Cooking for one person – Creating Healthy Whole Foods Meals

As I mentioned before, I love to cook but cooking for one person seems like a lot of work. You have to haul out the bowls and the pans. The utensils, the cutting board, and the dishes. Not to mention the shopping and clean up! All for that one meal. But the good news is that I’ve been experimenting in my kitchen. I’ve been creating some tasty and healthy whole foods meals to share with you. I’ve also come up with some easy cooking hacks, tips and ideas to make meal preparation a little bit easier and more efficient.

What Is A Whole Foods Diet?

So what is a whole foods diet, exactly?  Well, that’s sort of a loaded question. The first thing I would like to point out is that what I’m referring to when I say “diet” is not what is commonly thought of a traditional dieting (i.e. weight loss diet plan). What I’m talking about is a healthier way of eating. (And if you do lose a little weight then all the better, right?!?) The second thing I’ll say is that there are a number of definitions out there. Many vegetarians see their choices as being the true whole foods diet, while vegans (including raw vegans, fruitarians, juicearians, sproutairians, etc) feel that THEIR choices are the correct ones. These are all great options and I have deep respect for those who desire, for whatever reason, to remove meat or animals products from their diets but what I’m referring to is a more general description. More of a goal, really, as opposed to a specific plan. I’m concentrating on avoiding processed foods in favor of using fresh foods, or foods in their natural state if you prefer.

Fresh Foods vs Processed Foods

The term fresh food means, once again, different things to different people. If we wanted to be literal about this, we would go to the hen house every morning to gather eggs. Then we would head to the barn to milk Bessy so we could churn the butter for bread made from the flour we milled after harvesting the wheat in our own back yard. I, personally, don’t want to wait that long for breakfast so I’m in favor of using a meter, of sorts, that rates food from red to green. From Very Bad (Is there anything in this that isn’t chemicals?) to Sainthood (Why, yes, I do maintain an organic, totally self-sufficient, plant based household). I simply aim for something in the green(ish) section.

In all seriousness, acquiring fresh food is easier than ever. Most of us are no longer at the mercy of growing seasons, weather or the proximity to others who are willing to barter foodstuffs. In regard to fresh foods vs processed foods, I am simply referring to foods that are in their natural state vs foods that have been modified in some way to make them ready to eat or easier to prepare. Think a fresh potato instead of boxed potato flakes. Really it’s that simple.

If you do want to take things a step further (and sometimes I do), the movement to purchase locally grown or raised products is gaining serious traction. You could google local farms (or farmers markets), check in your local newspaper or peruse the community bulletin board. I have discovered that most local merchants are happy to direct you to another one if they don’t have what you need. And think of all the cool people you’ll meet.

Is Eating Meat Healthy?

Is eating meat bad? Is eating meat healthy? The debate is never ending and certainly not one that I could possibly settle. There is one thing that I DO know…many experts agree that meat can be a part of a whole foods meal plan. Keep in mind that this not a specific eating plan but more of a guideline. Fresh and unprocessed is the key (sorry chicken nuggets). Based on that train of thought, some will even argue that fresh meat is more compatible to a whole foods diet than the processed vegan alternatives.

Shopping For Whole Foods

Now that we’ve had this chat, you’re ready to jump right in and work up a healthy eating plan, right? Unfortunately, creating healthy meals is a “no-go” if you don’t have the proper ingredients. The first thing you’re going to want to do is go shopping for whole foods. I’m not going to tell you what to buy because I think we’ve already covered that. And we all have different tastes. I love Brussels sprouts, for example, but my best friend gags at the mere sight of them. No, my advice is simple.  Shop the perimeter of the store because that’s were all the good stuff is. Close your eyes and picture taking a walk around the (inside) outer limits of your local supermarket. That’s where you’ll find fresh produce, seafood, meat and dairy.

Shopping for one person is trickier than shopping for a group so the first thing you’re going to want to do is decide what you’re going to cook in the upcoming week and use that to make a list. If you’re feeling stuck, I have posted some of my favorite recipes in the Let’s Get Cooking! tab on my home page. There are a few aisles you may want to hit but if you have a plan you won’t waste your time wandering aimlessly and (probably) buying things you didn’t intend to buy.

Ready?

I’ll be adding a few recipes each week under the Let’s Get Cooking! tab on my homepage. I’ll do my best to categorize them but my idea of evening food might be different from yours (breakfast for supper, anyone?) so feel free to look around to see what’s there.

I’ll also be including those aforementioned cooking hacks, tips and ideas. Any that pertain to a particular recipe will be included in that post but I will also be writing posts about some ideas I’ve come up with. Please come back often to see what’s new!

This is a journey and I hope you’ll join me. I look forward to seeing your ideas and recipes, either in the comment section below or by email.

So, are we ready?

Let’s Get Cooking!

Cynthia

cynthia@cynthiaeats.com

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6 Replies to “Cooking for one person – Creating Healthy Whole Foods Meals”

  1. Great post!
    I usually prepare meals for one person and it can be a lot of work.
    But it can be fun to experiment too with different foods at home.
    Now I do a lot of food prepping at home so that I am able to have healthy and fresh foods consistently in my diet.
    I always make a list before going into the grocery store so I know what I am buying.
    I almost always go for the fresh food options but also have been able to buy frozen organic food and have it turn out really good.
    I look forward to learning more cooking hacks and tips in your future posts.
    Thanks for all the helpful information!

    1. It looks like you have a pretty good handle on this! I’ll keep posting and I’ll look forward to your input as well. Things are always better when we help each other <3

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