Living alone is the pinnacle of independence. You get to live your life as you wish and you only have to look after yourself. When you’re only looking after yourself, it actually becomes less challenging to work toward the things that you truly want in life.
But perhaps, the biggest advantage that those who live solo point out is that it makes growing your savings easier without compromising your quality of life.
There are so many opportunities for savings you become faced with when you live solo and they don’t necessarily make you feel like you’re depriving yourself at all. For example, when it comes to food, you can make sure that you’re eating well even with a more conservative budget for meals. All it really takes is careful planning, with a good heap of creativity gravy.
So, are you ready for delicious eats even if your meals are solo moments? Here are smart meal preparation tips for a table for one.
1. Create a weekly menu.
Most folks don’t bother with menu planning, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to make meals not only delicious and nutritious every time but also quick to make and very affordable.
When you lay out a weekly menu, you limit your groceries to food items that you will actually consume. Some ingredients may be a tad pricey, but you can be certain that they will not go to waste because you know how and when they’ll be prepared to satisfy your hunger.
2. Work with versatile ingredients.
Choose ingredients that you can recycle easily. This means that if you end up having leftovers, you won’t have trouble whipping them up into a tasty snack or soup, or adding them to the other recipes you’ll be using for the week.
For example, you have cauliflower that you plan to use for the Chinese stir-fry you’ve been craving; there are many ways that you can use its excess or leftovers. You can turn it into cauliflower rice, bake it with cheese as a snack, mash it as a side dish (definitely healthier and fancier than potatoes), or turn it into fritters that you can consume for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
3. Build a collection of herbs and spices.
Basil, sage, dill, rosemary, thyme, cayenne, cumin, turmeric, and other staple herbs not only transform basic recipes into restaurant-level delicious because they can enhance the flavor of other ingredients; they will also contribute to the overall nutritional value of the dish as these herbs and spices are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other healthy properties.
Small bottles of herbs and spices will last you a long time and they don’t even cost that much. Plus, they can also be used to make tea to complement your meals.
4. Keep your pantry and fridge stocked with the basic building blocks of meals.
Your pantry and fridge should be well stocked with ingredients that you frequently use for different recipes. These are eggs, deli meats, chicken stock, pasta, Spam, canned mushrooms, sardines, tuna, canned tomatoes, and soup mixes – all affordable items.
From all of these, you can quickly make a filling meal and most of them even have a long storage life. You can use them for countless weeks of menu planning. (See also: 8 Fatty Foods for Your Healthy Meal)
5. Follow a theme for menu planning.
Doing this will allow you to organize recipes effectively and efficiently. Likewise, following a theme can make mealtimes fun and interesting, and you’ll definitely enjoy researching recipes online.
6. Experiment with ingredients.
Purchase kale and see how many different ways you can cook it or pair it with other ingredients. It’s great for salads and green juice, and kale chips are pretty tasty as well. How about chopping it up and then cooking it with olive oil, shallots and cayenne pepper and topping it with egg and turkey bacon? Choose a new ingredient to experiment with every time you shop for groceries to make meals and preparation enjoyable and satisfying. After doing this for a while, you can be sure to get more mileage from the various ingredients you buy for your solo meals.
With these meal preparation tips, even if you live alone, eating well won’t be a problem. You’ll even gain a few more benefits such as good health, savings, and more joy out of your meals.
About The Author:
Hisham’s corporate career started in the UAE in late 1988; he worked for firms such as R.J. Reynolds, Danone Group, and Richemont Group across several countries in the GCC. He climbed up the ladder in roles and responsibilities to manage regions and businesses in the Middle East. In 2003, after 15 years of business experience, he took a leap of faith towards starting up something on his own. At almost 10 years in, the business has grown to cover 3 major markets with a turnover exceeding US$60 million. Hisham’s vision is to continue his regional expansion to the rest of the Middle East markets. http://www.horecatrade.com/