Healthy Eating When Living Single

doterooDecember 28, 2010

I used to love to cook but it seems like too much trouble just for myself. I try to eat a good meal in a restaurant about once a week when I "go to town" but the rest of the time I find myself eating junk or things like chili and grilled cheese. I've thrown away a lot of bagged salad because I couldn't eat it before it went bad. I've tried freezer meals I've made myself and a few from the frozen food department that are full of salt. Nothing seems appealing. I'm low income so I can't afford to eat out often and I'm definitely not ready for meals on wheels. I would like to hear what other single seniors do about eating healthy.

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Not single, but have some suggestions. The biggest problem seems to be leftovers if a meal is fixed at home. I often shop per serving rather than per pound, but both need to be considered. I have the same trouble with bagged salad because DH rarely eats it.

Frozen vegetables in a bag allow you to have single servings of them. They taste better than canned IMO and don't contain salt. I use them because DH doesn't like many veggies, but I do. A pound bag of generic brand can be bought for about $1. There is no waste since I only take out the amount I want to eat.

Buy meats on sale and divvy them up prior to cooking. I have always done this whether cooking for one, 2 or more. I don't have a food saver, but I use press and seal for each serving, then put in a sealable freezer bag. I reuse the freezer bag which I have marked with beef, pork, etc. For chicken I usually buy a bulk bag of frozen breasts, I can take one out and leave the rest. Price per pound it could be cheaper to buy fresh, but this way I don't have to do the re-packaging for the freezer.

On occasions where I needed canned, like tomatoes, I ladle half of the can into a freezer bag, lay flat to freeze.

Since you used to enjoy cooking, be creative. Challenge yourself. Cooking fresh instead of making freezer meals, will help the appetite!

I have attached some of grainlady's advice because she is very economical. I can't eat grains, but her advice is good. You can also do a search on other posts she has made.

Here is a link that might be useful: grainlady advice

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 12:21PM
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yesican - There are some considerations which you didn't mention (aside from income); ie. any dietary restrictions, and/or available freezer and storage space.

I'm cooking for one and have no dietary restrictions, weight, cholesterol, or triglyceride issues. No financial restraints either, but none of that means I don't try to eat reasonably healthy, shop wisely, and waste as little as humanly possible.

I do have ample cabinet and pantry space, plus a good sized chest freezer in the basement, but I still won't stockpile more than I can go through in a reasonable amount of time - or before I get bored with it. I use coupons primarily from the local grocery stores - the national brands coupons from the Sunday papers are just too often things I don't buy anyway. The local stores always have pretty good "stock up" and in-store specials. The sodium notwithstanding, I like canned vegetables as well as fresh. I won't buy the bagged salad greens, but will get loose leaf when I can find small bundles since that works in sandwiches as well as just a salad.

If I have milk, a loaf of bread, tins of white albacore tuna, a carton of eggs, assorted fruit, juice, peanut butter, jelly, assorted yogurts, blueberries purchased on sale when in season, cheese (American singles are fine for grilled cheese and the wrapped slices don't get moldy), a few cans of assorted soups if I haven't made my own, rice, a few baking potatoes a cannister of oatmeal, box of Cream of Wheat, and shredded wheat, a can of coffee (and a spare) I'm fine.

Biggest problem with cooking for one is boredom. Luckily, I'm a universal eater and love, love, love leftovers. A small pork roast will make a good meal with potato and vegetable; a second day warm up meal in the microwave, then cold pork roast sandwiches. Same with a meatloaf. Ambitious and I'll buy a head of cabbage and make cabbage rolls - eat a meal, freeze the rest and sliver up the rest of the cabbage head close to the core and boil up with some vinegar for another nice vegetable. I always like to have the makings for chili on hand.

It took a bit of planning to discover my real eating habits and buy accordingly - I find now, I waste very little. If I want something sweet, I'll make a scratch batch of cookies and freeze some so I'll always have some on hand. If I want something savory, I'll make Chex mix and throw in whatever leftover walnuts or almonds or filberts I've got frozen. The Chex mix freezes well, too.

I do find it interesting when someone can go through 50 lb. bags of assorted grains, grind one's own flour, make bread, can the garden harvest... Many of us can't (or won't) do that, and wouldn't even make the attempt to.

This is neither here nor there - but I always try to set a place at the kitchen table, or sometimes in the diningroom, so I'm not eating my main early evening meal in front of the TV.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 4:16PM
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lots of good ideas thanks

    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 12:13AM
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I don't worry about eating healthy, doc said it is to late to consider that, "eat what you want". I am no longer building strong bones and body. The damage is done or not. Alas, another birthday tomorrow. If I can't die in my sleep I want to fall face first into a pizza. LOL

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 8:58PM
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You have a wise doctor. Much of my attitude is shaped because during my 20's I lived in an apartment building that was 95% elderly women. Too many people and their doctors have this problem that you should only strive to be healthy and live longer. Having seen a woman sobbing to her friend because her doctor decided that she needed to only eat over cooked veggies and little meat when she had no problem and loved raw veggies. I decided two things to save money for my older years and unless I have a true health problem like diabetes I would eat what I liked as long as I can. My wish is to fall face forward in a large hot fudge sundae with mounds of real whipped cream. Happy Birthday Vala55.

Some good suggestions on using portions for menu planning have been made but above all unless it causes you problems eat what you want.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 9:43PM
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maifleur, I really appreciate your reply. I am always been the odd one and some take offense or laugh at my opinions. The 80's were suppose to be remembered as the health decade, but it goes on and on and people are more brain washed and scared to do the things they like. It's my life and I will live it as I choose.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 11:49AM
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Maifleur, sorry I forgot to thank you for the birthday wish. I had a nice day, walked the mall, bought 4 new pair of slacks that do not need ironing....Yes!

Someone at The Gently Used Store asked me to volunteer to help. I said.....NO! I saw an iron back there. She laughed and said she won't touch the iron either, they have someone who comes and irons for them. LOL

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 2:29PM
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I have been single a very long time. I have learned over the years to cook at home without a lot of waste. I find one of the largest hurdles is cooking a good meal quickly. I have started writing a blog to share some meal plans as well as other useful living single ideas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pearl Cabin

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 4:11PM
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