Cooking for one can be both fun and tedious, depending on your personality. However, if you want to avoid relying on takeout and enjoy cooking, here are a few tips that will make cooking for yourself a breeze.

Plan Ahead

One of the first things you should do is plan your meals for the week ahead. You can do this at home or by strolling through the store’s shelves and fridges.

Planning not only allows you to have the ingredients to make your favorite meals but also ensures you can plan your time effectively and choose more simple meals on the days you may be more busy.

Smart Shopping

Considering you are just cooking for yourself, it is best to be smart with what you buy. Many people make a few mistakes when shopping, but one of the biggest is buying too much of one thing.

If you are only planning on having a steak dinner one day, buying four or six steaks at the grocery store is unnecessary. While this can be seen as “planning ahead,” it can be a waste of money, especially when you can’t guarantee you will even want to have a steak again any time soon.

Single-Serving Shopping

Another great shopping tip is to buy single-serve items. Whether this be dessert, a salad, or a starter, it will help you save money and a ton of time as you won’t have to worry about making it yourself.

Considering it can be difficult to buy the exact amount of ingredients you need for one portion of dessert, salad, etc., buying single-serve, pre-prepared dishes can also reduce waste.

Shop for Deals

If you want to save some money and not overspend, shopping for deals is a great option. Especially if you are cooking just for yourself, there are plenty of deals that are suitable for one or two servings

Plus, many stores like to discount fresh ingredients at the end of the day or when they are close to their expiry date. While this does mean you need to use them very soon, you can save a lot of money in the long-run.

Always Have the Essentials

Always keep an eye on your cupboards and pantry, as you want to ensure you have a decent supply of the essentials at all times. Things like pasta, bread, seasonings, etc, should always been in your stores as they are often the backbone of many dishes.

A good supply of essentials also means it is easy to create a meal on the fly if you haven’t had time to get to the grocery store.

Meal Prepping

Meal prepping isn’t just for gym bunnies or those trying to lose weight; it can be a brilliant way to save a ton of time and effort if you have a very busy schedule. Meal prepping can also take many forms, and you can find one that suits your needs.

For instance, meal prepping can be something as simple as cooking a whole chicken and using it for a few meals during the week. It can also be cooking a large lasagna and portioning it out into containers that you freeze. This allows you to always have a delicious meal ready, and all you have to do is defrost it and heat it up.

Ingredient Prepping

Ingredient prepping is another great tip for saving time during the week. This, too, takes many forms, and can range from creating spice mixes, to chopping up and portioning out veggies for soup.

Depending on your meals for the week, it may not save you a ton of time, but if anything, it will help you in the future.

Multi-Day Meals

Multi-day meals aren’t quite the same as meal prepping, but rather a way to make a large, delicious meal that you can enjoy over several days. Once again, meals like lasagna, soups, etc, are perfect for this you can make them in large quantities and then store the leftovers.

Even if you tire of eating the same thing regularly, popping what you have left in the freezer means you will always have something at hand that you barely have to prepare.

Use Your Freezer

Speaking of your freezer, don’t get caught up in buying everything fresh. Fruit and vegetables, in particular, can go off incredibly quickly, and it is a waste of money to constantly purchase fresh ingredients when you won’t use them all in time.

Instead, opt for the frozen version if you need a particular fruit or vegetable in bulk. While fresh will always be better, opting for frozen is fine if you are worried about time or wasting money.

Use Your Leftovers

Finally, find smart and delicious ways to use your leftovers. You can often have a selection of ingredients or meals you couldn’t finish in one sitting, and the last thing you want to do is throw them away.

Instead, stock up on storage containers and refrigerate or freeze what is left. A great benefit of this is that considering all of these things are already cooked, you can easily whip up a meal that uses them all in no time.


Samantha Harper

With over a decade of experience in the culinary world, Samantha Harper combines her passion for cooking with a deep knowledge of nutrition to help people make informed food choices. She received her culinary training from a prestigious culinary institute, followed by a Master’s in Nutrition, which gave her a unique perspective on food. Her experience includes working in various health-oriented restaurants and contributing to nutrition and wellness blogs.

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