Cooking for One Tips To Eat Healthy & Save Money

Is cooking for one a challenge? We can help with 10 easy cooking for one tips for eating healthy and saving money. Aso included are hundreds of the best tasting single serving recipes for breakfast, dinner and dessert, meal plans and recipe videos.

Cooking for One Tips - Whether you live alone, you're a parent that wants to indulge while the kids enjoy their favorites, or you have a partner who travels, you're sure to find these simple tips for cooking for one and tasty recipes helpful. | One Dish Kitchen

Whether you live alone, you’re a parent that wants to indulge while the kids enjoy their favorites, or you have a partner who travels, you’re sure to find these simple cooking for one tips and tasty recipes helpful.

Recipes For One

So many recipes serve 4 or more people and for so many of us, that is just too much food. It’s no fun to cook a meal and then eat the same leftovers for days.

Some recipes can be halved and some portions can be frozen for later use, but sometimes you just have to get creative in the kitchen. To me, that’s where the fun begins.

Here at One Dish Kitchen, this is what we do. We take favorite recipes and scale down the ingredients so that they are the perfect recipe to serve one person.

Sometimes this is a fairly easy process and sometimes it will take us a number of tries to get the flavors right. In the end, you can be assured that all of our recipes are well-tested and absolutely delicious!

RELATED: Comfort Food Recipes For One

Sure, you’ve no doubt seen the millions of mug cakes and recipes for pizza on pita bread circulating the internet but that isn’t really cooking, is it?

Even though those simple recipes may be tasty, a good home-cooked dinner for one or dessert for one is what so many solo cooks are after.

Many people enjoy the process of cooking. Slowing down to chop vegetables and stir sauce can actually be quite therapeutic. Enjoy a glass of wine, crank up the volume on the radio and the whole solo cooking experience can actually be very enjoyable.

My best tip for those cooking for only themselves is to not be afraid to experiment. Think about the foods and ingredients you love and try to come up with ways to put them together. Hopefully these “cooking for one” tips and recipes will help inspire you.

RELATED: 40 Easy Recipes For College Students

Cooking for yourself isn’t complicated and over the years I’ve found a some cooking for one tips that might help you along the way. Here are a few tips to get you started:

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10 Cooking for One Tips

Cooking For One Tip #1: Plan Your Grocery Shopping

The first cooking for one tip is planning your meals for the week.  Planning your meals can take a lot of stress out of preparing dishes for just one person. Plan your meals around a single protein or around similar ingredients so food isn’t wasted. For example, roast a chicken or pork tenderloin in the oven and use the remainder in other recipes during the week.

RELATED: 20 Meatless Meals For One

Cooking For One Tip #2:  Shop your pantry and refrigerator

Before you head to the store, look through your refrigerator and pantry. Take stock of what you already have so you don’t purchase the same item again.

Cooking For One Tip #3: Stock up on staples

Keep your pantry filled with canned beans, cans of diced tomatoes, rice, pasta, chicken broth and spices. Dried or canned beans, dried lentils and rice keep for a very long time. Consider purchasing extra cans of beans when you find them on sale.

You might also think about purchasing larger, often less expensive bags of rice to have on hand when you want to put a meal together quickly.

Also, make sure you have plenty of eggs, milk and cheese in your fridge. By combining a few ingredients you already have on hand, you can create a delicious meal.

RELATED: 15 Easy Dessert Recipes For One

Cooking For One Tip #4: Shop the bulk bin aisle in the grocery

Buying your spices from the bulk aisles in the grocery store can save you lots of money. By measuring out exactly what you need and paying for a small amount, you will not be left with jars of partially used spices in your pantry. Purchasing spices this way also allows you to try a spice that you wouldn’t normally buy.

Also look for grains, pasta and nuts in the bulk bin aisle. Buy the amount you need instead of larger packaged bags.

Cooking for One Tips | One Dish Kitchen | Bulk Spices | onedishkitchen.com

RELATED: Empty Nest Recipe Ideas

Cooking For One Tip #5: Experiment

Don’t be afraid to experiment in the kitchen. Combining ingredients you love through experimentation is probably the easiest way to learn how to cook.

Roast asparagus or broccoli in the oven and add it to your favorite cooked pasta along with butter and grated parmesan.

Or, what about using a baked potato as a base and filling it with chili, cheese and sour cream.

