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March 07, 2017

Six tips for eating healthy when you live alone

Healthy Eating Food

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Produce at the market Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

If most of your meals include grilled cheese and pasta or come from the microwave, cooking healthy can seem like an enigmatic art. Not only might it seem time consuming and complicated, but also undesirable. Does anyone actually crave broccoli on the regular? And how do you eat the whole bunch before it goes bad? The struggle of preparing healthy food often doubles when eating alone. We don’t have a live-in cheerleader to hold us accountable for eating a salad instead of Digiorno’s.

But eating well doesn’t need to be difficult, even if you’re cooking for one. Here are some tips and tricks on how to claim your kitchen, and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

1. Buy cookware essentials

At the least, you’ll want to have the bare minimum of cookware, which includes:

  1. One chef’s knife 

  2. One good cutting board 

  3. BPA-free plastic storage containers 

  4. A colander 

  5. One non-stick frying pan 

  6. One saucepan 

  7. One 4-quart stock pot 

  8. One spatula 

2. Make cooking fun

Listen to your favorite podcast, get into comfy clothes and sip a glass of wine while you cook. Maybe splurge on kitchenware that gets you excited to cook, like this elegant rolling pin, or herb scissors to help make your dishes more flavorful! Perhaps preparing an aesthetically pleasing dish will add to the fun while making for a worthy Instagram!.

3. Buy single-serve snacks

It’s easier than we’d like to admit to eat an entire bag of Cheetos when no one’s watching. Mindless eating is a common symptom of eating alone because (1) no one is judging our calorie intake and (2) we’re more likely to be in our heads than be present with our food. Thus, single-serve snacks can help eliminate our tendency to inhale snacks like oxygen when alone.

In addition to snacks, you can also try these healthy and delicious single-serve recipes to avoid food waste and maintain portion control.

4. Go grocery shopping a little hungry  

You’ve probably heard the advice: “Don’t go grocery shopping when hungry!” But we beg to differ. If you shop with no appetite, you might buy foods that you wish you liked, but realistically just aren’t your favorites. I’m talking about “in vogue” health foods like kale, tempeh, and seaweed. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t eat healthy— you should! But shopping with a tiny bit of an appetite can help you determine which health foods you’ll actually want to eat when it comes to mealtime. If you need help establishing a healthy meal plan, you may benefit from nutritional counseling.

5. Keep back-up soup in your freezer

We all have days where we get home at 8 p.m. feeling like we ran a marathon and are tempted to order Chinese to avoid expending more energy. In these dire times, it’s helpful to have a hearty soup on deck you can defrost and eat with little effort. Instead of making one serving of soup for dinner, make a large pot and save whatever you don’t eat for future meals.

6. Make stir-fry Your BFF

From eggs to vegetables to fish, there are few foods that aren’t acceptable to include in stir-fry. This is your excuse to combine the mish mosh of foods in your fridge approaching their expiration date and call it a meal. Try these ten tips to prepare a successful stir-fry. A simple rice, noodle or quinoa will cook up quickly and provide the perfect base for your tasty creation.

Learn new recipes at a Healthy Cooking Class: Every Wednesday at Independence LIVE

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