Planning meals for one can be more complex than for a family of four, but the effort pays off – you’ll save both time and money in the end!
Meal planning can also help you reduce food waste and make following a nutritious diet more effortless. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
Make a grocery list.
If you’re new to living alone or feeling overwhelmed with grocery shopping, creating an organized list can make the experience less stressful and ensure that you purchase only what necessary – avoiding impulse buying or food waste. It will keep you on track for less stress during grocery shopping and ensure you buy only what necessary.
Start by compiling a running list of staples (see Step 1), your weekly meal plan and recipes into one master grocery list. Make sure this includes sections for each food group in the supermarket: produce items, bulk foods, bakery goods, deli/meat/poultry products, frozen items, dry goods dairy goods beverages and home goods.
For each category on your list, only include items necessary for a particular recipe. You may also include any pantry items or unused ingredients from past meals you might need in future, such as spices and baking essentials.
Create a separate list for non-food items like toilet paper and cleaning supplies. While these may be more pricey than other items on your list, they’re essential to have in any kitchen.
Grocery stores often provide loyalty cards for free or discounted groceries, so be sure to remember this when creating your list. Additionally, attach coupons or sales fliers so that you don’t miss out on great deals.
Making a list of what you need for the week ahead can make grocery shopping much smoother and efficient. Plus, it reduces the likelihood that you’ll forget something or overspend on unnecessary items.
Once you’ve created your grocery list, keep it straightforward and user-friendly. If unsure how best to organize it, experiment with different formats to see which works best for you.
Another great tip for single people is stocking up on pantry essentials like rice, oats and pasta in bulk. Not only does this save you money but it reduces food waste as these items can easily be stored in your freezer and used when needed.
Make a meal plan.
A meal plan is one of the most useful tools you can provide your clients to help them meet their nutritional objectives. Not only does it save them time and money, but it also ensures they eat more nutritious meals than they would on their own.
A successful meal plan should be simple to create and tailored to each client’s individual requirements. Begin by conducting an in-depth assessment of your client’s food preferences, lifestyle and health objectives. Once you have all this information, it’s time to craft a personalized meal plan just for them!
Create a weekly meal plan. Doing this makes it simpler than trying to plan out all of your meals at once, and it will help your client stay within budget.
Once you’ve created your weekly meal plan, it’s time to create a grocery list. Doing this will save your client both time and money, helping them avoid running out of ingredients.
When creating your grocery list, opt for items that are fresh, frozen and shelf-stable. Stock up on fruits and veggies as well as protein-rich meats and dairy products so your client has plenty of options throughout the week.
If you are cooking for one person, it is especially essential to plan ahead for leftovers. Most recipes serve more than four people, so unless you take the time to half or quarter each recipe, you could end up with an abundance of dishes at the end of the week.
To make repurposing leftovers into new meals a snap, you need to find a meal plan that makes the task easy and enjoyable. Here are our top picks for helping you do just that!
These simple, delicious meal plans will help your kitchen feel less like an endless pantry. They offer a range of recipes that can easily be scaled down for solo cooking as well as smart shortcuts and tips on repurposing leftovers into brand-new dishes.
The next step is to put together a meal plan with shopping list and prep guide for your client. Doing this will give them confidence to stick with the plan you’ve crafted for them.
Make a list of recipes.
Maintaining a recipe database can make planning meals faster and simpler. Begin by selecting recipes that suit your family’s taste and lifestyle; for instance, if you have limited time, opt for slow cooker chili that will be ready when you arrive home.
Recipe management apps such as Paprika or Anylist make this task simpler by having built-in grocery lists, so you don’t need to manually cross-reference ingredients from one recipe to the next. Additionally, creating a master list of all items purchased helps keep your pantry and refrigerator organized.
Once your recipes are organized, it’s time to craft a meal plan for the week. This is an effective way to guarantee you have enough meals during the week while saving money at the same time.
To do this, take some time to plan meals that fit within your schedule. For instance, on Mondays you might only have a few hours to cook after work so aim for something straightforward and quick.
Another tip is to spread out your meals throughout the week. For instance, you don’t need to buy a whole bag of potatoes for each meal; rather, use them in different dishes.
Finally, make a note of any ingredients missing from your kitchen, such as garlic or nutmeg. Doing this will prevent you from accidentally starting a recipe without these components and save time in the long run.
Keep a list of the most interesting ingredients in your kitchen, so that you can cross them off as used. Doing this will save time when cooking in the future and reduce food waste by avoiding impulse purchases.
Make a shopping list.
Grocery lists are essential elements of any meal planning strategy. Whether you’re cooking for one person or two, creating a grocery list can save time and money, reduce food waste, and eliminate needless trips to the store.
First and foremost, make sure your list contains all the groceries necessary for cooking meals as well as items for healthy snacks. After compiling it, organize it into categories to make traveling as efficient as possible.
For instance, if you shop at only one store, place produce at the front of your list and non-perishables towards the back. Doing this makes navigating the store much faster and helps ensure all items are located quickly.
Another advantage of making a list is that it helps you avoid impulse buys at the store. Additionally, it keeps your budget under control as you’re less likely to overspend on more expensive items that you don’t really need.
Create your list with pen and paper or use an app like Evernote for digital convenience. The latter is more convenient since it’s accessible from any phone or tablet and you can quickly update the information once you return home.
Planning a menu for the week ahead is an effective way to stay within budget and avoid buying unnecessary items. Additionally, it helps you make healthier choices by eliminating foods high in saturated fat and sodium that may not be as beneficial for you as those made with fresh ingredients.
A shopping list can also help prevent food waste by ensuring you buy only what you need for your weekly meals. In America alone, about 108 billion pounds of food is wasted annually – an expensive waste of both money and resources. By creating a meal plan and sticking to it, you can reduce food waste while lessening your environmental impact.
When cooking for one person, don’t overwhelm your menu with complex recipes or ingredients. Instead, opt for simpler dishes that you can prepare in under 30 minutes.