Healthy Eating When Cooking for One

By Mel Thomassian (RD)
1454-alone.jpg trinamole

Most of us have faced cooking for one at some time or another.

Problem is, when you work long hours, you may be in no mood to come home and whip up a storm in the kitchen–for one person. But, you probably want to eat well and feel healthy too. It’s a bit of a catch-22!

If you live in the city, there’s also the problem of space, or lack of it, which may hamper things a little.So, what’s the solution?

Healthy eating for one: 3 tricks

1. Befriend your small space

Are you using the excuse that lack of space is preventing you from cooking?

If your kitchen is more “city” than “suburban”, check out the Tiny Kitchen video series at the New York Times, for observable proof that cooking in small spaces can be done.

2. Make your own packaged food

Forget about unhealthy store-bought packaged meals. When you get a bit of time, cook some meals that can be frozen in individual servings. Even if your freezer space is small, you should be able to keep a few meals in reserve.

The obvious options are soups, stews, casseroles, and curries. Even smoothies for breakfast can freeze well.

Your meals can then be defrosted, heated, and eaten in a jiffy later on.

3. Get a little creative

If you don’t like eating the same meal over and over, think about combining leftovers in different ways.

For example, you could convert leftover pasta into a frittata the following day, or add rice to last nights soup to change things up a little.

Or, if you’re into group meet-ups, cooking clubs might just be your thing. The idea being you cook larger portions and divide them up for each person in your group.

These groups are great for meeting new people, and everyone gets to sample something new. Is that something you’d consider trying?

I’d love to hear your tips on healthy eating for one: have you mastered the art? Do you find it challenging? Please do share your advice in the comments section below…


  1. Melanie | Dietriffic

    Hi Paolo,
    Simplifying things is an excellent idea. That makes cooking for one so much less daunting. Good point! Although, I’d say choose either pasta OR potatoes for one meal, not to have both together.

  2. Melanie | Dietriffic

    To be honest, I don’t know much about Amy’s — US brand I presume? But, most frozen packaged meals are a bit too high in salt, fat and also low in fibre, and the portions are often too small, so you’re not really satisfied afterwards.

  3. Melanie | Dietriffic

    Good idea to put a different veg in there. I love having meals like this just ready to heat and serve, otherwise it’s so tempting to just get a takeout, or have pizza, when you’ve had a busy day and don’t want to cook too much.

  4. Melanie | Dietriffic

    Hi Spectra,
    Yes, that’s a really good point. knowing how much produce you’ll need for the week is important. I find menu planning so helpful for this, and it also saves me money since I’m not making repeated trips to the supermarket, and then picking up things I don’t really need.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  5. Paolo Volpi

    I’m no gourmet cook, but I do consider myself a good cook. I find that the simpler the diet or meal, the healthier it is. Most think a meal has to be bulky, but just a simple serving will do just fine. Instead of having to cook steak, pasta, potatoes, and salad all in one meal, just have the steak and salad, and have the left overs for the next day for lunch. The following night have the pasta and potatoes for dinner. In this way, you still get your fair of proteins, carbs and veggies throughout the day.

  6. O.

    Unhealthy packaged meals?

    Even Amy’s frozen vegitarian meals?

    Awww, say it ain’t so! I love Amy’s.

  7. Kellie - My Health Software

    I am a fan of cooking up a large quantity of bolognese sauce and storing them in the freezer in containers.

    So you dont feel like you are eating the same meal, I add in different vegetables once I have thawed the sauce for a new flavour.

    It’s a great back up to have a meal ready to go at home. Just boil up some pasta and you have a tasty meal ready.

  8. Spectra

    Well, I don’t usually cook for one, but I have mastered the art of cooking for two, which can be just as difficult sometimes. I like to make casseroles that have a lot of veggies in them or a big pot of soup and split it up into individual containers and freeze them or put them in the fridge. I also know about how much produce I’ll use in a week’s time and I don’t buy any more than that at the store…that way, nothing goes bad before we eat it. Also, we buy a lot of rice, whole wheat pasta, canned tuna, etc…things that last a long time and don’t spoil easily. I buy meat when it’s on sale and freeze it until I’m ready to use it. I usually open the package up and divide the meat into smaller portion sizes and then wrap it up well and freeze it. It works pretty well and you end up using your meat and not throwing it out because it’s gone bad.