Because coming up with healthy meals for one or two people isn’t always easy.
Whether you’re a bachelor, bahelorette, newlywed, or are spending a weekend on your own, the idea of cooking for yourself or you and just one other person can be frustrating. You don’t want to wind up with tons of leftovers you’ll never eat, so you wind up at the fast-food place again.
But if you want to eat better by cooking for one or two, there is hope! Read on to get some tips on cooking for the smallest of groups without winding up with enough leftovers to feed the entire neighborhood.
The bane of any cook’s existence is figuring out what to cook at the last minute. Avoid this problem and the subsequent trip to a restaurant by planning your meals a week in advance. Once you have your meals planned out, head to the grocery store and buy everything you’ll need for the week.
Not planning to eat all that broccoli during one meal? Get ready to eat some of it in the coming days. But it doesn’t have to be eaten as leftovers warmed up in the microwaves. Instead, find a complementary recipe that could use a bit of broccoli. This way, you use everything you cook, but it doesn’t always take on its original form and result in you getting burnt out on broccoli.
Divide and Conquer
Ideally, your meals will use the entire piece of meat, bag of bread, head of vegetable, and package of other ingredients you use. However, when you’re cooking for one or two, this isn’t always possible. To avoid having excess food you can’t use but have already cooked, split up foods before cooking.
For perishable items, a sealing plastic bag should prevent it from going bad in the freezer for a few days or even a week or two. Non-perishables can be preserved with greater ease, but should be eaten fairly soon after opening.
Get Creative and Social
Doing anything day after day can get a bit tiring. Keep your kitchen prowess from growing dull by changing things up now and then. Grab a new recipe book (there are even some custom made for cooking for one or two people) and give some new recipes a shot. When you’re not quite hungry for a big meal, take advantage of your decreased hunger and go for a healthy snack. This allows you minimal preparation and absorbs even less of your daily calorie count.
Or you can make things more exciting by cooking bigger portions. Of course, to do this, you’ll want to have more people on hand to avoid an overabundance of food. So invite your friends over to try your new favorite dish. Or make it easier on yourself by inviting them over for a potluck dinner. You supply the main dish and your friends provide the rest! Still have more food leftover than you can possibly eat on your own? Become a hit at the office by supplying lunch for your coworkers once or twice a week. Before you know it, you’ll be the most popular person at work.
Yes, eating only fresh, whole foods is the best way to provide the best nutrients for your body. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid canned or frozen foods altogether.
In fact, if you choose wisely, you can have a very healthy meal that makes use of frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. Going beyond things fresh allows you to save precious time, while making it easier to keep your diet well rounded and full of the colorful foods you need to maintain your good health.
Cream of the Crop
Any nut is a good nut. But some nuts are better than others. If you’re in the market for the healthiest nuts out there, go for walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, or even peanuts, which are not actually nuts but are legumes. A handful a day should do the trick. Two handfuls will get you even better results.
And remember that even though it ends in the word “nut,” coconut is not actually a nut and is jam-packed with that saturated fat that is suspected to be the cause of many a heart attack.