Cooking for One: 5 Tips for Making Solo Meals

Dec 09, 2022

Man preparing food in the kitchen.

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If you live alone or will be alone for a while, you’ll find yourself crafting solo meals. This adventure is fun for those who like to cook. People who dislike putting their chef’s hat on may find it more burdensome than fun. You don’t need to be Gordon Ramsay to use these five tips for cooking for one. 

1. Compare Recipe Ingredients

The first step in cooking for one is to make a list of meals you want to cook. You can roll with your favorites, or you could find excuses to try something new. When finding recipes, you can save money by comparing the ingredients list and picking dishes that use similar items.

For example, say you buy a bag of potatoes. You may use a few to make mashed potatoes and have more left over. You could use the other potatoes to make dishes like gnocchi, baked potatoes, homemade French fries and more. This tactic benefits vegetables because you’ll need to use them quickly before they spoil.

2. Use the Freezer

If you’re cooking for one, your freezer will be your new best friend. You’ll only feed yourself, so you won’t run through your ingredients quickly unless you’re on a diet similar to the world’s strongest man. Your freezer is an excellent place to store meat, vegetables and other perishable food items you know you won’t be using for a few days. Bacteria stops growing in the freezer, so frozen food will last as long as needed. 

3. Try Meal Prepping

Living alone and cooking for one can feel like a chore. You may feel tired when you get home or don’t have enough time to prepare a meal. One solution for you could be meal prepping. This art of cooking produces a lot of food at once and splits up your creations into containers you can eat throughout the week.

The first step for smart meal prepping is to get a set of containers. Invest in an assortment of glass containers because they’ll keep your food fresh for longer. You could find use in a food scale to weigh your ingredients and get the exact measurements down.

Some people don’t like meal prepping because they don’t want to eat the same thing repeatedly. One way to mitigate this is to take a basic meal idea and separate it into different batches. For example, say you’re cooking chicken and rice as your base. You could make an Asian-inspired meal with teriyaki sauce and stir fry vegetables for one batch. You could add beans, salsa and cilantro in another section for a Southwest flair.

4. Buy Items in Bulk

Another shopping tip that helps solo chefs is to buy non-perishable items in bulk. This strategy saves money instead of getting solo servings from the grocery store. Consider going to a buy-in-bulk store like Costco or Sam’s Club. You can purchase large containers of foods you often eat, such as rice, dry pasta and beans. Buying in bulk means you’ll reduce the number of trips to the store and save money in the long run.   

5. Smartly Buy Produce

Produce can be a challenge if you’re cooking for one. You want to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your meals, but you’re afraid they’ll spoil because you’ll forget to use them or you won’t eat enough before they expire. One solution is to be smart when buying produce at the store.

As mentioned above, your freeze will be your best friend. For frozen vegetables, you can stock up on as many as you’d like because they won’t expire as fast as they may in the fridge. You may prefer some fresh vegetables instead of frozen ones. These could be onions, peppers and more. If you buy them fresh, purchase them in small quantities shortly before you use them, ensuring they’ll still be fresh when you cook. 

Cooking for One: A Fun Culinary Adventure

Living alone for a while can be an adventure. You’ll have to do the cooking, but one perk is you get to decide what you want to eat and when you want to eat it. Put your MasterChef hat on and follow these five tips for cooking for one.

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Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.