There are a number of challenges for people who cook for one. Many recipes are designed to serve four or more people, fresh foods can spoil before they are eaten, and pre-packaged single-serving meals are generally full of sodium and other preservatives. The good news is that you can overcome these challenges by following a few simple tips to shop smarter, prevent waste, and enjoy delicious food.
Make the Menu in Advance
Creating a plan for how you will use the ingredients you purchase is one of the best strategies to prevent waste.
- Eat meals with more perishable foods, like salads, towards the beginning of the week to avoid spoilage.
- Consider themed weeks so that some ingredients will overlap. An example of Mexican themed meals would be tacos, rice and beans, and taco salad.
- If you choose to cook a dish that yields more than one serving, such as a casserole, take the leftovers for lunch the following day and freeze the rest.
- Keep it simple. You don't always need a recipe to make a well-rounded meal. Serve a salmon filet over quinoa with a side of roasted vegetables and fruit. Or, enjoy a turkey and cheese sandwich on whole grain bread with a side salad and fruit.
To avoid an over-crowded kitchen, food waste, and over-spending at the grocery store, stock up on the foods you use most often. Consider these quick tips to enhance your kitchen for one:
- Buy frozen produce.
- Buy smaller servings of meat at the deli rather than prepackaged meat.
- Pre-portion larger dishes into individual servings and freeze for later.
- Stock the pantry with common ingredients. Here are some ideas!
Don't shy away from recipes that yield enough food for a family. Keep a measuring chart on hand for easy conversions and adjust the recipe to yield fewer servings.
Find Single Serving Recipes
Use an online search engine with terms like "recipes for one" or "cooking for one or two" to find blogs, websites, recipes, and 'how-to' guides on how to make meals for one.
Cooking for one is possible and can be done in a healthy, delicious way. Plan ahead and take charge. Don't be afraid to try new recipes and challenge yourself in the kitchen.
Choose one of the following options:
- Plan two to three meals that share common ingredients.
- Find a recipe that yields several servings and modify it to serve one.
Single Serving Chicken Stir Fry
Tuscan Style Tuna Salad