Cooking and grocery shopping for one person can be a challenge, and oftentimes leads to food waste. But by planning meals in advance, you can identify ways to repurpose your leftovers. Sometimes cooking for one can seem like too much trouble. But in the end, meal prepping saves on unnecessary food waste, spending money on fast food and making poor nutritional choices. If you plan ahead and prepare, cooking for one can open up a whole new world beyond frozen pizza and instant noodle soup. Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND – Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife Nutrition – shares four quick meal planning tips for one to get you started.
Keep your pantry and freezer well stocked.
Stock your freezer with loose-pack frozen veggies and fruits as well as shrimp and individual chicken breasts. If you’ve got whole grain noodles, quick-cooking brown rice, canned beans, broth, tomato sauce, tuna and salmon in the pantry, you can put together a tasty dish in no time. It helps to have plenty of condiments and seasonings, too.
Turn leftovers into makeovers.
You can also plan to make the foods you cook do double duty. If you’re grilling chicken, make extra and add that to tomorrow’s pasta. If you’re cooking fish, make enough to fold into some corn tortillas with salsa for fish tacos on the next night.
Plan your meals ahead of time.
Make the best use of perishable items, like veggies. You can’t buy a half head of lettuce, but you can break the leaves, wash them and then wrap in a towel to store in the fridge, where they’ll stay fresh for 4 or 5 days. If you can’t find a single-serving bundle of asparagus, you can grill the whole bunch, then have half as one night’s side dish and toss the rest into the following night’s main dish salad.
Adjust recipes when needed.
Even though most recipes are for 4-6 people, you can usually cut most in half with very few adjustments. There are also plenty of cookbooks around that are aimed at cooking for one. But some people figure that if they’re going to go through the motions of cooking something, they’d rather just make more and freeze the leftovers. That can be dangerous, though: If you’re craving a cookie, your recipe is probably going to leave you with enough dough to bake for a family reunion!
For more meal planning tips from Susan, visit www.DiscoverGoodNutrition.com.