Monday, March 11, 2013

Table for One: Eating as a Single

This one is for all my single ladies (and men)!  Eating for one can be a huge roadblock for people trying to lose or maintain weight, for so many reasons!  Cooking a whole meal for one person often seems like a waste.  Making a big batch of food to eat for the week sounds like a great plan, until you find yourself staring at another lasagna dinner for the third day in a row.  Boring, right?! Ordering take-out ends up sounding like a good idea, but that can take a toll on your wallet and your waistline!

The good news for us singles?! It's totally possible to create and consume healthy meals & snacks for one!  Rather than making one meal in a large portion (i.e. casseroles, soup) that you'll quickly get bored with, I recommend prepping several items that you can mix-and-match to make interesting meals all week!  I like to start with a "base" food and add mix-ins depending on what type of meal I want.  Here are my tips for creating healthy, filling meals that won't leave you bored:

First, start with a grain.  Make several servings of a versatile grain/carbohydrate (quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, cous cous) to use in several different dishes.

Next up, prep some protein! Think grilled chicken, ground turkey, tofu, beans, lentils! Keeping a few types of protein on hand makes it easy to create a new meal daily!  Some people find it easier to start with a protein first and the grain next, which is totally fine. Remember, a meal plan has to work for YOU in order to be successful!

After you've chosen a protein, be sure to fill up on veggies!  You knew that was coming, right? :) It's super easy to chop up big batches of peppers, onions, zucchini, squash or broccoli.  Or buy frozen and defrost as needed so you don't have to worry about spoilage!  Other easy toss-ins include baby spinach, tomatoes and brussels sprouts.  (I've recently been introduced to shredded sprouts from Trader Joe's--genius!)

Finally, fill in the flavor.  Vary the taste of your dishes by adding different spices and herbs.  If you're in the mood for Italian, go with oregano or basil.  Greek?  Flavor with lemon juice and a little olive oil.  Feeling spicy?  Add crushed red pepper flakes or siracha sauce!  The possibilities are endless!

To keep portions under control, try to set up your plate to be about 1/2 veggies, 1/4 protein and 1/4 carbohydrates!  Healthy fats can be added through the food itself (fish), the cooking process (sauteeing with a little olive oil) or as flavoring (sliced avocado).

Keep in mind this guide to eating doesn't just apply to singles.  Couples, friends and families can avoid boredom and create nutritious, fun meals with a little planning and preparation!  

Happy eating! :)

1 comment:

  1. Great ideas! Cooking for one is so often a challenge, and these simple ideas could really help get out of a rut. Also, keeping with the 1/2 veggies, 1/4 carb, 1/4 protein is a simple, easy way to portion control and follow MyPlate. Great suggestions for anyone with a busy schedule (single or not!)