Cooking Single: Quick and Healthy Meals for One

Cooking Single: Quick and Healthy Meals for One

Pick up any book of recipes, or even browse online, and you’ll likely find that most of the meals are designed to feed a crowd. But what if you live alone and only need to cook for yourself?

You are certainly not unique in this situation. According to the Pew Research Center, more than one in four adults aged 60 or older in the United States lives alone.1 And while there are many things you can do to make life easier, from implementing aging in place home modifications to boosting your social circle to using an emergency button alarm for peace of mind, cooking for yourself might still feel like a chore.

When you’re cooking for only yourself, you might be very tempted to just grab a snack and leave it at that. Snacks and junk food might be fast and easy in the moment, but they can lead to inadequate nutrition and many other health problems over time. Cooking for yourself can be much easier and quicker than you might think.

Here are some great recipes that pack on healthy flavor – and they’re designed for one!

Versatile Smoothie Bowl

The convenient thing about smoothie bowls is that you can eat them for a snack or a full meal. You can switch up the ingredients based on what you like or what you have on hand. And with such bold flavors, you can mix in things like flaxseed, nuts, wheat germ, or protein powders without worry about the taste of those additions being overpowering.

·        1 cup frozen mango chunks

·        ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

·        ¼ cup reduced fat milk

·        1 tsp. vanilla extract

·        ½ ripe peach, sliced

·        ½ cup raspberries

·        1 tbsp. sliced almonds (more to taste)

·        2 tbsps. coconut flakes

Blend the mango, yogurt, milk and vanilla in a blender and puree it until smooth and creamy. Pour the mixture into a bowl and top it with the peach slices, raspberries, almonds, and coconut.

Add a drizzle of honey if you’re feeling decadent.

Potato and Spinach Breakfast Bake

Spinach is one of those powerhouse foods that does a little bit of everything for the aging body. According to Healthline, spinach lowers blood pressure, improves the health of your eyes, has a good amount of fiber, and includes a wealth of essential vitamins and nutrients.2 No doubt the spinach in this breakfast bake will start your day off right.

·        1 small russet potato (scrub and leave the skin on)

·        1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

·        3 ½ cups fresh baby spinach

·        A dash of salt

·        2 large egg whites

·        ½ cup shredded cheese of your choice

·        A fresh grind of pepper

·        1 slice of crispy bacon

Pierce the potato several times with a fork and place it in the microwave. Microwave the potato until it’s tender, about four minutes on high. Allow the potato to cool a bit before chopping it up into ½ inch cubes.

Heat the olive oil in a pan until it shimmers. Add the potatoes and let them crisp and brown, stirring frequently. Add the spinach and allow it to wilt, which should take only a minute or so. Season the mixture with salt.

Make a well in the center of the hash and pour in the egg whites. Reduce the heat and allow the egg whites to cook until they are almost set. Sprinkle the cheese on top and cover the pan for another few minutes, until the eggs are set and the cheese is melted.

Crumble the bacon over the top and grind the pepper to taste.

Grilled Cheese for Adults

Think grilled cheese is for kids? While it might be a comfort food for millions of children, the adult version can serve as a powerhouse of good nutrition for the elderly. It comes together in a snap and allows for a great mix of flavors, which can be changed up depending upon your preferences and what you’ve got in the fridge.

·        A light drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil

·        1 small clove of garlic, minced

·        1 cup packed baby spinach

·        2 thin slices prosciutto (if desired)

·        ½ cup shredded cheese (a blend of provolone and Gouda is a sophisticated option)

·        2 slices whole-wheat bread

·        2 tsps. butter spread substitute

Drizzle the olive oil into a skillet warmed to medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring continuously, for about one minute. Stir in the spinach and remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan for a minute to let the spinach wilt.

Brush the butter substitute over the outside of each piece of bread. Place one piece of bread in the pan, buttered side down; layer the spinach, cheese, and prosciutto on the bread. Top it with the second piece, buttered side up.

Cook the sandwich, flipping it from time to time until the bread is thoroughly toasted and the cheese is melted. Serve with crisp apple slices.

Broccoli Fried Rice

Though this fried rice uses up the broccoli in your fridge, that’s not the only option. You can add any sort of veggie to this one as long as you cut it up into tiny bits for quick and even heating. Though this recipe includes tofu, you can add in proteins like chicken, beef, or pork – just make sure to cut it all into bite-sized pieces.

