#FoodieFriday and Healthy Cooking for One (or Two)

I’ve never done a #FoodieFriday post, but there’s a first time for everything. Food has been on my mind a lot lately. I’m trying to put off grocery shopping as long as possible, stretching out what I have creatively and healthfully. I’m trying to minimize grocery spending, and also  maximize the quality of nutrients I’m taking in. (With moderate “guilty pleasures” mix in.)

Long story short, I’m trying to really get a good grasp on my long-food habits. And Nightwolf’s. Because he has the eating preferences of a 5-year-old.

#foodiefriday Healthy cooking for one or two

Since this blog is about the adventures of a country girl leading new life in the city, this is vital. I had never, ever lived alone before coming to Kansas City. I had always had a small herd of siblings, parents, and/or roommates to share space (and food) with.

Not so much anymore.

I’ve done a list of tips and tricks for healthy eating for one in the past, but I wanted to do an updated post for two reasons:

  • My life is no longer about weight loss, and more about overall healthy living. I’ve reached my target weight and now I just want to lead a healthy, fulfilling life. (That first post was just about halfway through my weight loss efforts.)
  • It’s been a year, and in that year, my eating and cooking habits have evolved even more. I cook more fancy meals, and Nightwolf and I cook together a lot more. That changes things a lot.
weight loss healthy home cooking for one or two

What a difference a year can make. August 2012 on the left, August 2013 on the right.

I want to highlight, again: there is no easy, quick fix. I can’t eat junk food, pop a multi-vitamin, sit on the couch, and feel as great as I do when I’m eating right and working out. While I give into my cravings and vices periodically and with moderation, the bulk of what I eat are whole grains, fruits and veggies, and lean proteins. (I may also have an unhealthy addiction to fruit snacks. Vitamin C, yo!)

BUT, there are ways to make things easier.

Here’s my top pointers for healthy eating for one (or two):

  • Buy a damn slow cooker. Seriously. My slow cookers (yes, I have two) have been life savers. A little liquid, and a nice combination of proteins, starches, vegetables, and liquid can yield amazing things. Soups, stews, roasts, chili, and…you know, 8,000 other amazing things. All of which are EASILY FROZEN. (See the next tip.)
  • Freezer bags are magical. Cook in large batches. Break large batches down into 2-4 servings and freeze in freezer bags. Pull and out defrost as needed. Seriously, this is an easy-ass way to good, especially when you’re busy.
  • So are good leftover containers. Whether you plan to invest in high quality storage bags, or you buy the Cadillac of Tupperware dishes, store your leftovers well. Nightwolf and I made homemade parmesan chicken on a Sunday night. We made six breast fillets, and divvied up the leftovers. Mine (along with leftover pasta) somehow contributed to lunch for three days. That’s three days I didn’t have to spend money or time on lunch.
homemade chicken parmesan healthy cooking for one or two)

Homemade chicken parmesan! And the not-so-healthy side, box mix Red Lobster brand cheddar biscuits. (Those were my “guilty pleasure” for the day.)

  • Cooking from scratch is NOT all that hard or time-consuming, especially if you do it in big batches. Ever had stir-fry? You can buy raw, pre-cut vegetables and meat at many grocery stores for stir-fry. You can make some top-notch stir-fry if you figure out the right technique and the right blend of soy sauce, veggies, meat, and almonds (which are my favorite secret ingredient for stir-fry).
    • One decent-sized batch of stir-fry can make 3-4 days of lunch for me. I haven’t figured out how many lunches it is for both Nightwolf and I combined. Cook big when you have time, eat delicious leftovers later.
Stir-fry healthy eating healthy cooking for one or two

The last stir-fry I made, with beef! It doesn’t look like much, but it was downright delicious and IT GOT NIGHTWOLF TO EAT VEGGIES.

  • Keep certain things on hand at all times. My friends have asked a lot lately about where I get my recipes. Most of what I cook aren’t from recipes. They’re a combination of ingredients that I know will work. I try to keep a pretty consistent stock of different ingredients that I know I can mix-and-match into complete meals. These include:
    • Whole grain and/or vegetable pasta
    • Brown rice (or a brown/white blend for pickier eaters)
    • A variety of frozen vegetables (or fresh if it’s in-season)
    • Proteins
      • A big bag of chicken breasts I can defrost as needed
      • A pound of ground beef
      • Frozen fish fillets
      • Eggs
      • As sales allow, I also try to keep lean cuts of beef and pork on-hand during the winter
    • Certain add-ins that I know will be delicious
      • Canned mushrooms
      • Potatoes (sweet, or white or yellow flesh)
      • Pesto sauce
      • Unseasoned, unsalted tomato sauce (I have a huge herb collection, why pay more for seasoned when I can make it my own?)
      • A nice spice collection

So, that’s what I have for #FoodieFriday. It’s not earth-shattering, ground-breaking stuff. Most of it is common sense, but I’ve found a lot of people lack that in my age group. (No offense, guys. This is our time to learn through stupid life decisions.)

And, I’ll come clean and say I still eat the occasional Lean Cuisine-style frozen meal. I still enjoy downright fat-laden, fried junky food now and then. It’s all about moderation. Most of what I eat is good for me, and a lot of it cooked from scratch. And every single bit of it is delicious. (Life is too short to eat food that doesn’t taste amazing.)

Am I missing any? Help a girl out here — I’m accepting any additional tips and pointers, and am happy to hear whatever you have to offer! Help me and my readers take our healthy cooking for one (or two) to a whole new level!


4 thoughts on “#FoodieFriday and Healthy Cooking for One (or Two)

    • Nightwolf and I both have a pretty fast metabolism, so the carbs are fine. Plus, the more active I am, the more quick-burning energy (carbs) I need. Plus, I know if I pair them with carbs, I can get Nightwolf to eat veggies.

      I love beef but I feel like if I cook beef I need to be more reverent — it’s so wonderful. So chicken and fish are more of my “quick go-to’s” than beef.

  1. One of my favorite things to make is a healthy taco salad, I season ground turkey with taco seasoning, cut up fresh tomatoes, avacados, cucumbers, and mix corn in with the meat and put it all together with some baked tortilla strips.

    This one below is ahhhhh mazing, and you can moderate the recipe easily for 2 people, but it heats up well the next day too.
    Bruschetta Chicken

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