Cooking for one

Cooking for one may seem overwhelming, but it is possible and healthy.

by Heather Demeritte — 

Does being solo have to mean eating yet another frozen dinner? Are you tired of dividing four-serving recipes into single-serving portions? Is there week-old lasagna going stale in the back of your fridge? Cooking for one may seem overwhelming, but it is possible and healthy. Here is how:

Buy frozen food — Stock up on bags of frozen vegetables, fruits, chicken breasts and fish fillets, which allow you to take out one serving at a time.

Buy from bulk bins — Take advantage of bulk bins to choose the amount you need of fresh herbs, nuts and baking items.

Cook once, eat twice — Make a batch of rice or beans to use in a meal on Monday and lunch on Tuesday. Bake enough chicken for two meals. Use leftover spinach in a breakfast omelet and fresh salad for dinner.

Love your freezer — Freezing bread, nuts, seeds and some spices helps them remain fresh and prevents waste.

Do not buy unnecessary items — When a recipe calls for an unusual or expensive ingredient that you will only use once, find a substitute that you can use again.

Wok this way — Take advantage of the wok or skillet and stir-fry one-dish meals. Throw together frozen veggies, soy sauce and chicken, and serve over a cup of rice so you have a meal that beats any take-out.

Visit the salad bar — You can find salad bars in many local grocery stores. Select enough fresh veggies and cut-up meat to last a few days.

Reinvent leftovers — You do not have to be bored with eating the same things over and over again. Use leftover meatballs in vegetable soup or toss cubes of melon into your chicken salad and later into a smoothie.

Invest in small appliances — Mini versions of the rice cooker, crock pot, table-top grill and toaster oven not only reduce the amount of space, but are designed to make smaller servings of food.

Store properly — While food is still fresh, freeze leftovers and meat in individual freezer containers and fruit in snack-sized freezer bags.


Heather Demeritte is a fitness instructor and dance teacher in Scottsdale, Ariz. She is certified by the American Council of Exercise with a degree in early childhood development. 480-310-5854 or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 30, Number 5, Oct/Nov 2011.

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