Preparing food for just yourself is a skill.
All aspects of preparing food for one must be carefully thought through and this, like mostly everything else in life, will improve with practice. Here are some simple steps for successfully cooking for one:
STEP 1: Planning/Purchasing the food/ingredients
It’s most efficient if you plan what food you want to cook with before you drive yourself to the store and then proceed to aimlessly browse through the aisles picking up random foods that you will most likely not use before it goes bad. However, if going to the store and just winging it without a list is your style and it works for you, then keep doing you. For the rest of us, I highly suggest planning out a list beforehand. Also, because I’m obsessive about planning things and making lists, I organize my shopping list by food group (Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Dairy, Protein/Meats, Other) and as soon as I put something on my list into my basket I check it off the list.
PRO-TIP: The healthiest (and most-natural) foods are always located on the perimeter of the grocery store. Think about it. Fruits, Vegetables and Proteins/Meats are the most healthy and least processed and (almost) 100% of the time, the deli/seafood section and the produce section are both conveniently located on the perimeter and not hiding in any aisles in the center of the store.
The trick to buying food for one is getting enough food to feed yourself but not buying so much that it’ll all go bad before you get to enjoy it. I like sticking to similar foods for every meal (a fruit, two vegetables and a protein) – but more on this in a later post; be on the look-out for my Whole30 experience! You have to keep in mind that the only mouth you will be feeding is your own. If you find yourself waiting in line to check-out and are overwhelmed at how much food is in your cart or basket, you most likely have too much food in your basket!
STEP 2: ACTUALLY MAKING THE FOOD
The best advice I can give for this section is to keep it simple. I always plan to have enough meat to last you until the next time you can go to the store to replenish and enough fruits and vegetables to eat a few with every meal until your designated replen day. As a college student preparing food just for myself these next five weeks, I’ll try to regularly post things that I make and that you can make too! Here are a few examples:
STEP 3: TAKING PICTURES AND POSTING THEM BECAUSE YOU’RE PROUD OF YOURSELF
The title for this third and final step speaks for itself. Be proud of the food you made (all by yourself and all for yourself), that way when you finish eating it, you can always look at the picture and be proud of all you’ve accomplished. And let’s be real, did you even make and/or eat any of it if you don’t post it online somewhere??
Sample breakfast/snack – any variation or combination of fruit, yogurt and granola.
Sample lunch/snack/dinner – the middle picture: protein (turkey), two vegetables (tomatoes and broccoli) and some feta cheese to help flavor. the right-most picture: simple pesto pasta: pesto is just olive oil, basil, pinenuts and water.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment for me below!