There’s no doubt about it, for people who live alone, healthy cooking for one can be challenging.
For some people, a tea and toast diet is the norm.
I’ve heard it dubbed “secret single behavior“, or in other words, the funny little habits you fall into when they’re on your own.
Your habit may be eating standing up rather than relaxing at the table, or maybe it’s scoffing a box of Cheeto’s rather than making a proper meal.
I was talking to one of my family members recently, and they commented on what a waste of time it seemed to cook a meal for one person. And, a lot of people do feel like that.
It can be difficult to get motivated when you don’t have someone to share in the good things you’ve labored hard to produce.
However, I think it has a lot to do with how you view the process.
If you’re idea of cooking is all about nourishing someone else, and making them feel “good” with food, then it’s more likely you’ll feel a bit lonely when you cook for one.
However, if you see cooking for yourself as a way to nourish your own body and de-stress from the day’s events, then it won’t seem like such a chore.
Here are 5 tips to help you get cooking for one
1. Make Your Favorite Foods
If there’s something you love eating, why not slot it into your menu plan at the top of the list. That way you’ll get the ball rolling with a good meal, and hopefully your enthusiasm will continue throughout the week.
Also remember that cooking for one gives you a great opportunity to try out new recipes and different techniques (without performance pressure), which you can then impress your friends with when you have guests over.
2. Change Your Thinking
Try to make eating more than simply a chore. Think of it as a time to relax and unwind from your day.
Enjoy the cooking process as well as eating — put on some music, light some candles, basically do whatever it takes to make cooking and eating more enjoyable for you personally.
3. Choose Quality Ingredients
The thing about using poor quality ingredients is it increases your likelihood of having a disappointing meal. And, that’s a sure-fire way to make your inspiration to cook for one vanish.
4. Cook in Batches
I do this a lot, and find it really helpful.
The idea is you make a big pot of something, then either have it for a couple of nights, or freeze some to have later on in the month.
5. Use What’s in Your Fridge
If you’re like me, you probably have a few random items lurking in the back of your fridge — wilting spinach, a few approaching sell-by-date eggs, and and some questionable chicken.
But, you may be wondering what to do with them before they have an appointment with your waste bin!
Well, take a look in your fridge, then hop onto FoodieView, a fab site where you can type your available ingredients, e.g. “spinach, eggs, chicken,” into the search engine, and FoodieView will find online recipes relating to your available items.
It’s a great way to prevent waste, and come up with combinations you wouldn’t normally think of.
Recipe for One
Kippers With Potatoes and Beetroot Salad
Here’s a lovely salad for one person with a healthy twist. And, it’s an easy way to get more fish into your diet.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Marinate the kipper 2 – 3 days in advance of eating, for the flavor to develop. Make the potato salad up to 24 hours before serving. Also, it may seem like a lot of olive oil in the recipe for just one serving, but there needs to be sufficient to cover the fish.
For the kipper:
1 kipper, filleted
1tsp crushed coriander seeds
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 lemon, grated zest and juice
4tbsp olive oil
1tsp wholegrain mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mixed salad leaves to serve
For the potato salad:
4 – 5 new potatoes, scrubbed
2 spring onions, trimmed, washed and sliced
1tbsp chopped dill
2tbsp light mayonnaise
1tbsp shredded beetroot from a jar, drained
- For the kipper: Place the fillet in a dish and sprinkle with the coriander seeds. Add the shallot, bay leaf and lemon zest. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard and pour over the fish. Season with black pepper.
- Cover the dish and chill the kipper in the fridge for at least 2 – 3 days before eating it. Turn the fillets and shallots daily so that they are thoroughly coated in the dressing.
- For the potato salad: Cook the potatoes in boiling water for about 15 – 18 minutes, or until they are just tender. Then drain and rinse under cold running water to cool quickly, before slicing.
- Mix the sliced potato, spring onion and dill into the mayonnaise with the beetroot, and season with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl and keep the potato salad chilled until serving. Remove the potato salad from the fridge at least 15 minutes before serving so that it comes to room temperature. Scatter the salad leaves into a plate and spoon over the potato salad. Drain any excess oil from the fish fillet, and serve it on top.
I’d love to hear your tips – what gets you excited about healthy cooking for one?