Are you part of the fastest growing group in the U.S.? If you are a single or two-person household, then yes, you are. Do you struggle to cook for just you or one other? Instead of resorting to the drive-thru or worse, a bowl of cereal for dinner try these tips:
Adjust your grocery shopping routine:
- Don’t buy the largest box or package because it’s “cheaper”. It’s not a great deal if you throw half of it out.
- Buy frozen vegetables loose in the bag – cook one serving at a time.
- Buy fresh fruit by the piece rather than by the bag.
- Don't buy "specialty" ingredients if plain will do (self-rising flour vs. all-purpose).
- Keep non-fat dry milk on hand to use in cooking.
- Buy lean ground meat (at least 90% lean) – it keeps longer in the freezer.
- Choose individually wrapped items to cut down on food waste; cheese, pudding, applesauce, crackers
- Use the deli and meat counter to buy the amounts you will use. This can also be an opportunity to try new things.
- Buy spice packets and small sized condiments
Cook once and eat several times:
- Rotisserie chicken use for tacos, soups, stir fry, etc
- Ham use for ham salad, soup beans, breakfast casserole, omelets
- Roast beef use for beef and noodles, shepherd’s pie, BBQ
Make a large amount and freeze small portions:
- Use waterproof labels and stick-on small plastic containers. They’ll stay in place over time but are removable without leaving a sticky residue behind.
- Wrap individual servings of meat in heavy-duty aluminum foil and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator when ready to use and cook in the same foil; it saves on clean up.
- One-half package of macaroni and cheese or other noodle seasoning mix can be saved in a baggie or plastic container. Don’t forget to put the directions in the container!
- Buy egg substitutes and freeze them (fresh whole eggs don't freeze well).
- Most foods, even those we think of as "shelf-stable," keep longer in the refrigerator. If it takes you a long time to use up 1 lb. of coffee, 5 lbs. of flour, or a box of raisins, refrigerate them.
Use appliances creatively:
- Use a toaster oven to broil, roast, or heat single servings of meat.
- Stir-fry small amounts of food at a time.
- Use a waffle maker or other kitchen equipment to make a panini-style sandwich.
- Air fry for healthier foods that taste delicious.
- Use pressure cookers to make easy-peel hardboiled eggs, rice, and soups.
- Experiment with new recipes and cooking techniques.
- Take pleasure in cooking and learn to maximize food and its health benefits.
- Treat yourself to occasional extravagances, such as expensive cuts of meat.
Enjoy meals with friends and family. Have a potluck freezer party. Have guests bring a dish to share and then divide up leftovers and freeze in individual portions.
For more info and specific instructions on how to reduce a recipe