All Women's Talk

9 Money-Saving Tricks for when You're Eating for One ...

By Eliza

There's no shame in eating alone. In fact, if you're solo, you can cook whatever you want, whenever you want. That being said, shopping for food can be a bit tricky since there aren't a whole ton of things you can buy in single servings. Fortunately, there are some ways you can save money, eat like a queen and enjoy some time to yourself. Put some dough back in your wallet with these ideas from

1 Browse Bulk Bins at the Store

Those transparent cases of nuts, seeds and rice aren’t just for granola-loving hippies. Clow recommends hitting up the bulk bins for staple products, which will be cheaper than packaged varieties. You can find rice, grains, dried fruits, flours and premade trail mixes. By using the food scale, you’ll be able to buy the exact amount of quinoa you’ll need for fiesta stuffed poblano peppers. No excess grains, no sweat!

2 Set up a Food Swap

Not into leftovers? Find a group of friends or coworkers and have everyone exchange their surplus meals after making a large recipe, says Clow. Everyone cooks once and gets to enjoy something new for lunch or dinner instead of chowing down on the same mushroom risotto for a whole week.

3 Outsource Willpower to Your Freezer

Healthy recipe creator and FitFoodieFinds blogger Lee Hersh makes a lot of food in her home, but she resists the temptation to inhale an entire tin of muffins by freezing any extra baked goods. “If they’re not on the counter, you won’t think about them,” she says. She also keeps healthy snacks like energy balls in the freezer so she doesn’t crave a bite every time she walks through her kitchen.

4 Order in — the Healthy Way

Fueled with dread every time you have to decide what to throw in your grocery cart each week? Take decision-making out of the equation with subscription delivery services that ship ingredients for healthy dinners right to your doorstep.

5 Portion Meats before Marinating

It can be tough to purchase meat in single-serving sizes. Hersh recommends putting a chicken breast or two (or your desired serving size) into Ziploc bags with your marinade of choice, write a label on the bag, then pop it in the freezer. “That way, you’re only defrosting what you need,” when you’re ready to start cooking, she says. You’ll have a flavorful single-serve dish ready when you need it.

6 Keep Your Kitchen Stocked with These Staples

Being prepared for anything is the first step in your recipe for healthier eating. Enter: Foolproof meals you can whip up easily when you come home exhausted after a hard day’s work. Clow suggests stocking up on “quick fix” items that can be easily assembled, like eggs, baked potato (ready in minutes if cooked in the microwave), canned tuna and chili. See the graphic below for more ideas.

Cooking for One: Grocery List
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7 Cook in Bulk, and Pencil in Prep Time

A little prep can go a long way. “On Sunday or Saturday, I lay out my recipe strategy," says Hersh. She’ll dedicate a few hours to making a batch of grains and protein, and she’ll also cook recipes that create three or four servings. During the week, she’ll eat the extra portions and use the protein in large salads, where she can dump extra produce that’s close to going bad in her fridge.

8 Look for Visual Cues before Tossing Produce

Got some spinach but not sure if it’s past its prime? If you see darkened leaves and bits of slime, remove those and only use the fresher-looking leaves, says Clow. You’ll minimize waste, which wills save you some money. Plus, you’ll be able to make more vegetable-packed entrees by adding spinach or kale to eggs, quesadillas or in foil fish packets.

9 Freeze Ripe Fruit

Don’t give up on that almost-too-ripe bag of peaches on your counter. If you see fruit getting a little too soft, cut it up and pop the slices in your freezer, says Hersh. They’ll add great texture — and nutrients — to your next protein smoothie. Keep in mind, frozen fruit should last over eight months in the freezer, but you’ll want to toss it if it’s becomes covered with ice and has a frostbitten look.

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