Nutrition Articles

Practical Cooking Tips for Singles

Save Time, Money and Reduce Waste

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Plan your meals. Monday’s roasted chicken and rice can become Wednesday’s vegetable soup with rice and homemade chicken broth. The ultimate in no-waste efficient eating, menu planning isn’t just for the ultra-organized. Just jot down a few dishes that you’d like to make in the upcoming week and then brainstorm about how you can use up the inevitable leftovers in other meals. Plan out when you’ll have time to make and eat all the meals on your list, put together a shopping list for the necessary ingredients, and you’re set!

Limit your snack food options. If you have trouble motivating yourself to cook, grazing on whatever is easy, you might wind up eating crackers and ice cream every night. Instead, buy apples, carrots, celery and other healthy snacks. Wash and chop them as soon as you get home from the store. Snack on these healthy alternatives while you’re waiting for your real meal to cook.

Combine foods. If cooking is not a favorite pastime of yours but you’re determined to eat healthy at home, aim for one-dish meals that incorporate a variety of food groups. Scrambled eggs with sautéed peppers and onions on whole grain toast or a homemade personal pizza topped with broccoli and tomatoes on whole wheat pita are two healthy and simple ideas. Soups are another great way to pack a lot of variety and nutrition into one pot.

Dine in with friends! Wondering “Why cook a great meal if there’s no one to share it with?” Invite some friends over for dinner and benefit from the company and the leftovers.

Do a little research. There are lots of cookbooks out there full of recipes that making cooking for one or two easy (no math skills required). Check your local library, bookstore, or the Internet for ideas.

Keep it safe. To be healthy, your food also has to be safe. Stick to the following food safety guidelines.
  • Store leftovers within 2 hours of cooking.
  • Discard leftovers if the food has been sitting at room temperature for more than 1 hour.
  • Eat or freeze leftovers within 3-5 days
  • Eat frozen leftovers within 2 months.

If you live alone, cooking often becomes a thankless chore, with no one to appreciate you for slaving over the hot stove—except yourself. It becomes easier to give in to the temptation of carry out than to cook a healthy meal. But with a pinch of planning and a dash of motivation, cooking solo can be fun and easy, benefiting your body and your bank account.
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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.

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