Jul 13, 2016

How To: 5 Tips for Cooking for One

There are so many benefits to cooking your own food, at least now and then.

 - You learn and practice a handy life skill
 - You know what is in your food
 - You set the cleanliness and food safety standard for how your food is prepared
 - It's generally at least a bit cheaper
 - It's fun!

There are more, but this post isn't about sellilng anyone on the benefits of cooking at home over eating out all the time. Most people already know that cooking, at least now and then, is a good idea. But with our busy lives, sometimes finding time is tricky!

When you cook for a family, it's easy to cook in a way that's both time efficient and money efficient. When you're cooking for just one person, it's a lot harder to cook in a way that makes sense. If you aren't careful, cooking for one can be a lot more expensive and wasteful than eating out. That undercuts the point of cooking!

Here are my top tips to save money and time while having fun cooking for a one-person household! Cooking doesn't have to take a lot of extra time or be inconvenient, even for the busiest person.

1) Cook the full recipe and freeze portioned out leftovers.

It's tempting to cook recipes that are scaled down to one or two portions, but it's much more efficient to coook a full family-sized recipe and freeze the extra portions for another time. In general, buying bulk is cheaper than buying little bits of a million different ingredients and cooking bulk has the added benefit of saving you time and making it easier to homecooked meals on even the busiest of workdays.

2) Buy non-perishables in bulk.

Canned beans, bags of rice, flour, and so on can just as well be bought in bulk when you're cooking for one as when you're cooking for many, you just won't have to shop again as soon.

3) Buy produce in small amounts.

Unlike dry and canned goods, produce goes bad pretty quickly. I've often heard single person households complain that they don't like to buy fruits and vegetables because half of what they buy goes bad before they have the chance to eat it.

Instead of buying a whole bag of apples, buy one or two. Instead of buying a packet of carrots, buy them single. Instead of buying the big tub of lettuce, buy a small bag. You'll spend a little more than buying bulk, but you'll save a lot of waste!

4) Don't skip the freezer aisle.

Especially for those with variable schedules, who sometimes eat out more or travel for work on short notice, frozen fruits and vegetables can save a lot of waste! Since most fruits and vegetables are flash frozen, a lot of the nutrients are preserved and they're almost as good for you as fresh fruits and veggies! They also tend to be cheaper, since transport is less expensive.

What are your biggest single cooking challenges?

What are your top tips for cooking for one?

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