·        2 tsps. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

·        4 ounces tofu of your choice

·        1 cup chopped broccoli

·        3 tbsps. water

·        1 clove of garlic, minced fine

·        ½ tsp. fresh ginger, grated

·        1 cup cooked brown rice

·        1 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce

·        1 tbsp. rice vinegar

·        1 large egg

·        Salt and pepper to taste

Heat one teaspoon of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and cook until browned; remove it from the pan and drizzle in the remaining oil. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring often. Add the water a bit at a time as needed to “steam” the broccoli. When the edges are a bit brown, add the garlic and ginger. Stir for two more minutes.

Blend in the rice, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Let the mixture cook, stirring constantly, until the rice has heated through.

Crack the egg into a well in the center of the mixture and quickly scramble it with a fork. Once the egg is set, stir it into the rice to incorporate it well. Add the tofu back to the pan, mix it all well, and turn it out onto a plate. Sprinkle with soy sauce and pepper to taste.

Ultimate Veggie Omelet

Eggs are a goldmine of nutrients, according to the Food and Drug Administration. But should you go with egg whites or whole eggs? Though whole eggs add fat and cholesterol to your diet, they also add a wealth of nutrients that your body needs. On the other hand, if you are already getting excellent nutrition and want to watch your cholesterol, egg whites give you the vast majority of the protein in the egg without all the other stuff.3

We’ve gone with the egg white version here, but you can use whole eggs – or even do half egg whites, half whole eggs.

And remember, this recipe takes kindly to all sorts of veggies, so use up whatever you have in the fridge.

·        4 large egg whites

·        1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

·        ½ cup chopped broccoli (or other vegetable of your choice)

·        1 shallot, finely chopped

·        1 garlic clove, finely minced

·        ¼ to ½ cup finely grated cheese of your choice

·        1 slice whole-grain toasted bread

Whisk the egg whites thoroughly. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the broccoli or other veggies, shallot, and garlic. Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, for about five minutes or until fragrant.

Pour the eggs into the pan on top of the veggie mixture. Don’t stir them! Sprinkle the cheese on top. Cover the pan and cook for three or four minutes or until set. Serve hot with the toast on the side.

Easy Tostadas

Sometimes you just don’t want to stand over the stove. That’s where the handy toaster oven comes in. If you don’t have one of these beauties, you should really look into acquiring one – they make life so much easier for a single person cooking a good meal. This recipe is a great example of how a toaster oven can produce amazing food for one that takes only a few minutes and a handful of healthy ingredients.

·        2 corn tortillas

·        ½ cup canned black beans, rinsed well

·        2 tbsps. shredded cheese of your choice

·        2 tsps. lime juice

·        1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

·        2 cups salad greens

·        ½ avocado, sliced fine

·        2 tbsps. salsa

Arrange the tortillas on top of a toaster-oven pan that has been lined with foil. Top the tortillas evenly with the beans and cheese. Toast the tortillas until they are browning on the edges and the cheese is melted.

Meanwhile, toss the salad greens with the olive oil and lime juice.

Place the tostadas on a plate and top with avocado, salsa, and the greens.

Safety First When Working in the Kitchen

Safety in the home always matters, but that’s especially true when you live alone. Hopefully, you’ve looked into the merits of a medical alert pendant as well as put some home modifications in place that allow you to safer and more confident in your private space. But have you thought about staying safe in the kitchen as well?

The kitchen is fraught with potential slip and fall hazards and other dangers. One of the first steps toward safety is to keep your floor clear of clutter and to avoid spills – a spot of water on the floor is practically an invitation to take a hard fall. Take care when you use kitchen utensils, especially knives, and use a very sturdy stepstool with a rail if you must reach up to high shelves.

And speaking of knives, keep them razor sharp. Though it might seem counterintuitive, when you use a dull knife, you must press down harder to cut what’s in front of you. That means that the chances of the knife slipping from the target and cutting into your hand are much greater. A sharp knife does the job properly and with less possibility of injury.

But of course, sometimes accidents happen despite our best efforts. An alert system for elderly adults is a great way to ensure that if you do suffer an accident, fall, or medical emergency, you can reach out for help right away. Simply press the button alert and trained professionals will be on the line within moments. Medical alert technology allows you to relax not only in the kitchen but everywhere you go.