Cooking for one (with caveats)


This might end up being too specific, but perhaps there’s others in my position that might find it helpful.

Inspired by the Fitness & healthy living thread, I want to try and eat better (at home). I don’t always know when I’m going to be home in the evening so generally buy whatever I’m going to have that night on the way home. I’m single and live in a flatshare, so I’m only ever sorting myself out (MrBean.jpg). I’ll usually just end up getting a couple of supermarket pizzas, soups or ready meals that’ll do me for the couple of nights I might be home in the week. It’s getting boring though.

The problem with being in a flatshare is we’ve got hardly any space. There’s loads of articles like this one which basically involve stocking your larder with staples, buying loads of fresh stuff and batch cooking, which isn’t possible when you’ve got no freezer space, or if you’re going to be out for the next 4 nights whilst all your vegetables go bad.

So, I ask of you - are there any good ways of breaking out of the supermarket pizza cycle and cooking nice, one-off meals that won’t involve buying loads of veg that’s going to go bad if you don’t want to have the same Chili/Spaghetti Bolognese 4 nights in a row?


Any places you can pick loose fruit and veg (and a butcher if you’re on meat book) on your way from work to home?


Reduced veg could be a winner for you here too. Don’t have to buy large quantities and it sort of forces your hand to use it.


I’m in the same situation, think that prep time is the key.

A salad for the night then the next day can take me 45mins of constantly doing something rather than bunging a pizza is, but I think it’s worth it.

Other nights I’ll tend to do really simple, scrambled eggs, quick sandwich that kind of thing. Then once a week treat to a curry or whatever.

That Guardian article is complete bollocks, btw.


Tin of chickpeas, tin of tomatoes, random veg, stock cube, lump of chorizo if you want.

This would make three bowls of food which wouldn’t be too hard to store leftover.


Stir fries are good- most supermarkets have offers for all the bits fresh (although the sauce is normally full of sugar). Two servings but that’s lunch for the next day. Or a bag of frozen veg, some noodles and a bottle of soy sauce don’t take up loads or space and keep for ever and ever :slight_smile:


this is a really good thread idea - i did such an appalling job of feeding myself properly during the two months or so between my ex moving out and me moving back home, largely just because the whole rigmarole of prepping/cooking a meal for one person seemed like far too much faff.


If you can go to grocers rather than a supermarket, going back to a meat, a carb, and some veg approach works really well. I tend to do that most nights now - get some kind of meat that I can cook in a pan in about ten minutes, then serve it with potatoes/pasta/cous cous/rice, along with something green. Generally takes 15 minutes to do dinner as a result, and it doesn’t take much longer to do a small chilli/bolognaise/curry too.


Man I could really go for some caveats…


When I move I’m going to try and eat better, I really like Buddha bowls or poke bowls (not sure if they are the same thing). They seem like they would be easy to make, seem quite healthy abd just a tiny bit of teriyaki, sweet chill, satay goes a long way flavour wise


Any freezer space? I make up stuff like chillis, curries with rice and veg all included and do them in tubs. They microwave up fine. Same with pots of mashed potato which I can blast with some sausages or a steak done in a pan.


If you’re on meatbook: if timing is an issue (but you know you’re going to be home at some point in the eve), and you like the idea of bunging stuff in the oven, I’d experiment with some marinades. You can prep these in the morning, or the night before… Bung some veggies in to roast alongside, or just fluff up some cous cous, rice, salad, whatever, a 10 minute jobby, while your delicious juicy goods roast/fry away.


I’d been particularly bad for not making anything myself for these reasons (like making about 3 ok meals in several months), plus I find it generally miserable to cook for myself.

have started cooking from scratch again, since stopping making meat (have I mentioned this? I think I wrote this exact same post a few days ago). changing something about your diet arbitrarily might give you a bit more reason to bother. I dunno. normally cook enough to last at least two main meals, hopefully more.


Absolutely baffles me how people (who can afford to) spend less than about a tenner a day on food. Tried batch cooking but you need a pretty extensive pantry to start. Done bigshops but i go through the food a lot quicker. I properly watch the prices and get the stuff on offer, i just think it costs the average adult about £70 a week for food and that’s it and i should stop worrying about it.


that’s a crazy amount of money to spend on food


if you have some fridge and cupboard space that is. But then I do enjoy cooking and don’t have many other responsibilities so have time for it.


It’s not really when you think what meat or fish or other main ingredients of evening meals actually cost, is it, or when you put it over, say, four meals a day…


That’s why the lure of these always proves irresistible. £1.80, pack of prosciutto or sliced chorizo to pad it out a bit. Plus it gets me out of the shop quicker.


I reckon good advice for achievable varied meals is start browsing more recipe sites, particularly ones aimed at low skill/effort/cost. Often I just flick through BBC Good Food, quite a lot of recipes there on that don’t need loads of ingredients. Jack Monroe’s site is also great. And I guess scale down so you’re only making 2 portions, then you won’t get too bored of it, can just have for dinner and lunch the next day.


you don’t have to focus your main meals around expensive meat and fish every night, obviously.