Nutrition Articles

Practical Cooking Tips for Singles

Save Time, Money and Reduce Waste

461SHARES
Living alone is not without benefits—peace and quiet whenever you need it, undisturbed organization and order (or guilt-free sloppiness), and room to stretch out and relax. But some things are just more fun when you have someone to share them with. Cooking is one of those things.

Cooking for guests usually evokes a sense of pride and accomplishment. But when you are cooking for yourself, it can feel more like a chore. On top of that, a busy lifestyle that includes any combination of work, school, child care and exercise can make it difficult to plan and prepare healthy meals. The following hints will help you prepare tasty, nutritious meals for one or two while saving time and money, reducing waste, and keeping your healthy diet in check.

Use your freezer. Big batch cooking isn’t just for big families. If you’ve been avoiding cooking a favorite recipe just because it makes six servings, go ahead and cook it just for you. Portion the leftovers into containers, seal tightly, label with the date, and freeze for up to two months. Storing your food this way will help with portion control too—you can’t have an extra helping if it’s frozen solid!

Also take advantage of your freezer to reduce your produce waste. Bananas, strawberries, broccoli, and carrots can easily be frozen and used in things like smoothies and soups. Just wash, peel and chop if necessary, and store in an airtight bag in the freezer.

Invest in small appliances. Use some of that money you’ve saved by eating in and buy a few small appliances. A mini food-processor, blender and juicer will not only make cooking a breeze by shortening the preparation process, but might also expand your menu options to include items sure to liven up any menu—pureed soups, smoothies, fresh juices, dips and more. And don’t forget about a toaster oven, which preheats in a flash and can be used to cook personal pizzas, salmon, and other toasty treats.

Take advantage of bulk bins. As a single, you may skip your grocer's bulk bins altogether. But bulk bin sections are perfect for the single shopper. Offering shelf-stable foods like grains, cereal, flour, granola, dried fruits, nuts, soup mixes, dried beans and legumes, these self-serve stations are often cheaper than the packages you buy in the grocery store. Plus, you can fill your bag or container with the exact amount of food you need—avoiding waste and saving money.
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461SHARES

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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • Taste of Home magazine used to have a section called, "Cooking for One or Two." There were a variety of recipes in each issue. I haven't taken the magazine for a long time. I don't know if they still do this or not, but for some of you it might be worth checking into. - 1/11/2014 8:31:04 AM
  • Great tips. But I am not single. - 12/22/2013 3:03:02 PM
  • Great tips. But I am not single. - 12/22/2013 3:03:00 PM
  • DIETER061
    I enjoy cooking for myself. I stir fry Vegies with a lean protein and add rice, or pasta. It changes every day. I find chopping veggies very relaxing when doing it in small portions. - 1/4/2013 6:31:21 AM
  • BETHFOODGOD1
    Living alone means you can focus on healthy eating--sometimes my meals get boring, but I can control it so much easier. - 12/2/2012 7:03:19 PM
  • One positive thing about cooking and eating alone is it lets you more easily practice mindfulness--livi
    ng in the moment, focusing on each act of cooking, and each flavor while eating, more slowly. Of course, you do need to have social meals too! - 12/2/2012 1:13:59 AM
  • Lots of good tips and ideas there. Thank You. - 9/13/2012 6:04:44 AM
  • Although I am not single, I really appreciated reading this article. My husband does not eat all of my vegeterian dishes. therefore, I was concerned about cooking so much. This article solved that problem for me. - 2/1/2012 10:33:47 PM
  • PATTICAKE13
    Thank you for all the infor. It gets me into the right mind set. I had forgotten what i use to do, when I was eating 3 meals a day. with nothing in bewteen. Eating healthy meals and menues. - 8/20/2011 5:29:33 PM
  • Cooking once a week and freezing or refrigerating - meh. Makes me feel like I'm eating leftovers. I'd rather cook every day or eat raw than store cooked food. Just me... - 8/20/2011 8:44:27 AM
  • Awesome Tips! I try to get together with a couple of my single buddies once a month & do a swap. We each make a full recipe, portion out the servings, keep a serving for ourselves & swap the remaining portions with each other. It's a nice way to share your extra stuff & not end up eating the same thing all week. - 8/9/2011 6:52:51 PM
  • I try to do most of my cooking on the weekends and then immediately put the dish into individual containers for meals during the week or freezing. Saves me lots of time, since my weeknights are often busy. I also have a single friend who likes to eat as much as I like to cook, so that works out great. I find I eat less too when I eat with a friend since I'm engaged in conversation and not just eating! I eat slower and have a chance to feel full. - 8/9/2011 4:08:32 PM
  • These tips certainly apply to singles, I use them and I'm single! I like to get the family packs of boneless skinless chicken breast on sale and freeze them flat. I'll plan a variety of meals that week around chicken so it doesn't get boring. I make enough to have a lunch the next day at work. Be creative. - 8/9/2011 12:20:49 PM
  • MYNEWNORMAL
    I love the idea about using the bulk section of the grocery store. I always thought of that for large quantities, but buying only what I need will keep me from having to throw out half-full packages after they expire. Thanks! - 5/12/2011 11:45:34 AM
  • BIENEGOLD
    There wasn't a single tip in here that was actually for singles. Fail. - 4/14/2011 8:17:52 PM

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