DIY,  Eat,  Meal Prep

Mastering: Cooking for one

Photo By Todd Quackenbush

I have never been much of a baker, but I have always enjoyed making meals. The picture below is the photographic evidence of me struggling with my Yonana. I was trying to experiment with healthy alternative to processed frozen yogurt. My health is very important to me, so I try to find the time for meal prep.



Eating for one can be tricky. One of the hardest things  for me, was making sure I finished my food before it had a chance to spoil. Over the years, I have developed some good habits that help me to make meal preparation as easy and painless as possible. 

  1. Do a big major grocery shop at the beginning of the week. I attack grocery shopping with a plan, I know what foods I am going to get. I make sure I have snacks for work and plan out my dinners and lunches. I pick foods that can be used in more than one application.
    Ways I usually re-purpose food:

    – I will cook ground beef one night and use it for a taco salad. The next night I will use similar vegetables and throw the meat into tomato sauce and make spaghetti. 

    – Portion out rice, use some in a stir fry and then add salsa to the rice the next day and use it for a burrito bowl
    – Have roast chicken with vegetables one night and then use the white meat for a quesadilla the next day
    – Make roast sweet potatoes and use the potatoes as a hash for breakfast the next day

     

  2. Know which foods spoil quickly , and plan to eat these ones first:
    Berries last 3 – 4 days
    Bananas 2 -3 days (if you have an unripe fruit put it next to a banana. Bananas produce ethylene gas and will ripen up the fruits/vegetable around them)
    Green beans 2 -3 days
  3. Eating the same things for days can get boring and some grocery stores won’t allow me to buy the portions that I want. When I make a lasagna, stew, soup or chili, it requires a fair bit of prep time and I usually end up eating it for days. I portion the food out into containers and freeze them for when I am in a rush.
  4. The freezer is my friend, I hate throwing away food, so I take preemptive measures to avoid this. I buy most foods that are okay to freeze. If I don’t have time to eat something, I prep it and throw it in the freezer. I usually freeze spinach (which I use for smoothies once frozen),kale, bread, soft tortilla shells, berries and meat.
  5. Keep a good inventory of goods that don’t spoil. I make sure that my pantry is always stocked with what I call my basics. I keep canned tomatos, tomato sauce, coconut milk, dry beans and grains (i.e. black bean, lentils, rice, quinoa, pasta) and some sort of stock. My basics for my refrigerator are usually Greek yogurt, cheese, eggs and almond milk. This allows me to make a wide variety of meals.
  6. Get creative. I do have a formula and once I love something, I want to eat it all the time and then I get sick of it. I subscribe to Epicurious, so I get daily recipes which I save for when I am in a rut. I have all the recipes in a folder, it is easy for me to search in my e-mail the ingredients I have at home and look through the recipes that have that ingredient. I also use Pinterest and search for ideas, with the supplies I know I already have at home.
  7. I always half or quarter recipes, knowing the portion size I will usually want. I aim to cook for two people, so there is enough for my lunch the next day or dinner the next day. I feel more obligated to cook if I know it will stretch for a couple meals.
  8. It’s okay to give up once in a while. I don’t always want to prepare something for dinner. Sometimes I will fry an egg and just have breakfast for dinner or I will just throw frozen fruits in the blender, with some greens, almond milk and protein powder and call it a night. 
I hope this helps with meal preparation. I find once I find my routine, it is no trouble at all. Eating well makes me feel my best. I like my food to taste fresh. Processed foods ultimately have too much sodium in them and they don’t have as much nutrients as fresh food does. 

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