The secret to a successful week: plan your meals!
Are you tired of eating the same 2 or 3 recipes during the week, because you made too many and it would be sad to waste? You lack organization and motivation in the kitchen because you only cook for yourself? We’ll come to the rescue to make your weekly meal planning a success.
The challenge: how do you eat well when you’re alone?
When all the recipes you find have between 4 and 8 servings, planning your meal routine becomes complicated. It’s understandable that your motivation may be low after a busy day at work, especially if you’re cooking just for yourself.
Since we don’t want you to have to turn to the delivery service of your favorite restaurants every time, we’ll talk about planning healthy meals for you. There are many ways to eat healthy when you live alone.
First of all, the classic option of cooking larger quantities of a favourite recipe and freezing it in individual portions is still a great option.
Alternatively, you can prepare certain foods ahead of time, such as when you return from the grocery store, to have quick options during the week. By that, we mean preparing the chicken breast or the block of tofu you just bought so you can quickly put it in your lunches during the week.
One last tip: prepare your vegetables at the beginning of the week. This way, you don’t have to do it right before cooking and you save preparation time.
Should I consider frozen foods?
Yes, frozen fruits and vegetables could become your best allies to increase the nutritional quality of your meals without giving you a headache.
In fact, if you’re thinking about your morning oatmeal, you can buy a bag of mixed berries instead of buying several boxes of berries. In the morning, with your eyes still glued, you can take a handful of fruit, thaw it in the microwave and add it to your bowl. How easy is that?
After the frozen fruit, don't forget the frozen vegetables!
Same thing for a dinner party where you don’t have any side dishes. One cup of California vegetable mix, steamed, then hop! Straight to the plate with your favorite protein and a starch and in 5 minutes you have a complete meal.
Planning your meals on your own
Take some time out of your day for meal prep. The following steps can help you build your meal planning routine.
- Choose 2-3 recipes of about 4 servings and ingredients for quick lunches (for example, vegetables that you could also eat raw or in a salad);
- Choose nutritious snacks (a banana muffin recipe, fruit, hummus, for example);
- Look at the ingredients you have left in your fridge and pantry;
- Make a grocery list* for the foods you are missing;
- Go to your favourite grocery store and select your food.
When you get home from the grocery store, consider preparing some fruits and vegetables ahead of time so that they are easy to use when you need them. We’re talking about pineapple and grapes, which can be annoying to pick out when they appear in front of you with the branches and peel on.
*Be careful not to make your grocery list too long. You might forget some food in the fridge if it’s too full.
8 recipe ideas for a single person
Before we list some of the dishes that work well for one person, we thought we’d give you a tip for choosing your recipes for the week. Of the choices you’ll keep, consider choosing 2 recipes that contain similar foods. The ingredients won’t get lost and you’ll have less to buy.
For example, if you plan to make a Caesar wrap and a Caesar salad during the week, you will be able to prepare a protein and a dressing that go into both dishes; romaine lettuce and grated cheese can also be used in both recipes.
- Homemade poke bowl with smoked salmon cubes and homemade dressing;
- Baked root vegetables and chickpeas;
- Individual vegetarian pizza on whole wheat tortilla;
- BLT Sandwich;
- Quick soup with frozen vegetable soup mix and brown rice;
- Cold plate with hard boiled egg, raw vegetables and crackers;
- Quick Mac n’ Cheese;
- Asian beef and vegetable stir fry, over rice noodles.
You’ll have a lot less meal planning headache now that we’ve cleared it up for you. Remember to take it one step at a time and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be the meal prep king on your first try. Practice will help you develop tricks and find what works best for you in organizing your meals on your own.