Cooking for one or two can be a challenge when most recipes are for created for four to eight people. It can be hard to readjust to cooking for just one or two if your household has downsized. Correct portion sizes are key for achieving a healthy weight, so learning to cook smaller batches of food for a small household can be helpful in avoiding overeating. This week we’re focusing on tips for cooking for one.
The freezer can be a great resource for small households. Cooking staples like grains and freezing individual portions is a great way to reduce the amount of cooking without having too many leftovers. Grains freeze nicely and can be divided into muffin tins to be frozen into individual portions. Breads also freeze well, so store extra sliced bread in the freezer and toast individual portions as needed. Frozen produce is also a great resource for individuals. If you have trouble using up fresh produce in a timely manner, try buying frozen produce. Fruits and vegetables are flash frozen at peak freshness, so they’re a great nutritious option if you struggle to eat fresh produce fast enough.
A little planning ahead of time can work wonders for small households. When buying meat or poultry divide packages up and freeze half for later, or plan meals around your protein choices. Most recipes can easily be halved, and save the protein for another recipe later in the week. Or cook once and use the protein in different ways. Like grilling four chicken breasts can easily be eaten in a variety of ways with a variety of rubs or sauces without creating much extra work at the time of cooking.
Share with friends
Leftovers can be tiring, so if you have a friend with similar tastes, plan on swapping dishes. Make a normal portion and split it in half to exchange with a friend. You’ll both benefit, and get to try some new recipes as well.
Grocery stores have a number of convenience items that are perfect for small households. Individually portioned fish or poultry are easy to store in the freezer and thaw just what you need. Bulk sections allow you to take just what you want. And individual portions of dairy can help you easily keep track of your portions. The Deli section is also great for requesting just the amount you need.
What are your favorite meals to cook for yourself?
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Sweet Life Wellness Student Intern
Dietetics student at University of Maryland-College Park
- Larson H (2014) Cooking Tips for One or Two. In: www.eatright.org. http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/cooking-tips-and-trends/cooking-tips-for-one. Accessed 11 Jul 2017
- (2017) MyPlate, MyWins Tips: Meal Planning for One. In: Choose MyPlate. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/myplate-mywins-tips-meal-planning-one. Accessed 11 Jul 2017