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Cooking for one, sounds simple, right? However, it is not uncommon for the average Joe (or Josie) to struggle to prepare a meal just for one. Who hasn’t been there – remorsefully eating their 6th bowl of stew within three days for breakfast? If this is you, read on.

If you live alone or have different food preferences to the people you live with; you have likely run into a range of issues when preparing meals for one. From food waste to leftovers galore, it can certainly be a challenge to get right.

Here are some of our top tips to help…

Plan Your Meals

Planning meals will not only help with reducing food waste and help save you money, but it will also help to ensure there is some variety in your diet. When cooking for one, it is all too easy to fall into a food rut eating the same things day-in-day-out because it’s easy.  Aim to give yourself at least 3 different meals for dinner each week.

Scale Down Larger Recipes

If a recipe is designed to serve 4, divide the recipe to make the right amount. Only need a quarter of a can tomatoes? Put it in a zip-lock bag and freeze it for next time! Dividing larger recipes down into 1-2 serves will help you manage your portions, reduce food waste and save you from having to eat the same thing over and over again.

Freeze Left-Overs

Want to cook all 4 serves, that’s fine too. Just freeze left-overs for another day. If you choose to cook in batches, make sure you label and date containers. To help with portion control have all your containers out ready for when you go to plate up and evenly distribute what you have cooked between your plate and the containers. Future you will thank you.

Buy the Right Amount

Try not to buy more than you need. The 1kg bag of avocados – might be more cost-effective, but will you manage to eat them before they go brown? Unlikely. When shopping aim to by only what you need. Try to limit buying extra for only those items that have a long-shelf-life or can be frozen.

Convenient Meals

Feeling lazy? No time? Hate cooking? That’s also fine. You don’t have to order take-out though. You can still eat healthy meals at home without cooking by ‘assembling’ meals. Supermarkets these days have you covered. Coles, Woolworths and IGA all have easy ready-to-go options available such as; salad kits, fresh and frozen ready-to-go vegetables e.g. Heinz Steam Fresh vegetables, tinned tuna, oven-baked fish, microwave rice – the list goes on. Utilise these.

When ‘assembling’ meals a good rule of thumb to go by is:

  • 50% of your meal should be vegetables/salad
  • 25% of your meal should be lean protein (trimmed steak/skinless chicken/seafood/eggs/tofu or legumes)
  • 25% of your meal should be a complex carbohydrate (sweet potato/brown rice or other wholegrain/pasta/noodles)

If you still feel stuck or are new to the world of cooking for one, it might be time to speak to a Fuel Your Life dietitian.