Eating Healthier (and Cheaper!) For One

Eating Healthier (and Cheaper!) For One

Recently, I have discovered unfamiliar territory: eating for one. For most of my adult life, I have had to grocery shop for a family and cook for a family. So this change in habit has so far caused me two problems; I eat completely differently than I once did, and I am throwing away a lot of food.

mini Beef Wellington

Credit Image: qwrrty on Flickr

The first problem is that I find it easier (and cheaper) to buy pre-made convenience products. For example, it costs $2.49 to buy a frozen burrito, but if I bought the ingredients to make one, I would need to spend $2.99 on the bag of tortillas, $0.99 for the can of beans, $2.99 for a bag of cheese (or $5.00 for the block since I never buy bagged cheese, tastes terrible), $0.99 for an onion, plus a few extra dollars if I put in any fresh herbs. If I buy the ingredients, I would get about two to three burritos instead of one, but I only eat one at a time and don't like eating the same meal three days in a row.

The second problem is if I do buy the ingredients, I only use half and the other half gets tossed because it goes bad. I don't need an entire head of lettuce, or a full block of cheese, or three chicken breasts. After seeing these problems I've had, I realized that many others probably have these struggles, too, and are looking for solutions.

Because really, no one should be living on frozen entrees, we need fresh foods. So how do you eat healthy, fresh food without tossing half of it away and save money in the process?

I have come up with a few tips that have helped me learn to eat for one:

  • PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!If you plan out your weekly meals, choose meals that use similar ingredients but aren't the same meal. If you need to buy fresh herbs for a dish, think of different meals that use those herbs. You can do this for meat and vegetables, as well. For example, if you want to make a peanut chicken with noodles and broccoli, you could do something like this ...
  • Day 1: Peanut chicken w/ noodles and broccoli
  • Day 2: Broccoli soup w/ peanut butter, apples and crackers
  • Day 3: Chicken pot pie with broccoli (or a noodle casserole)
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