COOKING for one person can pose a few challenges, but it doesn’t have to be boring or unhealthy. With a little thought and planning, solo meals can be varied, nutritious and delicious.
MAKE A PLAN
Make a habit of planning ahead. This way, you’ll only buy what you need, saving you money and reducing unnecessary food waste.
Start simple and plan three or four days at a time. Make extras for leftovers that you can eat for lunch the next day or freeze them for another time.
Add something new to your menu plan each week to keep things interesting. It doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive.
COOK YOUR FAVORITES
Just because you cook for yourself doesn’t mean you have to follow a boring diet. What are your favorite things to eat? Include one or two in your menu plan.
USE YOUR FREEZER
A well-stocked freezer is a single cook’s best friend. In addition to freezing leftovers, use your freezer to store chopped herbs that you can’t use, bags of frozen fruit that you can use as needed, a selection of vegetables to steam, sauté or roast to add of variety. and some frozen fish or shrimp as a quick and healthy source of protein.
SOME STORE CUPBOARD ESSENTIALS
Having a stockpile of essential items that will add a splash of flavor to your food is a great way to keep things interesting. A few herbs and spices, tomato puree, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, olives, harissa paste, soy sauce, preserved lemon or roasted peppers will take you from a Mediterranean taste to Asian flavors and add interest and flavor. variety to your kitchen.
BUY WHAT YOU NEED
Planning ahead prevents impulse purchases of weird and wonderful ingredients you may never use. Look for single-serving ingredient packs like curry pastes, half cans of coconut milk (available at some supermarkets and health food stores), and small essentials packs.
Also take a trip to the butcher or deli counter for your meat and cheese so you don’t buy too much.
Refill stores are a great place to shop if you’re cooking for one. You can just buy what you need. Most store dry ingredients and stock cupboard essentials like pasta, rice, lentils, beans, herbs and spices. Some also stock fresh fruits and vegetables so you can buy just enough for your needs.
REINVENT YOUR LEFTOVERS
Tired of watching the same dinner night after night? Be creative and think of different ways to eat the same meal.
For example, chili with brown rice becomes the topping for fajitas tomorrow, or roast beef dinner gives you the ingredients for a chili beef stir-fry another time.
SHARE WITH FRIENDS
If you have single friends, they’re likely willing to share groceries, leftovers, or a meal. It’s a great way to get more variety in your diet and allows you to try different foods or recipes that you might not cook yourself.
HAVE A FISTFUL OF GO-TO RECIPES
We all have a few recipes that we can quickly whip up for a quick lunch or dinner. A pressed curry, a veggie omelet, stir-fries or super salads are packed with nutrients and are quick and easy fillings.
Most recipes are designed to feed four people, but with some simple math you can split the recipe and make two servings – one for today with leftovers for another time.
There are plenty of one-person recipes out there – Pinterest and the BBC Food website are good places to start.
Crank up the music and enjoy cooking for yourself. Instead of eating in front of the TV, set your table with a tablecloth and a flower from your garden. Light a candle or tealight and make your dining table a relaxing place to eat.