Be Excited About Healthy Cooking for One

CoachMel Healthy Eating, Recipes 9 Comments

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.

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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
from GoodtoKnow

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.

Serves: 1
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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?

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Comments 9

    1. Melanie

      Hi Bobbie,
      Yep, I know what you mean, and I think that’s absolutely fine if it’s just occasionally. But, I think if someone is always eating on their own, they need to make a good meal at least a few nights in the week to keep healthy.

  1. Shelby

    I really love your website! I’m wanting to become a dietician too when I grow up. Your website is fascinating and I love this post! I can just look at this post when I’m off living alone in an empty house as an adult… *cringes* Ooo. That doesn’t sound appealing… But I will deal with it like you did! 😀 Keep up the good work.

  2. Cathy in NZ

    I’m a home-alone all the time. Mostly what I do is I cook what I want; especially on days when I know I have to eat healthy but I’m working in a frame of just got home – what’s in the fridge, freezer, cupboards. You know how you think you have to have a certain thing for breakfast like cereal will over the Summer I made a decision not to do that…instead I have over-filled toast sandwich and it seems to tide me over until quite late lunch with just a mini-snack late morning….

    I made a resolutionary list of things to achieve some day soon and one of them was to online-grocery shop but not every week because I now have a fridge/freezer and a mini freezer up in the kitchen so I can stash away alot of things. My pantry shelves now resemble something akin to the grocery store shelves but it means I won’t be running out of certain things in a hurry.

    I am now getting more adventrous at the online store and buying things that I’ve not had before – sometimes just different flavours. The time I have saved pushing the trolley about a realtime store is great and when i do pop in for something – I’m not spending time doing a whole shop!

    I probably eat boring basics but I am on a mission to stay well this year…home alone and getting sick isn’t nice….but at least I know there is now quite a bit of food in house!
    .-= Cathy in NZ´s last blog ..lucky charm saviour =-.

    1. Melanie

      Hi Cathy,
      I enjoy grocery shopping online too, but I prefer to peruse the aisles. I’ve found myself buying the wrong item online a few times by accident, although on a better note, I also find I’m less likely to buy things I don’t need — probably because you don’t see them sitting out on the shelves to tempt you!

      1. Cathy in NZ

        Last time, I thought I was getting large pizzas that would do me a night meal and some cold lunchbox snacks – when they arrived I thought “boy the personal shopper got that all wrong” but no when I checked the order they were the right size! – single serves.
        Also last time, I was faced with a glass jar versus my usual plastic one being on special (something I use alot) and I thought that will be weighty UNTIL I remembered I would have it carried in by the courier 🙂 so the glass one won out…
        When I do go to the supermarket…like today it was just for some garbage bags (having an Easter cleanout) and a loaf of bread…which made it a very easy lite-weight shop 🙂
        .-= Cathy in NZ´s last blog ..lucky charm saviour =-.

  3. Lucie

    Hello Melanie,

    Good tips in this article! it’s quite hard to find the motivation to cook for oneself. Personally, I cook my favorite food and try to make a beautiful presentation with it to make it entertaining. People laugh at me in general but at least I eat healthy food! It’s better than frozen meals from the supermarket!

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