Cooking for One: 5 Tips

14380116_10206496773450754_4478932820190815586_oI love to cook, almost as much as I love to eat. However, living by myself opened up a whole host of challenges in the cooking department (not so much with eating). It took me forever to figure out how to make meals for just me, how much is acceptable to spend on a week’s worth of groceries, and how to keep food from spoiling.

After living on my own for a little over a year, I’ve gotten a decent handle on how to meal prep, cook, and eat for one. I decided to share how I manage grocery shopping, cooking, and all things meal prep related.

Tips

  1. Meal Plan 
    When I meal plan, I don’t know exactly what I’m going to have for every meal. I have more of a general sense of what I want to eat during the week and then cook those items in bulk. My first step to meal planning is looking in the weekly sale paper for my local grocery store to see what produce, meats, etc. are on sale that week. Then I decide what I want e.g. “I know I want to have zoodles, chicken, and banana pancakes this week.” I, personally, have 1-2 veggies, a protein, and a base for lunch and dinner. Everyone has different eating habits so I would definitely try different meal plans to see which one works best for you.
  2. Grocery List(s)
    Having a grocery list helps me stay on task and not overbuy. When I make a list, I look and see what I have, and then create a list of what I need and a list of what I want. I make sure I but everything I want on the list (e.g. wine) or I won’t go to that section. Making sure I buy just enough produce I need for the week is key for me. I generally cook 3-4 different types of vegetables a week so I can alternate what I eat for lunch and dinner. Think of your typical eating habits and apply them to your grocery list. If you typically eat vegetables 2 times a week, then your probably only need to buy 1 type of veggie.
  3. Frozen / Freeze Food
    Frozen food is your friend. If I buy a pack of 8 pork chops, I typically freeze half of them in individual freezer bags for later. Buying in bulk definitely saves you money, and freezing your food saves your food! Also, things like frozen vegetables and meatballs can quickly and easily be added to pasta, rice, etc. It’s also easier to portion out what a serving actually is because the serving sizes are stamped right on the bag.
  4. Meal Prep
    I have a love-hate relationship with meal prepping. I dread doing it every Sunday, but then I’m so proud and satisfied the rest of the week because of it. I cook all of my protein for my lunch and most for dinner. Also, cook all my vegetables and grains (e.g. quinoa, rice). I keep everything in tightly sealed bowls so they stay fresh throughout the week. This way I don’t have to worry about figuring out what I’m going to have for lunch/dinner the next day and I don’t waste food because I’m too lazy to cook. It’s like takeout without having to put on pants!
  5. Make it Fun
    I know it sounds silly, but it’s so true. I know how proud I feel after I’ve successfully planned, shopped, and cooked for the week. Good music definitely helps. Also finding new recipes, cooking techniques, or kitchen gadgets can make cooking just for you more exciting. Pinterest is your friend!
    I hope this helps all you single folk out there cook and eat.

Bon Appetit!

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