At different times in our lives we may find ourselves cooking and eating alone. Whether you’re a college student, on the other end of a break-up, or a new empty-nester, you may be having a hard time transitioning to cooking for just yourself.
Working up the motivation to cook for yourself can be hard. This is especially the case when many recipes are meant to serve 4-6 people and you don’t want to eat the same meal all week.
Here are a few tricks to make cooking for yourself easier and hopefully more enjoyable:
- Meal prep ingredients at the beginning of the week. Cook up a few vegetables, a grain, and a protein. You can mix and match these with different herbs to create a variety of meals so you don’t get sick of the same thing.
- Find a friend at work or a neighbor and see if they’d be interested in a lunch exchange.
- Make your freezer your friend. If you cook up a big meal but don’t want to eat the whole thing, freeze some and revisit it days or weeks later.
- Make the act of cooking more fun. Put on your favorite music or TV show and enjoy.
- Try meal planning. Planning out how you’ll use ingredients throughout the week will help cut down on food waste. It will also make it so you have a plan when you get home from work, hopefully helping motivate you to cook,
- Experiment with new foods. If the end result isn’t great, only you need to know about it.
- Practice some basic cooking math. Many recipes can be cut in half without any loss of quality or flavor. Before taking this route be sure to check that all of the ingredients can be divided easily (ex: dividing a recipe that calls for 1 egg might be tricky).
Here are a few recipes and meal ideas that are great for cooking solo – they’re quick and make one or two servings:
- An omelet – dice and saute a few veggies, then add in whisked eggs and cook through. For more specific directions try out this spinach and mushroom omelet.
- A stuffed pepper – Mix browned ground chicken or beef with sauteed onion, cooked rice, and spaghetti sauce. Stuff into a pepper and cook until hot. Use leftover ground beef and rice in tacos later in the week.
- Sandwiches – Tuna, turkey, and veggie sandwiches are easy and great for one. If you’re worried about not using the entire loaf of bread you can freeze leftovers.
- A stuffed baked potato – poke a potato with a fork and microwave until hot and soft. Split in half and top with shredded cheese, beans, and broccoli.
- A microwave freezer meal – plus added in veggies. Freezer meals can be a good base for a meal. Many of them are tasty and a good source of protein but lack vegetables. Add in some of your own. Keeping bags of frozen vegetables in your freezer will make this even easier.
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Written by Rachel Caty, MPH, RDN, LDN