6 Ways to Make Cooking for One Easier, According to Dietitians
Solo cooking can be a challenge, but these tips should make it much, much easier.
For some, eating for one means dining out or grabbing some takeout. But when you're trying to eat healthier, that usually means you do more of your cooking at home. And when there's only one person eating, it's common to cook a larger-batch recipe and eat it on repeat throughout the week. While that strategy works (more on that in a bit), it might not be for everyone.
But we believe healthy eating for one can be delicious and enjoyable. That's why we turned to a handful of dietitians for their top tips on how to cook for one while keeping it healthy, mouthwatering, and fun.
1. Stock Your Fridge
"I rarely cook a full-blown meal for myself. Instead, I make it a point to have components of meals on hand so I can easily build something delicious. I always have some type of leafy greens on hand like baby spinach, some kind of lean protein, beans, a sauce—either marinara, pesto, or vinaigrette—and some kind of grain. From there, I create something different for every meal, though usually it's a bowl meal for me. For example, I made myself a cauliflower rice bowl with seasoned chicken and used the same chicken to make chicken tostadas for my kids."
—Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD, author of Meals That Heal
2. Subscribe to a Meal-Kit Delivery Service
"I am always recommending recipe delivery kits for my clients who are cooking for one! There are several companies that provide meals with two servings per recipe, meaning you always have lunch for the following day. I particularly like the protein portions that are perfectly sized as well as the fact that you don't have to buy large amounts of dried spices or fresh herbs, while still getting delicious, unique meals on the table."
—Katie Andrews, MS, RDN, of Wellness by Katie
You don't have to spend money on expensive meal kits to get delicious meals for one! Subscribe to the Cooking Light Diet today and receive customizable meal plans based on the foods YOU love.
3. Choose Veggies You Can Cook Once and Eat Multiple Times
"I try to prep roasted veggies on the weekend and then eat them in (my favorite!) Gluten-Free Egg, Kale & Sweet-Potato Stacks—that particular recipe covers all the bases of flavors and macronutrients. I also will then pair my pre-roasted veggies with smoked salmon, fruit, and some crackers for a quick meal."
—Jenna Braddock, MSH, RD, CSSD, of JennaBraddock.com
4. Lean On Pre-Chopped Veggies and Fresh Dips
"I rely on as many shortcuts as possible to cut down cooking time for one person. Fresh Cravings Restaurant Style Salsa is my favorite salsa shortcut and is made with vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh veggies with an incredible authentic taste. Their Kickin' Queso Cashew Dip is made from superfoods and almonds or cashews, making it the perfect dairy replacement and shortcut in traditional meals, like time-saving make-ahead casseroles! I grab both in the produce section while stocking up on pre-chopped or spiralized vegetables."
—Shannon A. Garcia, MDS, RD, of KissintheKitchen.com
5. Cook Once, Eat Thrice
"If you're the only one eating a meal, it may seem daunting to go through all that work for just yourself. But if you plan to follow a recipe that usually provides 2 to 4 servings per meal, you can prep that and then just enjoy the rest at work the next day and/or the following evening(s). Cooking for 1 means you can elevate your normal humdrum work lunch or save time the next evening."
—Christopher Mohr, PhD, RD, co-owner of Mohr Results, Inc.
6. Indulge in Premade or Frozen Eats
"I like to get a really good frozen pizza, cut it in half (or thirds), and pair it with a salad. It feels like a treat. In fact, I have half a frozen pizza in my fridge right now. Another thing I like to do is buy a premade soup and add a veggie to it (like baby spinach) for extra nutrition."
Indulge in non-frozen homemade pizzas, delicious cheeseburgers, and more! Subscribe to the Cooking Light Diet today and start receiving customizable meal plans with recipes the whole family will love.