Dinner for One: Healthy Cooking and Eating While Single

Cereal for supper? Fast food out of the bag? That’s not how singles have to eat. Eating right can be challenging when living alone, but singles have options to match their preferences and skills. To cook or not to cook? What’s your singles eating style?

To Cook

Singles can cook either fast and slow. Fast cooking involves making one simple meal from scratch. Think about a spinach and cheese omelet, a big salad with rotisserie chicken, a quick pasta dish, or beans and rice. Without being elaborate, fast meals cover all of the food groups (don’t forget your glass of milk and piece of fruit.) The trick to cooking fast is to assemble a repertoire of tried-and-true recipes and to keep the ingredients on hand at all times. The shopping list must be always up-to-date. Reheating frozen entrees or burritos is a type of fast cooking. Buy them on sale and keep the freezer full.

Cooking in batches is the other way to cook. Batch cooking is about making several meals all at once, or in the case of singles, cooking several servings of just one thing. Batch cooking is for slow simmering stews, lasagnas and other elaborate exotic dishes, which contain all the food groups in a single serving. It appeals to people who love to cook and eat well. The key to batch cooking is to have a plan for the cooked food. Containers are a must for storage in the fridge and carrying it for lunch. To avoid repetition and waste, freeze small portions right off the stove or to give some away – in containers – or invite guests to dinner. Perhaps those kind acts will be repaid in the form of cooked food.

Not to Cook

Restaurants, from pricey to cheap, and prepared food from supermarkets, gourmet food stores, workplace cafeterias, food trucks, best friends, and dear old mom all prepare the food behind the scenes and we are at their mercy. Regardless of venue, it makes sense to gravitate to dishes that are heavy on vegetables and light on lean meat and starches, and are not prepared with excessive amounts of butter, cream, cheese, mayonnaise, and oil. Also, be aware of the extra calories in the beverages, bread, alcohol, and desserts that may come with eating out. And since restaurant entrees are large enough for two or three meals, share it with a friend, bring half home, or skip the entree in favor of two appetizers or an appetizer and a soup or salad.

Time to Eat

Everyone should always be seated to eat and mindful of the way the food smells, tastes and feels. Mindful people enjoy the experience and do not overeat. At home, there’s no reason why singles cannot light candles, use fancy linens and listen to soothing music. Dining is one of life’s great, simple pleasures for everyone regardless of relationship status.

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