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Easy Ideas for Nutritious, Single-Serving Meals

  • Brought to you by: Palo Alto Medical Foundation

  • Cooking a fresh, homemade meal for one may seem time-consuming and expensive. But nutritious single-serving meals made at home can actually save time and money while promoting long-term health.

    “Making your food taste good is the key to success for single-serving meals,” Rachel Freiberg, M.S., R.D., a behavioral health educator and registered dietitian at PAMF, says. “Many fresh herbs and spices add flavor without calories, like adding dill to salmon or rosemary to chicken.”

    Cooking is not something everyone enjoys, Frieberg says. If this is true for you, simply cook larger batches of food and freeze them in single-serving containers for later use. And for those worried about preparation, simple meals are often the most delicious. A piece of fruit for dessert will add nutrients and fiber. Try adding shrimp, tuna, crab or chicken to a salad for light, quick meal.

    Try one of the following tips to make appetizing and enjoyable meals for one:

    • Buy a prebaked whole chicken and portion out individual serving sizes to freeze. Add precooked brown rice and a microwaved frozen vegetable for an inexpensive, low-fat meal.
    • Buy healthy frozen meals when they are on sale. Add a salad and a piece of seasonal fresh fruit.
    • Keep staples like eggs and natural or organic peanut butter on hand for an easy meal or sandwich.
    • Arrange a nice place setting for your meal. Use a placemat and your favorite dishes, and light a candle.
    • Sit at the table and play relaxing music. Consciously taste your food, and you’ll be more satisfied and less likely to “graze” through the night.
    • Avoid making the TV your companion. You unconsciously eat more calories when your mind is engaged with TV or a computer.
    • Invite friends to join you for casual meals.
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