Eating for one- the easy, healthy, and affordable way
Eating for one is no easy feat. Thousands of online recipes are tailored to families, resulting in batches that serve 4-6 people – sometimes more. When cooking for only one person, following most standard recipes isn’t always plausible – unless you don’t mind eating the same thing every single day. But don’t give up just yet! While it seems easier to visit the drive-thru – prioritizing convenience over health – I promise that eating for one CAN BE DONE. Here are practical tips on how to eat for one without compromising ease, affordability, and health.
Meal Prep in Your Step
Meal prepping is an easy and effective way to ensure healthy meals are always ready in the fridge, waiting for you! The best part is, you don’t have to please a crowd – only yourself! Depending on your preferences, prep a protein, some vegetables, and a grain. Some easy and healthy options to prepare are grilled chicken and baked fish – two complete and lean protein sources. For vegetables, try roasting brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or broccoli. Add some whole grains to the mix in the form of rice, quinoa, or pasta. Then you can mix and match to make well-balanced meals all week. These Healthy Egg Muffins are so simple and make for a delicious breakfast staple that packs in nutrients on-the-go. Make a Yogurt Parfait like this one the night before and wake up to a perfectly-layered breakfast reminiscent of your favorite cafe. Plus, it’s filled with probiotics and micronutrients to keep you energized throughout the day.
Back to Basics
Let us not forget that some of the most basic recipes (AKA sandwich-style) are made for one person! This whole grain Pita-Pocket Sandwich is filled with vegetables and chicken for a nutrient-dense and protein-packed desk lunch. On the same note, you can never go wrong with a classic PB&J on whole-wheat bread. Optional: Amp up the nutritional profile with almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter in place of peanut butter for a healthy source of fats, vitamins, and minerals. Swap jelly and jam for the homemade version using fresh or frozen berries! I promise it’s lower in sugar and even more delicious. Lastly, Quick Quesadillas are your friend. Super easy, versatile, and well – quick! I like adding frozen or canned veggies in addition to beans for fiber which supports gut health and keeps us full.
Frozen and Canned Goods Are Your Friends
Keeping the pantry stocked with canned goods like beans, lentils, vegetables, and even proteins (think tuna and salmon) provides you with easy and nutritious staples to add to any meal. These ingredients are shelf-stable, so there’s no rush to cook them and no food waste involved. Similarly, frozen fruits and vegetables are more affordable and hold the same nutrients as their fresh counterparts! Add both to soups and smoothies for convenient and nutrient-dense dishes.
If you choose to follow one of the healthy and tempting recipes on the Internet, leftovers are always a convenient and waste-free option. While some leftovers reheat poorly and end up soggy, others like soups, stews, and chilis make for perfect leftovers. Try making these recipes for Veggie Chili and Cold Zucchini and Cauliflower Soup for nourishing bowls of leftover goodness. If you end up with too many servings that you probably won’t finish, freeze the rest! Then you can enjoy a perfectly balanced meal at a later date. This includes leftovers from cafes and restaurants! There’s no reason a perfectly good, unfinished breakfast, lunch, or dinner should go to waste. Pop those babies in the fridge for a next-day treat or the freezer for down the road!
Nowadays, there are fun and creative ways to cook meals at home that are already fit for one person and one person only! I personally love these Stuffed Sweet Potato Boats from my blog. This nutrient-dense recipe is not only delicious but also easy. It requires minimal ingredients, minimal time, and you only need to make one sweet potato boat at a time! For breakfast, try two-ingredient banana pancakes: mash one banana with oats until a batter forms and get to the griddle! Zucchini Pizza Boats are another amazingly easy and incredibly delicious – all you have to do is scoop out a zucchini, fill with sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and pop them in the oven! Lastly, single-serve desserts are the perfect opportunity to indulge in something delicious without going overboard. Try a healthy mug cake for a microwavable, personal sweet treat.
Believe it or not, some meals can easily be made into single servings – you don’t even need to follow a recipe. A perfect example is the Pasta with Broccoli and Salmon on the blog or truly any pasta dish. Cook enough pasta for one person and add veggies, protein, and sauce to taste. Another great and versatile option is a single-serve stir fry. Add frozen or canned vegetables to a pan with your protein of choice (this could be meal prepped chicken breast or canned salmon) and any sauce in the pantry. This Tofu Stir Fry can be easily modified to fit the needs of one person. Yum!