Living alone, whether by choice or the loss of a partner, can make meal planning and preparation seem hardly worth the effort. But it’s all too easy for single empty-nesters, widow and widowers to fall into bad dietary habits that can lead to health problems.
There are a few easy steps older adults living alone can take to help make meal preparation simple, economical and enjoyable while avoiding the pitfalls of too much take-out or skipping meals altogether.
If cooking too much is a problem for suddenly single adults try investing in some good storage containers or a vacuum sealer to immediately put away a couple of single servings for another time when cooking holds little interest. This way, growing weary of eating the same left-overs for a week won’t be a problem and there will be much less wasted food.
Frozen meals are often a staple for single seniors and while that option may be ok once in a while, they can often be high in sodium and contain more preservatives than fresh foods. Look for meals that don’t include rich sauces or marinades. Frozen fruit or vegetables can be a good alternative for single people to avoid throwing out fresh foods than may spoil before they are eaten.
Keeping the pantry stocked with healthy basics; eggs, whole grain pasta or rice, olive oil, lemon and herbs can help seniors to create quick and tasty meals with the addition of a lean protein like fish and a few fresh vegetables. There are also many meal services available today that deliver all the fresh ingredients for meals to prepare yourself. This might be a fun way to learn some new recipes and cooking techniques without buying large portions of items you may not use regularly.
Consider inviting other single friends over for a day of cooking. Together you can share favorite recipes and cook several meals for the month ahead to portion out and freeze. Something cooked by someone else always seems to taste better and it will be a welcome change of pace as well an opportunity to socialize.
Embracing cooking with a fresh attitude can also help make cooking more enjoyable. Consider taking a class with friends to reinvigorate a love of cooking; many cooking shops offer free classes that could inspire a new or healthier way to eat. Sometimes all it takes is a new kitchen gadget to kick-start an interest in preparing food. Make it fun; turn on the music, pour a glass of wine and give your inner chef a chance to blossom.
For recipes designed for people who are cooking solo, visit allrecipes by following this link.