Living LifeWise: Cooking For One

Living Lifewise Sunday, July 28, 2013 Written by

Living LifeWise is a regular column written by LifeWise Ambassadors –  LifeWise employees whose healthy choices are helping them live better lives. Today’s column is provided by LifeWise Ambassador Sarah Swanberg

Imagine this: It’s a Monday night and you’re on your way home from a long day at work. You’re exhausted. The last thing you want to do is cook. You’d rather just order a pizza. It’s fast. It’s easy. Why should you bother cooking when it’s just you?

Sound familiar? This was my regular routine at least once or twice a week – until I realized that cooking for one is actually pretty easy. In the time it takes to place that call to your favorite pie shop, you can have a healthy meal on the table. Here are a few tips that have helped me create quick, healthy meals for one.

Freeze It!

Freezing food is essential when cooking for one. If you freeze your meals into individual portion sizes, you’ll be able to cut down on cook time and waste. My favorite thing to do is to make a big batch of homemade spaghetti sauce (no canned sauce for this little lady). After the sauce cools, I pour individual servings into small plastic bags. The bags freeze flat and don’t take up much freezer space. When I’m cooking pasta, I just take a bag out and defrost in the microwave. In less than 10 minutes, I have a home-cooked meal ready to eat

Freezing works well for soups and other sauces as well. One tip: avoid freezing cream-based foods. They don’t reheat well, and you end up with a globby mess.

Salad in a Jar

I love salad. But after a long day, I don’t want to stand in my kitchen cutting produce for 30 minutes. Instead, I cut all my veggies up at the beginning of the week and make individual salads in jars. When I get home, I just grab some lettuce, and dump the veggies into a bowl. Add a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and voila! Dinner for one.

Recipes for One

Recipes aren’t normally set up for one person, but that doesn’t mean you can’t adjust to your needs. Cut the recipe in half if you need to. You can also prepare it as is and save the rest for later in the week or for lunch the next day. It’ll be just as good the second time around.

In the end, it may be a little easier to order pizza. Don’t give in! Your body will thank you if you skip the double pepperoni and extra cheese and go for the greens.


Sarah_SwanbergSarah Swanberg is on the continuous path of finding the right balance between leading a healthy lifestyle, losing weight and enjoying all the food. Having completed her first 5K in March, She is finding new ways to include exercise into her daily routine in hopes it will stick. Sarah works in Communications for LifeWise and lives in Ballard with her goldfish Herbert and her cactus Ouch! She is always on the hunt for the perfect cupcake…