How to Cook for One

If the thought of preparing a meal for one makes you wonder whether it’s worth it, you’ve got company. Many people-single, divorced, widowed, working or retired, noncooks, and homemakers—face solo meals morning and night.

Yet eating well is important to everyone, particularly people with diabetes. Don’t fall into the “why bother?” syndrome. You’re worth cooking for—and it doesn’t have to take all day! Try some of the following tips, and the recipes below, to make special meals for yourself.

  • Arrange a pleasant table setting, pick a colorful place-mat, and brighten your condiment arrangement with a pretty salt and pepper shaker set. Try cheery live or artificial flowers. Then take the trouble to prepare some­thing you’d serve a guest.

  • Try establishing a schedule. The body responds to rou­tine, and if you get used to eating at a certain time, you’ll start feeling hungry at that time. A regular mealtime will encourage you to prepare food ahead, and hunger will help bring mealtime satisfaction.
  • Let the odor of food preparations waft through the house. The smell of cooking food can do a lot to wake up a poor appetite.
  • Inviting someone to eat with you is a good way to ensure that you’ll prepare a proper meal. Think about making a special dinner and invite a colleague, a neighbor, or a relative you rarely see.
  • Keep variety in your diet. When you eat alone, it’s easy to prepare one or two items over and over, like a peanut butter sandwich or a can of soup. But a healthy diet is a varied diet. Remember the side dishes—salads, vegeta­bles, fruit, milk, or juice.
  • Remember that canned foods are usually high in salt. So check the sodium content on labels, and look for low-sodium products.
  • Invest in a microwave. It’s easy and it’s fast. Make up a menu. Before going to bed, write down your next day’s meals. Planning makes a difference. Remember fresh foods when you shop. They’re generally more economical and healthier than packaged or pre­cooked products, and they often need only minimal preparation.
  • Cook ahead of time. Prepare an entire recipe when you have time or feel like it, then freeze it in portions you can easily remove and heat.
  • Look for simple cooking ideas. For instance, microwave a skinless turkey or chicken breast for 10 to 15 minutes, then drizzle it with tangy or spicy tomato sauce. Or open a can of vegetable, navy, or kidney bean soup and add 2 ounces of dry pasta. Microwave or boil together for 10 minutes, and you have a meal for 2 days. You can also mix 1 cup of rice; 3 ounces of chopped, uncooked, skinned chicken breast; 1 cup of frozen broc­coli; and 3 cups of purchased or homemade low-fat chicken or vegetable stock (skimmed of fat). Boil together for 20 to 25 minutes, and let stand for a few minutes so the rice absorbs the liquid. You’ll have a delicious, healthy dinner for 3 nights.

Filed Under: Food & Cooking


About the Author: Leona Kesler is a head-chef at a very popular food restaurant in New York. Also she is a blogger who shares her experiences, tips, and other informative details about food and cooking. Her recipes are featured on many magazines.

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