Menu Planning For One
Menu planning is such a funny topic - some people love it, others hate knowing what they will be eating for the week.
However, I think if you are regularly cooking for one person, in order to eat a well balanced diet and not spend a fortune throwing out a lot of wasted ingredients or eat a lot of the same thing each night, menu planning is an important habit to develop.
I actually think it is hard to eat nutritious, economical and most of all appetising and easy to cook meals for one. I know this, because my kitchen is littered with half used tins of tomatoes, or tins of chickpeas, limp broccoli and the mouldy sour cream I needed a tablespoon of 3 weeks ago for the Beef Stroganoff I had a craving for.
That, and I've wasted hours of my life in the supermarket with my eyes darting between the whole bunch of Spring Onions that cost $1.90 and the half a bunch that cost $1.50. I get so frustrated at the seeming unfairness of it - the whole bunch is so much more economical, but it's tough for one person to use a whole bunch. So when you factor in what you are likely to throw out, it's probably more economical to buy the half bunch. (BUT it's only 40 cents less than the WHOLE bunch!) But I only need 1 spring onion!
Menu Planning for One
My answer is menu plans! And sharing those, so that everyone can get out of the supermarket quicker.
Ingredient swaps, tips and time saving hacks
I'm a big believer in spending a bit more time in the kitchen one day or one evening to do the meal prep that will make cooking quicker and easier on other nights. For example if you are peeling and chopping vegetables for one meal, it doesn't take a lot more effort, to peel and chop vegetables that you know you will need in a day or two. This way you've added a little to your time in the kitchen, but saved a lot of time for the future.
You don't need to read too far in this blog to realise I am pretty obsessed with trying to meet my 'vegetable quota' for the week and having a varied number of vegetables in my diet each week. I am an avid reader of all those '5 & 2' studies, about how it is recommended that for optimal health we need to be eating at least 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit a day. So each week I try and count up the number of 'serves' of vegetables in each menu plan - as well as suggest ways of adding in extra vegetables.
In fact a lot of the reason I cook a lot for myself vs use a meal delivery service is that having tried a couple - other than being very expensive for one person, they are pretty light on the number of serves of vegetables they include.