Cooking for One
Preparing meals can bring a sense of accomplishment, but it can be difficult to put in the effort to cook for one or two people. Use these ideas to shop for and prepare healthy meals that taste great, are quick, and can provide enough to freeze for future meals if desired.
- Buy what can be used and stored safely. Sometimes this means shopping more often, which is okay. It is better than throwing out produce that has gone bad.
- Buy frozen fruit and vegetables to supplement fresh produce. Be sure to thaw only what you will eat.
- Larger amounts of meat can be divided into smaller serving sizes and frozen for later use.
- Use nonfat dry milk for cooking or baking.
- Buy fresh fruit at different stages of ripeness and eat as it ripens.
- Buy what you can in bulk. It is often less expensive in this form and you can choose the right amount you need for your recipes or pantry.
- Cook a pot of stew, soup, or chili and freeze in small portions.
- Prepare a family-sized recipe and save half for another meal.
- Try batch cooking with items such as brown rice and add to multiple meals throughout the week.
- Try a new recipe sized for one or two. Look for and use cookbooks designed for one or two portions.
- Use "planned leftovers" for foods such as ham. Eat the ham for dinner, in an omelette for breakfast, and in a sandwich for lunch. Ham still leftover? Make scalloped potatoes and ham later in the week.
- Meal planning saves time and money when it comes to cooking. Take a moment to create your menu for the next week and write a shopping list base on your menu. This is a good time to decide which days you have time to batch cook and which days it will be helpful to have leftovers or thaw a pre-made meal.
- When meal planning, visualize what each meal will look like on the plate - fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, make one quarter of the plate lean protein, and one quarter of the plate grains or starchy vegetables. When choosing your grains, make at least half of them whole grains.
- Don't skip meals
- Plan for healthy snacks between meals
- Consider appropriate portion sizes:
- vegetable serving: the size of a baseball
- fruit serving: the size of a tennis ball
- grain serving: the size of a hockey puck
- protein serving: the size of your palm
- dairy serving (cheese): the size of a domino