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Solo Meals: 4 Practical Tips and Inspiring Ideas for Cooking for One

Moneymagpie Team 28th Sep 2023 No Comments

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Whether you’re a bit old-fashioned and still favor recipe books or all your recipes come from YouTube and TikTok, it doesn’t take much to notice that many of these meals are created with the idea of a happy family in mind. 

But good food doesn’t always need company! When you’re cooking just for yourself, you have the wonderful opportunity to experiment and design meals based on your preferences. Also, you can try new tastes and spices and satisfy all your culinary curiosities without anyone pestering you.

Plus, cooking at home is a healthier and more affordable choice. So why not give it a try? We’re sure you’re going to end up falling in love with cooking for yourself!

To get you started, we gathered a few tips and ideas that will make the time spent in the kitchen worth your while.

  1. Try Meal Kits
  2. Think Ahead
  3. Choose Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
  4. Only Buy/Consume What You Need

1. Try Meal Kits 

If you’re not the kind of person who enjoys researching recipes, shopping for ingredients, and cooking from scratch, why not try meal kits? 

Meal kits can be an excellent stepping stone in smoothly transitioning from dining out to cooking your meals. Moreover, these culinary services cater not only to families or couples but also accommodate solo artists in the kitchen.

You can have delicious, almost-ready meals for solo dining that take between 20 and 40 minutes to prepare. Everything, including the ingredients and sauces, is portioned to fit your needs as a solo cook. Plus, you receive recipe cards with clearly laid-out steps on how to prep and cook each ingredient.

This way, you get to test new ingredients and flavors, improve your cooking skills, and avoid food waste. It’s a win-win-win situation!

2. Think Ahead

You don’t have to plan your meals a week in advance, but it is a good idea to stock up on some long-lasting and versatile ingredients that can turn even a bland meal into a feast.

Think about staples like potatoes. You can store them as-is in the pantry, or better yet, you can have a bunch of boiled potatoes in the fridge. This way, you can simply add them to a stir-fry, mash, or lay beneath a sunny side egg to grasp a quick dinner.

Other must-haves are eggs, Greek yogurt, tahini, miso paste, lemons or limes, garlic, shallots, canned whole tomatoes, and your go-to hot sauce. These are flavorsome additions that last long in the fridge and can boost any dish. Also, don’t forget your grains – quinoa, brown rice, or farro.

Bonus tip: Prepare some delicious and healthy appetizers to have around when hunger kicks in, and you don’t have time to cook.

3. Choose Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

Frozen fruits and veggies are healthy and fresh, and you can enjoy them for a long time. Plus, they’re extremely versatile – whether you’re craving a mid-day smoothie or need to add some greens to your dinner, frozen produce comes to the rescue. 

Not to mention the convenience factor. You don’t have to worry about prepping these ingredients – they’re already cleaned, cut, and ready for use. It can save you a lot of time, not just in cooking but also in cleanup! 

Perhaps most importantly, contrary to common belief, frozen fruits and vegetables pack as much nutritional value as their fresh counterparts since they are often flash-frozen at peak ripeness. This means that you won’t compromise on nutrients while enjoying their extended availability!

4. Only Buy/Consume What You Need

Because of bad table habits, we tend to overestimate the amount of food we need. Plus, when you make too much, and there’s no one else around, you end up eating a larger size just to avoid food waste.

As a result, we overeat, which translates into feeling drowsy and sleepy after each meal. In time, this habit can lead to a wide range of health problems, including weight-related problems.

However, with a bit of mindfulness and some discipline, you can kick this unhealthy habit to the curb. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you with that:

  • Understanding Portions: Start by developing a sense of how much food you consume in each meal. This should help reduce over-purchasing, which typically results in food waste.
  • Shopping Lists: A well-thought-out shopping list based on your meal plan is a vital tool. Stick with it to avoid impulse buying.
  • Avoid Bulk Buying: While bulk purchases can seem like a bargain, they might not be ideal for solo cooking unless it’s long-lasting staples like rice or dried lentils.
  • Flexible Ingredients: Prioritize ingredients that can be used in multiple dishes. It helps to diversify your meals while keeping shopping needs minimal.
  • Opt for Small Packs: Even if it’s slightly costlier, go for small packs of perishable items like dairy products, fresh produce, or meat. You’ll utilize the entire pack before it goes bad, which actually saves money in the long run.

Wrap Up

It’s time to debunk the myth that solo cooking is an uphill task. On the contrary, it can be a gastronomic adventure tailored to please just one very important person – you! Whether trying meal kits, whipping up dishes with versatile ingredients, or cooking on a whim with only your palate to please, each experience is exciting and refreshingly personalized.

Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.

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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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