Cooking healthy meals for yourself can be challenging. At times it might turn into one of those chores that you want to keep procrastinating on, and sometimes you just don't know what to cook. Sometimes you just don't think it's worth your time or effort.
I've been there myself. I was married and had a job when I decided to pursue a masters degree. I only had to go to class three days a week. So, for those three days, I would live at a rented place closer to University in Toronto, and would return home to my family in Waterloo for the remaining four days of the week.
While I lived in Toronto, all by myself I just couldn't get myself motivated enough to cook for one. Agreed, I had long stressful days, but that was no excuse. Looking back at those times, it doesn't surprise me how often I used to eat out.
Now however, I realise the importance of healthy home cooked meals and have been inspired by my mom's easy recipes for one or two people. My mom cooks delicious meals for my dad and herself, and honestly, I think it's definitely worth spending some time to learn how to enjoy cooking for one or two people.
There really is no reason to eat the same thing all week long or to order take away everyday. You just need to plan to have a stocked pantry and a freezer full of delicious home-made ready to eat foods. So go ahead, make that tray of lasagna and freeze it in small portions that can be devoured over several weeks. Here are my mom's tips to enjoy cooking for one or two.
Plan your meals
Create a recipe book in which you can save your menu ideas, recipes and grocery lists. By planning your meals you will know exactly what you will be cooking and when. Plan to cook elaborate meals when you have the time and freeze the leftovers in small containers. Use part of the evening meal as your lunch the next day. By planning your meals for atleast one week at a time you will save time and money.
Shop smart and store well
Shopping for one can be a challenge when many foods come in large packs. So it makes sense to spend some time after shopping to repackage the foods and freeze them in smaller portions. For example, a pound of hamburger can be cut into several hamburger patties and the left over meat browned and packaged to use in different dishes. Fresh fruit and vegetables can often be purchased in single servings. Frozen fruits and vegetables are an excellent choice because you can easily adjust the serving size.
Freeze Freeze Freeze
Make your freezer your new pantry. Plan to prepare large meals and freeze the leftovers. Cooking everyday can become a time consuming chore if you plan to make meals from scratch every day. A freezer filled with homemade frozen dinners is much more economical. Invest in a bunch of good quality containers to repackage and freeze your leftovers.
Recycle your leftovers
Leftovers can be used to create new dishes. Leftover vegetables can be added to soups and meat can be sliced and made into a sandwich or added to a salad.
Enjoy Cooking for One
Plan your meals for the entire week to make cooking easy, nutritious, and time saving. Create a beautiful table setting with your good china and some flowers. Light a candle at your dinner table. Enjoy your home-made meal while listening to your favourite music or watching your favourite TV show. Enjoy yourself!
Here are some great recipes for you to try out:
45 Quick and easy meals for one - Food Network Canada
Cooking for one or two people: Easy meals to make - By Dieticians of Canada
So, what are you waiting for? Pick a recipe and whip up a healthy easy meal. Please do share your thoughts and post pictures of your meals in the comment box below.
Healthcare Consultant, in4MED
The author of this blog post is a Physician with over 10 years of experience working in the healthcare system as a clinician, researcher and educator. She is passionate about healthcare for older adults and strives to be a resourceful inspiration to caregivers.
*No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.