- Cook things separately. When you make that pasta recipe (like these slimming dishes from SELF!), rather than mix all of the pasta and sauce together, just mix together the amount you want on your plate. Then store the leftovers separately. That way, instead of just having one pasta dish to eat on the rest of the week, you can mix and match the sauce and the pasta with other items to create new meals. For example, you might want to use the sauce on a pizza or serve it over chicken or fish. While you could toss the leftover pasta into a salad, soup, or serve it with a new sauce.
- Cook a basic protein in bulk. The one thing you may want to make in bulk at the beginning of the week is a basic protein, whether it be grilled chicken or hard-boiled eggs. Keep it pretty simple (rather than marinating the chicken in an Asian sauce, just brush with olive oil, salt, and pepper). This way it can take on new flavors so you can serve it in a greater variety of ways--on top of salads, in sandwiches, or on wraps, or even use in a casserole or stew.
- Shop strategically. Obviously, if you are cooking for one, you won't want to buy things in bulk that will spoil easily. Instead take advantage of things that let you buy only the amount you need. In fresh produce, just buy one or two apples or carrots versus a whole bag and don't be afraid to ask for a single chicken breast or fish fillet at the meat counter. Buy smaller amounts of cheese in the deli and look for half loaves of bread. You can even visit the bulk section to get small amounts of things like cereals, nuts, dried fruit, and oatmeal.
- Think outside the box for recipes. Don't think a dinner for one has to be the traditional meat, starch, and veggie formula. For a perfect dinner for one, and something a little different, try breakfast for dinner. An omelet made with eggs and fresh veggies with fresh fruit and a piece of whole-wheat toast on the side makes a great balanced meal for one. Another great option is baking a potato in the microwave and topping it with leftover chicken, a little cheese, and some salsa and serving it with a salad on the side. One of my favorite meals to make for one is homemade pizza. I use a whole wheat pita and top it with marinara sauce, cheese, and veggies and pop it in the oven at 350Â°F until the cheese melts. On the side, I will have some raw veggies or fresh fruit. You can also turn a small can of tuna or salmon into a meal for one by tossing it with a single-serving container of brown rice and a single-serving packet of frozen steamer veggies or using it to top a salad or wrap. While all of SELF's Drop 10 program's recipes are easily doubled or quadrupled, they are written with a single-eater in mind, so they are great if you are looking for more new meal ideas to try.
And last, but not least, remember, even if you are dining alone, take time to savor your meal. Turn off the TV, serve your meal on a nice plate, and sit down to enjoy every bite!