A woman sautés vegetables and chicken at a stove. A meal planning journal and containers of prepared food are beside her.

Meal Planning for One

Whether you live alone or work alone, meal planning for one can be difficult. Add diabetes to the equation and there is much more thought that needs to go into each grocery trip and dinner plan.

Avoiding planning can lead to poor choices from being overly hungry when mealtime rolls around. I have had many conversations with widows or work-at-home people that find it difficult to cook for just one person. Whether it is because they don’t want too many leftovers, or they just don’t feel interested in cooking, this can lead to frequent fast food runs for an easy, warm meal.

While fast food isn’t always a bad choice, eating it too often can lead to high sodium and saturated fat levels in the diet. Especially when living with diabetes, it is beneficial to take the time to plan out the week’s meals to ensure you are getting the right nutrients as well as maintaining optimal blood glucose levels.

4 tips for healthy eating when cooking for one

Here are some tips on keeping up with healthy eating when you are cooking for one.

1. Make a meal schedule and grocery list.

Set a goal that once a week you sit down and think about the week ahead. Will you be eating at home each day or night? Will you meet anyone for a meal? This will help you decide what and how much to buy at the grocery store.

2. Freeze your favorites

Soups and casseroles are freezer-friendly meals. If you have a favorite, make a large batch and then freeze individual servings that will be easy to grab and heat up for a quick lunch or dinner.

Load them up with plenty of vegetables and portion your size out early so you know exactly how many carbohydrates you are consuming, making it a little easier to try and keep those blood glucose levels within range. Frozen bags of vegetables are also a great, easy way to add some nutrients and fiber to your meal. Cook per directed on package and enjoy!

3. Have a roasting day

One of my favorite things to do is choose a vegetable, or medley of vegetables, and roast them in a large quantity to warm up and have with lunch throughout the week. Some of my very favorite vegetables to roast are butternut squash, sweet potato, cauliflower, and broccoli.

They make a great addition to salads or vegetable bowls, or just a side to your favorite protein. Preheat your oven to 400°F, chop your vegetables to your liking, season with a small amount of cumin, pepper, and or salt, and bake for 20-40 minutes or until vegetables are slightly browned and tender.

4. Opt for convenience

Grab a rotisserie chicken on your weekly grocery run. When you get home shred it into a large bowl to keep in your refrigerator. Throughout the week you can take it out and add it to your favorite salads, sandwiches, or soups. The protein will keep you full and satisfied and away from those fast-food stops.

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