RELATED: 20 Breakfast Recipes For One

Cooking For One Tip #6: Ask to purchase meats, cheeses and seafood in smaller quantities

Instead of buying pre-packaged meat, cheese or seafood, buy from the deli, meat, or seafood counters. Ask to purchase the exact amount you need. If it only comes in large packs, you can usually take it to the meat or seafood counter and ask them to repackage it into a smaller amount.

Cooking For One Tip #7: Visit the salad bars at grocery stores to buy small amounts of the ingredients you might need.

Cooking For One Tip #8: Don’t forget dessert

Be sure to allow yourself the wonderful pleasure of indulging in a little something sweet after your meal. Some desserts can be made in minutes plus desserts made for just one are a wonderful form of portion control.

RELATED: How To Cook Small Meals In A Large Slow Cooker

Cooking For One Tip #9: Make weekends your “Use It Up Weekend”

Try to use up all of the produce you might have leftover from other meals you made during the week. A Veggie Scramble is a great meal for breakfast and can be made with extra vegetables.

Leftover carrots and other vegetables can also easily be added to soups and pasta dishes.

You can use any extra cheese you have for snacking, on sandwiches, shredded over scrambled eggs, cubed in salads or stirred into pasta.

Cooking For One Tip #10: Consider using meal plans

Meal plans can help plan, prepare and enjoy meal time. Here at One Dish Kitchen, we have created several meal plans that serve one person.

These weekly plans include single serving recipes, a grocery list and cooking tips.

These are ideal for anyone cooking for one or two people and are designed for people who live on their own, a parent who wants to indulge themselves while their kids have their favorites, couples that can’t agree on what they want for dinner or caregivers providing meals to a parent or friend.

You can check out our meal plans HERE.

The best cooking for one tip I have is that when you are preparing meals, take the time for yourself to make each meal enjoyable.

Here at One Dish Kitchen, you will find familiar and new recipe ideas that have been developed and tested so they offer exactly what you want in single-serving sizes.

In addition to these cooking for one tips, check out our latest Recipes for One and some of our popular categories:
Dessert for One
Dinner for One
Breakfast for One

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Cooking For One Fun Fact

The number of single person households in the U.S. is over 35 million and is growing every year (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016). The majority of folks who live on their own have difficulty finding single serving recipes.

Let’s face it, the thought of making a casserole which will leave you with leftovers for days isn’t all that appealing.

Reference Entry:

U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplements, 1960 to 2016. https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/visualizations/time-series/demo/families-and-households/hh-4.pdf

33 thoughts on “Cooking for One Tips To Eat Healthy & Save Money”

  1. I love Vanilla Pudding. It has a unique taste and flavor. My children’s are also fond of it. It could be a great menu for evening snacks. Anyway, thanks a lot for sharing this article with us.

  2. I like how you mentioned that the first step of cooking for one is planning your meals for the week so that you can make sure you have all the ingredients that you need. I live alone, and it’s often hard to find meals that I can cook for one person.The next time I make a meal for myself, I will definitely keep your great cooking tips in mind!

  3. Hi there, I must say after spending a ton of time on pinterest looking for post-baby freezer meal prep recipes I am so thankful I came across your website! It is all here. Thanks for the variety of healthy freezer and regular meal prep ideas. I want to try them all!!

  4. I am so. Happy to have found you. As a very recent widow, I have spent the last month eating strangely and not too healthy as I had lost my appitite, but made a menu and went shopping today. I love your recipes!

  5. My husband passed a few months ago, he loved to eat, and starting to cook for one was very hard for me. I was eating out but found it saddened me too much to eat out alone Then I saw your recipes and thought I would try a few, the risotto, Minestrone soup and the fried rice were all excellent. I have printed up several more of your recipes and I am anxious to try them. Thank you so much for having this information.

    1. Hi Janet,
      I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for your kind note, I am so happy you found our site and have been able to enjoy a few of the recipes. Hopefully you will find many more recipes to try. If you have a favorite dish that you would like to see scaled down to a smaller serving, please let me know.
      Have a wonderful week.
      Joanie

  6. I’ve been a widow for a year now and my eating habits have been a rollercoaster. I started eating healthier in the last two months, but have been in a rut so I am really looking forward to trying your recipes.

