I shop and cook for a family of 3, but some of the same principles apply, and I see them in other comments below. The thing that works for ME is that I only really plan out dinners for the week, but I definitely do it before going grocery shopping. I wrote a blog on the topic (two, actually) because I am such a big fan for what the Meal Plan has done for my life. I started doing it when my daughter was young, still a baby, and our family schedule made it so that I was cooking every night (I was home first). The stress of trying to figure out what to put on the table, along with caring for a 2 year old, was really getting to me. I love knowing what is coming up every night now, yet still being flexible for breakfast and lunch. Read my blog if you think it will help!
At the beginning of the week, bake 1 or 2 chicken breasts with whatever seasoning sounds good to you. Maybe one with curry flavors, one with basil and oregano and garlic, one with a tablespoon of salsa over the top.. Slice the chicken when it's cold and it's great for salads or sandwiches or whatever you want. I do this and boil a few eggs every weekend and make sure I have plenty of good quality salad greens, and that's a big start towards having healthy meals for the week.
Thank you for your response. I shall try again. Sounds like frozen is the way to go for a lot of stuff--hence less waste. and Less waist lol sad joke oh well Thanks again.
Fitness Minutes: (4,601)
577 4/19/13 3:20 A
I also cook for one.
I have different protein sources I can choose from during the week. Egg White substitute In the freezer: Lean Sirloin or Turkey patties, Tilapia, Salmon, Chicken Breast I have frozen vegetables (Carrots, Broccoli, Cauliflower mix or Brussel Sprouts) in steamable bags. I have canned beans, tuna, pancake mix, soup in the pantry.
My snacks are mostly fruit, I buy enough for the week. Banana, Oranges, Raspberries. Apples, Grapes
I have salsa,.salad dressing, BBQ sauce as toppers. This helps with having different flavor notes so it may be the same chicken but it tastes totally different.
With the things I have on hand I can whip up dinner in 30 min or less. I'll think about what I want as lunch for the week and make enough. I will do up my version of chicken nuggets (seasoned not battered or breaded), or Turkey with salsa (tastes like meatloaf), Tuna salad etc. I'll side it with my vegetables. Breakfast is usually Post Shredded Wheat with Banana and Raspberries, On the weekends brunch is Egg Whites with Raspberry waffles.
Cooking for one can be a challenge but it can be done. You can have a variety but not so much you're buying one use items which go to waste.
I cook for one, and on the weekends, I make 2 dishes with 4-6 servings to get me through the week. I tend to eat the same things all week with either switching out the sides or making my snacks varied enough so I'm not always eating the same thing.
Plan weekly meals, buy and prep on the weekend when you have time. Then you're good to go for the week. If you're into leftovers you can use extras for dinner/lunch throughout the week, or you could freeze leftovers in single portions and thaw as needed.
4/18/13 2:29 P
cut the recipes in half or freeze the rest for another meal later.
Fitness Minutes: (120)
4/18/13 11:25 A
I post my meal plans in my blog every week if you wanted to check them out. I cook for two and sometimes one since my SO travels frequently. I don't get home from work til 7 on weeknights so most of what I pick to make cooks in an hour or less. I also found I don't like eating the same meals all week long, so while I"m fine w/ the same lunches I like my dinners to have some variety... no more than 2 nights in a row. I also try to pick sides that are easy to make single servings of... so like I use fresh veggies, but only buy enough for 1 or 2 servings. Stuff like asparagus and green beans are very easy for this. I also weigh my potatoes at the store and buy ones that are just enough for one serving... avoiding the giant ones.
When it's just me, I try to find recipes where I can make the first half of it one night, and the second half the second night. A lot of foods don't reheat well, like whole pieces of chicken or pork chops, and most veggies, so on the first night I'll prep the meat, make whatever sauce/marinade I want to use, so that way on the second night all I have to do is actually cook it. This one is an example of that kind of meal (I cut the recipe down for 2 servings)... you can mix up the glaze the first night (or even over the weekend) and just use part one night, and part the next, that way you still get a fresh cooked meal each night but you don't have to do much prep one of the nights. traceysculinaryadventures.blogspot.com/200 9/09/molasses-mustard-glazed-pork-meda llions.html#.UXAPkrWsiSo With that particular meal I did sides of mashed sweet potatoes, which reheat well so I just made the entire amount the first night and reheated the second, and sauteed green beans...did each batch fresh every night but they're quick.
