Posted on 03/28/2017 at 02:37 PM by Lia Bahls, RD
Cooking for a small household can seem expensive or not worth the time, however, having a small household does not mean that you should abandon cooking for takeout. When cooking for one or two people, you have more liberty in what you choose to make. A meal can be as simple as a vegetable omelet or a chicken breast with veggies.
Planning your meals ahead of time assures that you will have healthy options ready to choose from. Your freezer is your best friend in the kitchen. Prepare meals to the recommended amounts and put half in the freezer for another week. Save time, money, and clean up by freezing soups, pasta dishes, and extra vegetables. Homemade frozen meals are a great option when you’re not in the mood to cook.
Follow these simple food tips to save money and make the most of your groceries:
- Cook a batch of whole grains, such as brown rice or quinoa, and freeze in individual portions using a muffin pan. Once frozen, the discs can be stored in a Zip-lock bag or Tupperware container.
- Visit the bulk bins at your local grocery store. You can buy the exact amount you need with no waste and save some money. Bulk bins are not limited to grains; you can get spices, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and dried beans.
Fruits and Vegetables
- Bulk bags of fruits and vegetables are a great deal if you are able to eat them before they spoil. If you have time, buy in bulk and freeze the excess. Otherwise, only buy what is reasonable for you to eat.
- Choose frozen produce to have on hand. Frozen is just as nutritious as fresh, just make sure to choose options that are not frozen with sugar or sauces. Add these to smoothies, soups, or a stir-fry.
- Enjoy your most perishable fresh produce such as berries and spinach early on in the week and save heartier produce such as cabbage, carrots, and potatoes for later in the week.
Protein: Meat, Poultry, and Eggs
- Eggs are a great option for a quick meal and are suitable for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Have hard-boiled eggs ready to go in the fridge for a quick protein-filled snack.
- Buy a whole package of meat and wrap individual portions and place in the freezer. Label and date each portion.
For more food and nutrition tips, visit our website or contact us at 515-327-2000.
Adapted from Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Cooking Tips for One or Two