or salad topper.
Tip #7: Make Your Favorite Casserole!
Just because you are only cooking for one, does not mean you cannot make your favorite casseroles. Make 1/2 or 1/4 the recipe and bake in a loaf pan (9x5 or 8x8).
Tip #8: Bulk Cook and Freeze!
If you don't want to make involved dinners every night, think about making your own freezer meals. Take 1 day to cook extra food and freeze in containers (labeled with date/contents). Then, you can just pull out and cook for a quick meal.
Tip #9: Bulk Buy and Freeze!
Supermarkets sell individually frozen chicken breasts/fish fillets; however, these can be quite costly. For a cheaper alternative, buy larger packages of meat/fish (look for sales) and pre-portion before you freeze at home.
Tip #10: Freeze Your Grains!
Cook rice/quinoa (or other grains) and freeze in muffin pans. After they are frozen, store "muffins" in a freezer baggie. Then, you can just defrost as needed!
I hope these tips help you in cooking for one! Try the Egg Strada or Pizza Tops recipes below :)
1/4c cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4c each diced onions and peppers
1/4 tsp each garlic, oregano, black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray oven-safe fish with non-stick spray.
2. Beat eggs and milk. Add veggies and cheese. Toss to coat.
3. Pour into dish and bake for 25 minutes.
Pita bread rounds (or bagel/sandwich thins)
Toppings: chicken, veggies, cheese
1. Place rounds/thins on small baking sheet.
2. Top with sauce and additional toppings.
**For this recipe, feel free to use leftovers from another meal for a small snack or light meal!