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Meals for One – Cooking and Grocery Shopping Tips

Chances are if you’re looking at Flavorly’s website that you’re in the market for meals for one to two people.  I can’t stress enough the joy of opening my freezer and seeing it stacked from top to bottom with creative, imaginative and delicious meals – individually portioned just for me!  But there are times when I want to want to cook for myself.  I enjoy cooking when I can find the time and don’t have to cater for the variable schedules and taste buds of my family.  But cooking for one, or even two, can be challenging.  Can you buy just 3 slices of cheese?  What do you do with any leftovers?  Here are a few tips to get you started.

Make A Proper Meal Plan

Having some idea of what you’re going to cook and when is key.  Getting into a few good habits is a good idea!  Go with what works for you when planning meals for one.

  1. Stock your kitchen with quality staples so you can be spontaneous when you want to
  2. Plan 1-3 homeade dinners a week making extra helpings for leftovers that you can have for lunch the next day or freeze
  3. Plan out meals with ingredients that could be frozen or last for 2 or 3 weeks, instead of using lots of fresh produce that might only last a few days
  4. Schedule a cooking day on Sunday and store up a few meals that you can freeze or keep in the refrigerator.

Use Bulk Bins and Deli Counters

Bulk bin pricing is usually equally or less expensive than buying ingredients in full-sized packaging.  And you can buy exactly how much you need by weight.  Grains, cereals and nuts are examples.  The same principle applies with the deli counters.  If you only need 3 slices of cheese then buy them here, not a pre-packaged 8-12 that you know will end up as calorie-laden late night snacks!

Meals for one
Bulk Bins
PhotoCredit: RealSimple

Don’t Overbuy Produce

As tempting as that punnet of strawberries might look, how likely are you to use them all in your smoothies this week?  Go frozen instead rather than end up discarding those that remain uneaten.  We throw away an enormous amount of expired produce every year because it is visually appealing and we overbuy.  Try to resist the temptation and buy frozen or buy in smaller quantities.  Select 4 apples and bag them yourself – you don’t need that convenient bag of 12.

meals for one
Grocery Deli Counter

Fill Up Your Freezer

Your freezer is your best friend and unlike human friends, this is one friend you should use and take advantage of to its fullest extent!  Fill it with leftovers and ingredients you can reheat easily – frozen produce, protein, grains and bread.  Make sure to leave plenty of room for your Flavorly frozen meals!  Freezing food actually plays a major role in helping you to eat better food and resist those impulse cravings or unnecessary impulse drives to pick up take-out.

Freshly Prepared Frozen Meals

Freezer or Re-invent Leftovers

I’m not great at this.  Leftovers tend to end up in Ziplock bags in my fridge and remain there uneaten until I eventually throw them out.  When I was little my mom used to save the leftover vegetables and make a ‘Spanish omelette’ the next day.  Or turn them into a soup maybe.  Other ideas – put leftover fruit, salad or herbs in a smoothie.  Make a panini or quesadilla out of the remains of your chicken dinner.  Stuff a baked potato with leftover casserole, stew or chili.  Be inventive with your meals for one.

Meals for one
Holiday Leftovers
PhotoCredit: FoodNetwork

Buy A Toaster Oven

This little counter-top appliance is hands-down the quickest and easiest way to bake, roast or toast all sorts of meals for one.  For example, want to bake some cookies.  The toaster oven will let you bake a reasonable serving of 1 or 2 cookies, instead of baking a dozen and trying to resist eating them all.  Want to reheat a slice of pizza?  The toaster oven will make it nice and crispy, versus all sort and soggy in the microwave.  Want to roast a single serving of veggies, or bake a piece of fish, or make a slice of avocado toast?  You get the message!

Toaster Oven
Toaster Oven
PhotoCredit: CNet

Learn How to Scale Down Recipes

We have all scaled up or scaled down recipes at some point in our life.  But do we make a note of the numbers?  Probably not and the inclination to repeat the math is small (at least in my case).  Write it down the first time!  Google is a great resource, and you can just type in questions such as “divide 1 cup by 6”, or “how many tablespoons is 1/6 cup?”).  Also, learn how to divide various foods (ex. if you need to divide 1 egg in half, simply whisk and then divide it, or buy liquid eggs instead to avoid wasting the leftovers).  And in addition, learn to find substitutes for various ingredients if you don’t want to purchase all of them.  For example, make your own buttermilk, self-raising flour or British style back bacon (using pork loin).

Knowing how to shop mindfully for one person is good but applying it in practice is better.  I am adding it to my ever-increasing list of resolutions for 2021!  Start making your lists now and head over to Flavorly to stock up your freezer for those days when you don’t feel like cooking 🙂



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