Making it fun: Meal Planning for One
Do you like to cook? Does cooking feed your soul or are you trying to spend the least amount of hours in the kitchen as possible?
Between work, cooking, cleaning, and everything else on your plate, eating shouldn’t be a stressful last minute decision. You definitely don’t want it to be one you regret. Whether you’re lost when it comes to meal prep, a pro in the kitchen looking for more balance or just learning how to cook for one, these meal prep tips are sure to make your meal time simpler so you can go back to enjoying life… and you might just have a little fun while preparing it.
Don’t buy too much, wasting will create negative feelings around cooking and meal planning, discouraging you from the get-go. We want sustainable lasting changes here because this will bring you long-term success!
Hit the bulk bins for those long lasting dried goods like pumpkin or hemp seeds, lentils, chickpeas and more. You can even get a Costco card, Instacart account with a friend or roommate.
Use that freezer! Make freezer friendly soups and stews, organic frozen fruits and vegetables are always a great option as they are picked at peak ripeness and then frozen to savor all of the nutrients. Other freezer friendly options include half trays of vegetable lasagnes, ready to bake enchiladas, pre-rolled and stuffed bean and vegetable burritos, quesadillas or even breakfast burritos, individually wrapped in tin or parchment paper to individually bake when ready. Get creative here!
Make it fun and fancy- treat yourself by lighting a nice candle while cooking, picking out three or four fancy farmers market fruits or vegetables to make a simple meal around, have fun! Utilize your creativity to make the most of the meal and enjoy yourself.
Throw the occasional cooking party or start a cooking club! Use a Lazy Susan so your guests can add their favorite ingredients to personalize their meal and make things easier on you. Examples for good themes are make your own sushi rolls, build your own pizzas with toppings, stuff your own baked or sweet potato, stir fry night, “nice cream” buffet, and more!
Keep it simple by using individual ingredient meals. To avoid burnout, mix up your spices & marinades. Keep a couple fruits out where you can see them and will eat them throughout the day. Cut up melons, pineapples, kiwi, grapes, strawberries etc. and keep them in a bowl in the fridge for easy breakfasts and snacks to pull from for the next 3-4 days.
Make yourself smile- pleasing multiple eaters is difficult but with one you can cook what you love! When I was cooking for 3, there were things my former co-diners couldn’t eat that I loved, like crunchy tacos. Now that I cook for myself I enjoy them frequently because I didn’t get to very often in the 6 years that we dined together. To accomplish this one, choose your favorite meals and if it’s a big recipe, cut it in half or phone a friend to share! The last option also comes into play here..
Cook once, eat 2 or 3 times! For example make a big batch of rice, quinoa, pasta etc at the beginning of the week and remix the leftovers multiple times by adding different sauces, spices, and vegetables! Cook in batches and take a mixed version of dinner for lunch.
The goal here is to flip the script. Make it a positive process and don’t forget to set yourself up for success by making it a fun experience you can enjoy!
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