Planning Healthy Meals for One or Two

by Jim Meyer, MU Extension Nutrition and Health Education Specialist

I know from experience that it is hard to get motivated when cooking a meal for just one or two people. However, it is still better to cook at home then eat out all the time. Here are some tips to help you get the most value for your time and money if you are cooking for two, or just you.
Let’s start with some general health tips:

-Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables

-Make at least half of your grains whole grains

-Switch to fat free or low-fat dairy products

-Use salt sparingly
Now let’s look at some time-saving tips:

-Cook once, eat twice by planning two meals from the same entrée

-Eat the extra food in 3-4 days or freeze
Finally, here are some shopping tips:

-Only buy in bulk if you can separate into smaller portions for storage

-Repackage meat in freezer bags for smaller servings

-Buy fruit in varying stages of ripeness. Apricots, bananas, cantaloupe, kiwi, nectarines, peaches, pears, and plums continue to ripen after purchase. Refrigerate fruit after it has ripened for longer storage

-Buy frozen vegetables in bags. Use as needed, but try to use the whole package within 8 months

-Buy canned foods

-Check use-by dates for best quality

-Store any unused portion from cans in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days
Cooking for 1 or 2 can be a challenge. However, it can be done. The health and money saving benefits are huge.
If you are interested in more health and nutrition information, please visit http://extension.missouri.edu or call my office at 573-985-3911.