According to the Daily Mail, and in turn the Office Of National Statistics there are around 2.5 million people aged between 45-64 who live alone (see the link below for the full article). There are numerous reasons for this, some through choice and others through circumstance, but whatever the reason, cooking for one is a reality. I am pleased that I am not the only one out there!
I find myself through circumstance, part of that statistic. Having someone to cook for gives you a sense of purpose especially when the person you cook for is appreciative of your efforts – and they do the washing up! Now that it’s just me I am finding it all a bit of an effort. I am quite happy with simplistic meals which require every little effort, plus the fact that I am working full time, it saves on the time I spend cleaning up.
This doesn’t mean that I am reaching for the cereal packet or buying ready meals on a regular basis. I am still trying to be creative and have a little fun, but on a much smaller scale. I definitely don’t want to be eating what I have cooked all week. I know that I can freeze any extra portions, but I don’t have a massive freezer so am limited in how much I can get in there plus I’d rather keep it stocked with basic ingredients.
I don’t find cooking for one depressing and it can be quite liberating. I can please myself – cook exactly what I fancy at the time. I don’t have to make any major decisions if I don’t want to, and I don’t have to consider the likes and dislikes of anyone else, but I do have to be careful. There is a real danger of having too much food in the house and not being able to use it all before it becomes uneatable.
I do have some guidelines for anyone who is cooking alone in a bit to prevent over shopping!
I know that this may seem obvious but I need to say it again. You need to do this before you go shopping as it’s what your shopping list will be based on. This can be difficult if you are an impulsive cook (like me), but this will really help and will save money in the long run. You do need to consider the amount of time you have for cooking each day though, and plan your meals accordingly. I work shifts which means I can be working over meal times, so I need to make allowances and have snacks in the car. This means having my main meal between shifts and may mean preparing it the previous day. Having a meal waiting for me takes away any stress and prevents impulsive eating. This also means that I don’t waste any leftovers.
If you don’t want to plan ahead – make sure that your cupboards and fridge are packed for of the basics. Things that you use on a regular basis and can make multiple meals from. A box of mushrooms and a pack of tomatoes can contribute to 3 or 4 meals during a week (pasta, pizza, brunch, roasted vegetables). If you don’t have time to cook daily, you could cook ahead if you have an evening free or a day off.
Don’t Buy More Than You Need
This can be difficult as we are all tempted by the multi-buys or any items that are on offer. Remember – if it’s in your cupboard and not being used it’s called stock holding and is not putting your money to best use. If it sits in your cupboard for a long time, then you are less inclined to use it. This applies to fresh produce as well as cupboard stock as you can always go back to the supermarket and pick up more if you run out. This is much better than wasting money by letting items perish. Remember that there is only so much you can eat!
Fill Your Freezer
You can fill it any way you wish – with basic ingredients like me, or with leftovers. You know how big your freezer is – just make sure it works for you. Keep it tidy and leftover meals labelled as it’s not much fun guessing as you have forgotten what went in or when it went it.
Make Good Use of Leftovers
If I roast a small chicken, I know that it’s going to give me 4 meals. One day I would have a roast dinner, the next a chicken & avocado sandwich, then a pizza, finishing with a soup. Realistically though, I would freeze a couple of portions so that I wasn’t eating chicken all week, but you get the idea. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit salad in the fridge to eat when you are hungry or as a dessert. We do tend to eat what’s at hand so ready prepared healthy options are always good.
My Chinese Five Spice Chicken Noodle Soup
Learn to Adapt Recipes
Just because a recipe says it’s for 4 people, that doesn’t mean you can half it. If you’re not great at maths there are conversion tables available on the internet plus you can buy magnets that you can stick to the fridge or freezer. It’s not complicated but just takes a little getting used to. I have never felt the need to half cake recipes for some reason though….
Make a List of Your Favourite Recipes & Food Items
This means that you will never be short of inspiration at short notice. You can create your shopping list from these, so you will never be missing any ingredients.
Invest in a Cookery Book
There are numerous cookery books for one person either in the shops or online, if you don’t know how or where to start. You can even type into your search engine ‘Meals for One’ and it will bring up numerous websites with recipes for you to follow.
There’s nothing wrong with having a takeaway once in a while, but don’t overdo it. Not only will it cost you more money but it’s probably not that healthy and will do you no good in the long term. If you really don’t like eating alone, invite a friend over or accept dinner invitations.
Keeping it simple, but healthy is key to cooking and eating alone as well as learning to like your own company.
That’s all this time. Hope to see you again soon
You can find me on Instagram as Jackie.Glynn
The above article is my own and reflects my own opinions. Humble Tart Kitchen accepts no responsibility for anything contained within the article.
Dinner Alone – likessuccess.com
Weekly Meal Planner – ediacwordpress.com
Freezer Meals – thehappyhousewife.com
Eating Alone – quotespictures.com