I also will sometimes cook at least one meal at the beginning of the week that DOES reheat well, like a noodle or casserole dish, and makes 6 servings, that way my lunches are taken care of for the entire week.
a. you can make partial recipes [in other words, if the recipe is for four, only make 1/4 of it] b. realize that a vegetable is a vegetable, a fruit is a fruit, a protein is a protein and so forth. so when you look at the grocery list for the week and see nine different types of fruit, you only buy three kinds but enough servings to cover what you are having for the week. and you do the same with grains, proteins, vegetables and dairy so that you use up what you have. so instead of having the chicken on a wrap on tuesday, you might have tofu on a bagel because that's one of the proteins you bought and that's one of the bread products you bought. c. my personal rule [i don't really follow the plans though i do keep them on for inspiration] is that it doesn't go into my cart unless i can think of three uses for it offhand. this reduces the amount of wrangling i have to do around strange ingredients i don't know what to do with. this lets me more easily follow the vegetable is a vegetable rule above. for example, last night i made a pasta dish that i usually use broccoli in. well, i had cauliflower and zucchini that i needed to use up, so i put those in instead. i am also a huge fan of curries because they are great for when you have just a little bit left and once you find what you like, they turn out quite tasty while supporting all manner of leftover little bits. lasagna is also great for this. so as i look in my fridge and realize that i have two mushrooms, a carrot, a half cup of cauliflower, an inch of zucchini, three rounds of eggplant and some spinach, i know that tonight has to be curry or lasagna night so that i can use those up. both dishes freeze well, so i can have a serving tonight, a serving tomorrow, and i can freeze the rest in portions so that i have my own frozen dinners for a later date. then all i have to do is toss one portion down to thaw and i don't have to cook that night. d. the other thing that i have found helpful is to not cook meals but to cook ingredients. so if i am making a soup that cooks rice in the soup, i'll make rice separately, then add it already cooked to the soup instead of adding the dry rice in to cook [i'll also add the cooked rice in later than the dry rice would go in]. this way, i can make four portions of rice and one or two goes in the soup, one might go under a chili i defrost from the freezer, one i might add to vegetables for dirty rice, and the final one might go under stir fry. or if i blanche a whole bunch of kale, instead of sauteeing it all in olive oil and garlic, i might only do that with 1/4 of it. then i could use another quarter in mashed potatoes or shepard's pie, another 1/4 with white beans and chorizo and the final 1/4 in barley and mushroom risotto. when you fully make less of something that means you can use the ingredients for more than one thing, which means you don't spend five days eating the same one pot meal. e. also, by looking ahead at my schedule for the next few days i can often do things that cut later cooking times. in other words, when i know i'm going to be busy i'll boil eggs, bake potatoes, cook rice or beans or lentils while i am making dinner that night [or eating or otherwise around the house doing chores] so that the things that take longer to make just need to be reheated, thus cutting later dinner prep times down.
Fitness Minutes: (460,219)
82,928 4/18/13 7:29 A
I plan our meals on Sunday for the week, do major cooking ....on saturdays I make sure I have everything I need for the next week On Wed and Sunday I buy fresh fruits and veggies for the week
planning really helps me stay on track
Fitness Minutes: (41,604)
27,313 4/18/13 7:27 A
Easy - choose one day a week when you have time and bulk cook casseroles, soups, healthy make-over pizza, even healthy pasta. Freeze them in single serve containers. In time you can build up a good mix, that you aren't eating the same thing day in / day out.
It not only saves heaps of time, but it actually saves money, too, because you save on power/gas, save on the clean up, and can take good advantage of the sales on meats/veges. I have a Roast of Pork, Beef and Lamb leg in my freezer. When I cook them for dinner, I will also make up some sandwiches for the freerzer. Pork with Apple Sauce; Beef with Horseradish Sauce; and Lamb with thick mint sauce and a wee bit of grated tasty cheese. They are all on really good wholegrain bread - low on fat/sodium and calories, but high on protein and fibre. When I am ready to use them I just quickly zap them in the microwave and have them with soup or a salad.
I like the meal plans laid out on Spark People for the most part. However, i'm cooking for one and i don't like to waste food. Anyone have suggestions on meal planning for one; for a person who really doesn't have a lot of time to cook?