  7. Thank goodness for your site. After having 4 kids it was hard to cut down cooking all that food. Left overs left overs yukkk…I have found out that your recipes are perfect for my husband and me. Just enough and NO LEFT OVERS……Even I’m gluten sensitive I can adjust and substitute GF ingredients. Thank you

    1. Thank you so much for reaching out to let me know you are enjoying the recipes, Nancy. Comments like yours mean the world to me and I’m so happy you are enjoying the recipes and adapting them so they work for you and your husband.

      Have a great week!
      Joanie

  8. Joanie,

    I’ll look forward to a few of your recipes adapted for the microwave! I’m sure a few other of your readers would like that too! I also have osteoporosis, AND i’m lactose intolerant, so while dairy products are wonderful sources of calcium, and I love them, I have to be careful about eating them. I wonder about substitutions sometimes.

    Thanks,
    Doris

  9. Joanie,

    I’m looking forward to trying many of your recipes. Cookbooks with recipes that serve 4 or 6 are ridiculous when you live alone. I’ve experimented with cutting them down but it doesn’t seem to work. Especially as I don’t really enjoy cooking to start with.

    May I make a suggestion that I think would help a lot of us who cook only for ourselves? Could you make alternate cooking suggestions for cooking in the microwave, please? I know that wouldn’t work for all your recipes, but it would for a lot of them. I don’t want fancy, I want things I can prep quickly, cook quickly, and eat with pleasure. I’ve been printing out many of your recipes, hoping I can make them work this way. Please help those of us who’d like to cook at least some stage of your recipes in the microwave!

    Thanks so much for focusing on those of us who want to cook for one!

    Doris

    1. Hi Doris,

      I’m so glad you found our site and hope you find many recipes that you love. Thank you for your suggestion to add microwave cooking times and instructions to some of our recipes. I’m sure that would be a benefit to many people. We’ll see what we can do.
      Thank you again and have a wonderful weekend!
      Joanie

  10. Thanks Joanie. I check your site most days. Although I have been a one for more years than you have probably been alive. I still have difficulty occasionally — especially with the meal planning. I should do that and I just look and grab.

    Glad you are around!!

  11. Absolutely love your site. Have been looking for one person websites. Your’s is the best.

    Thanks for all that you do.

    1. Hi Donna, thank you so much for letting me know you are enjoying the recipes. If you have a recipe that you’d like to see scaled down to a single serving version, please let us know and we’ll try to work on it for you. Have a wonderful day!

  12. Lucinda Schmucker

    I really enjoy reading your website and trying some of your recipes. Have you published a print cookbook. I haven’t found mention of one. I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Just sent the link for busy college girl recipes to my granddaughter. Hope she’ll try some them. Thanks so much for this great resource.

    1. Hi Lucinda, I’m so happy you are enjoying the recipes and thank you so much for sending a link to the recipes to your granddaughter! I hope she finds a few recipes that she loves. We are currently working on our cookbook and hope to have it published soon. I’ll keep you posted. Have a wonderful weekend!

  13. This is a great site and so are your recipes! I do enjoy cooking and recipes that serve 4-6 just aren’t easy to cut down to 1-2. I hate to make more just in case I don’t like it! Your site has saved me. Great recipes, healthy food, and just the right amount! Thanks!!

  14. Thank you do very much for these recipes for one! I’ve been single for 8 years now after cooking for a family or hungry husband. Truth be told I refuse to cook for one. Up to now that is. I do love to cook but not have 3 or more leftover meals from one. I am looking forward to actually cooking great meals my two cats will fight me for! 🙂

  15. I just found your site and I’m looking forward to the emails. I really need the recipes and tips. Thanks for onedishkitchen.

  16. Chris Fisher Williams

    Love your site and recipes. Am a recent widow so cooking for one is not easy to do at this time in my life, but you are a lifesaver. Eating way better now then in the past. Thank you.

  17. This is what I have been looking for! I have lived alone most of my adult life. It has been a struggle to try and balance healthy cooking and convenience. I have relied so much on convenience because it was always so difficult and uninspiring to make a recipe for 4 or more and eat on the leftovers. I have tried meal box services, CSA half-share or just going to the farm market for what I need. Yet I end up wasting hundreds of dollars of food and produce. Thank you for finally doing the work! Now I will have single serve recipes to try.

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