Why menu planning for one person is worthwhile
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.
So I'm pretty passionate about the topic and will constantly be adding to the tips and resources in the hope that you will find some form of menu planning that works for you.
For now some blog posts that may help
Guides on how to menu plan
Options based menu planning. Good for those who like choice and flexibility
My personal weekly menu plan
Each week I also share my personal menu plan. This is more comprehensive than the menu plans with shopping lists that I share each week. It normally includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. It varies a lot depending on what's happening in my week and what food trend is grabbing my interest at the time. It's not consistent, which is why I share a formal plan that might be helpful for others.
However if you are new to menu planning it can be good to see what other people are doing and 'live' examples. If you are willing to share your menu plan for the week, leave the details here, or hop over to our Cooking for One community page on Facebook.
My weekly menu plans can be found here.
I also share a round up of 'Meals I cooked' each week. Sometimes these match my menu plan, sometimes they don't! The purpose in sharing them, is to spark ideas and inspiration for your own menu plans. (It also keeps me eating well - there are only so many times one can share pictures of baked beans on toast before it becomes embarrassing!)
I'd love to see your weekly round up of meals. Pictures can be shared at our Cooking for one Facebook group or #dinnerdesperado on Instragram.