If you live on your own, shopping, cooking and eating healthy food can seem like a lot of effort, but I promise you, there are some simple tricks to max up your nutritional intake without too much effort. Not only will you be eating healthier food, but these simple ideas will increase your variety and make healthy eating the easy choice.
Stock up on good store cupboard essentials. Having a few key foods in your freezer, fridge and cupboard means it is easy to whip up a healthy meal for one in a flash. Cans of pulses like chickpeas, kidney beans and butter beans, a selection of frozen vegetables, tinned tomatoes and jars of passata are a good start. Supplement this with some herbs and spices, good quality curry pastes, pesto and stock cubes to add flavour. It’s always good to have eggs on standby too.
Cook with friends once a week. This is a fun way to add variety to your diet. A group of three or four people is ideal. Take it in turn to cook and eat together. You will probably find that you eat a better variety of foods, and maybe try dishes you would never cook just for one.
Have a few standby dishes that are quick and easy to make from scratch. Stir fries, omelettes and a ‘curry in a hurry’ recipe are ideal.
Check out some delivery apps. Hello Fresh is one of the most popular, but there are plenty of companies out there delivering fresh and healthy meal kits that can put the fun and variety back into healthy eating for one. This is a great way to cut back on food waste and add some new recipes to your diet.
Cook once a week. Batch cook a great big healthy curry, stew, bolognese or chilli once a week. Pack in as many vegetables as you can and freeze in portion sizes. After a few weeks you will have a selection of tasty, nourishing, yummy boxes of food to pull out for a quick and tasty tea.
Buy something different every week to keep variety in your diet. For example if you always buy broccoli, swap to cauliflower, or if you haven’t eaten leeks for ages, get them into your trolley. Buy loose vegetables and fruit from supermarkets and greengrocers so that you are not buying more than you need.
Use your freezer wisely. Store leftover curry, chilli, stew and soup for a quick and easy dinner or lunch option. Using frozen vegetables can mean less food waste, and often cost less than fresh veg. They are at least as nutritious as the fresh version, as they have been picked and frozen as soon as they are ready to eat, so conserving the nutritional value.
QUICK AND EASY THAI CURRY
This is one of my ‘curry in a hurry’ options for a quick and easy meal for one, with enough leftover for dinner tomorrow night too.
1 dsp coconut oil
1-2 dsp Thai curry paste
1 carrot, shredded
3-4 scallions, chopped
Half a head of broccoli, finely chopped
red pepper, chopped
1 tin coconut milk
1 can chickpeas
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Brown basmati rice to serve
Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan and add the curry paste. Cook for one-to-two minutes and then add all the vegetables and the chickpeas. Stirfry for two-to-three minutes until the vegetables start to soften slightly.
Stir in the coconut milk and lime zest and juice and simmer for a couple of minutes.
Serve with brown basmati rice or cauliflower rice for a no-carb alternative.
This blog post first appeared as an article in The Irish News on Saturday 3 November 2018.