Cooking for One (or Two)

This is one of my all time favorite Ask the Dietitian questions:

Question: I live by myself and it is hard cooking healthy for one because it is much easier just to throw something quick in the microwave and be done. What do you suggest for eating healthy and losing weight?

What a great question! My single friends and I discuss the difficulty of cooking for one all the time.

Preparing healthy food for one can be a challenge but it can be a blessing. My grandma always tells me I should enjoy cooking for one. I can pick what I want to eat and I don't have to wash a lot of dishes. Sometimes it can seem like preparing healthy food for one can also be more expensive. One of my professors in graduate school changed my mind on that topic. She said taking the time and money to eat healthy was an investment in the future of my health. I could pay for healthy food now or pay for medical bills and prescriptions later.

Now, on to the suggestions. Here is a list of my top 3 Favorite Single Gal Appliances:

1. My $15 Rice Cooker. This thing is amazing. You can cook rice, pasta, grains on the bottom while steaming vegetable and meat/seafood on the top. I can easily prepare a balanced meal in 15-20 minutes and all the pieces are microwave safe.

2. My Slow Cooker. Slow Cookers have come a long way in their technology and can make some pretty delicious meals. I am notorious for making a vegetable soup or stew on Sunday afternoon and then adding new ingredients each night for a little variety. Try adding diced chicken and rice or black beans and ham.

3. Toaster oven. How about individual veggie pizzas that are hot and crispy in 10 minutes? Use pita bread or Flat Outs and top with pizza sauce, tons of fresh veggies, lean ham and some low-fat mozzarella. Toast it up in the oven for a fast and healthy pizza.

Some other great ideas are to include batch cooking on the weekend or a slow weeknight. I love to make Market Street Healthy Turkey Meatballs (http://www.unitedtexas.com/familymeals/recipes/HealthyTurkeyMeatballs.pdf) and use them throughout the week. I'll add some marinara and eat them on whole wheat hoagies or slice them up with vegetables and rice or drop them in a can of low-sodium vegetable soup. The possibilities are endless.

If you are looking for some cook books, here are some great options:
EatingWell Serves Two: 150 Healthy in a Hurry Suppers
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