by Danielle Maguire, RDN, Nutrition Program Director
Cooking for one (or two) can be tricky. Preparing a meal for a group may seem easier or more fulfilling at times, but you don’t have to sacrifice a nutritious and satisfying meal when cooking just for yourself, or abandon the kitchen for take-out. Love can still be your secret ingredient!
Make a Plan
Make cooking nutritious and satisfying meals a priority by making a plan. Instead of standing in front of the open refrigerator and wondering what you can muster up for dinner, planning your week ahead will take out all the guesswork. While planning your menu, write down your grocery list with all ingredients you’ll need (not including the ones already in your pantry), and you’ll be prepared for the week.
Give yourself wiggle-room. Don’t skip doing something spontaneous with friends or family – this doesn’t have to be a strict meal plan, but writing down a general plan can help you save time and money.
Simple foods can be nutritious, too. Whether it be a salad, sandwich, stir-fry, or pasta – focus on adding fruits and vegetables in each meal. You don’t need to purchase all fresh produce either – embrace frozen fruits and vegetables to use when you need them.
Utilizing Your Freezer and Leftovers
Though most recipes we see are geared toward feeding a family of four to six people, you can easily halve the recipe to make it not so overwhelming, or even divide by three to avoid too many leftovers. However, leftovers can be your friend. Save leftovers for lunch or pop individual serving sizes in the freezer and heat up an easy meal later on. This can be done with ingredients as well – for example, use half of a package of ground beef and save the rest for the freezer for another use, or freeze part of your loaf of bread. Just make sure to label each with the date and contents – you will thank yourself later!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins
These delicious and easy-to-make muffins with chocolate chips are the perfect bite-sized breakfast or treat packed with nutritious rolled oats and canned pumpkin – perfect for fall!
Yield: 6 Muffins • Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 20 min • Total Time: 30 min
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup skim milk
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup chocolate chips
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
- Once combined, add the oats, chocolate chips. and baking powder. Stir until combined.
- Pour into standard muffin tin lined with muffin liners or sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 18-20 minutes until cooked through.
Nutrition Facts for 1 muffin: 140 calories, 5g protein, 5g fat, 3g fiber, 21g carbohydrate