The Cheaper, Healthier Way to Cook for One
Cooking for just one can be challenging at times, especially if you were used to cooking for more than one. When this happened to me, I found I wasn't as anxious to make meals just for myself and realized my diet was suffering because of it and my health. Through trial and error I came up with a way to keep me more on track, eat healthier and also lower my grocery bills. It will require a rather full day of cooking, but it will definitely be worth it in the weeks to come. Hope this helps those of you that are having to make the same adjustment.
BUY IN LARGER QUANTITIES
While this may seem like the last thing to do, it can save you quite a bit of money. If you are a memberof a store such as Sam's Club or Costco, it will save you even more. Personally, I've found the price of the membership worth the savings, but even at regular grocery stores, buying larger packages usually is thriftier. I buy a large package of meat and prepare the entire thing at one time. I usually make two or three different recipes to have a good variety of meals to choose from. Braising is a wonderful method of cooking that leaves you with a nice juice that can be used as is or made into gravy. I find it also helps keep the meat nice and juicy when reheated.
So, after you have cooked your meat (or meats, if you choose to do a couple different ones) just divide up into freezer containers in single servings, and be sure to label what it is and when you cooked it. Freeze and you'll have a good supply of the main part of your meal. Heat up your meat, add a salad or vegetables, maybe some pasta or rice and you have a homemade meal!
Soups and stews are another good choice because you will have your vegetables already added in. I personally have found that potatoes do not do well, so I leave those out. Lasagna, packaged into individual servings, is also delicious and freezes very well. Almost anything can be frozen, so use your imagination and get cooking!
When you come home tired and hungry, you'll love the convenience of opening your freezer and picking out your meal. It will make stopping for junk food much less likely and therefore much healthier. It also kept me from buying frozen dinners, which are quite expensive and, in my opinion, not as healthy or tasty as a homemade meal. Before I started this system, I was eating anything easy to make and usually it wasn't a very balanced meal. I could definitely feel the difference in my overall health. One of the most pleasant surprises was the difference in my grocery bills. I have saved a substantial amount of money not buying all that prepackaged food. Another nice thing is that if I do have an unexpected friend drop by, and want to invite them to dinner, all I have to do is whip out two portions.So, take one day, cook up some delicious dinners and enjoy cheaper, healthier meals for weeks to come!