Cooking for One or Two?

by Lilisha Burris, R.D.

Colourful vegetables, lean meat, and cheeses make this lunch salad tasty and filling. Add a whole grain roll and you have a meal in a bowl!

Leftovers. Again. Meal time in a one- or two-member household can sometimes feel like re-runs of an old television show. You cook one dish and there is so much left over that you feel like you are eating the same thing day after day.

Eating this way does not give you the variety of nutritious foods that is recommended in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide. It is not exciting for your taste buds, either!

Here are a few easy ideas for healthy meals and snacks for one or two. Start today!

Create your own frozen meals. If you cook a big batch of your favourite soup or casserole you can freeze it in individual portions for up to two to three months. This way you can have an easy meal in no time at all.

Freshen it up. To refresh a frozen dish or last night’s dinner, add a bit of grated cheese, toasted almonds, diced tomatoes, and fresh or dry herbs. Add a whole-grain roll and a side salad to the meal.

A new take on coleslaw. Grate carrots, broccoli stems, and beets, along with the usual cabbage. Combine olive oil, vinegar, black pepper, and your favourite herbs and spices as a dressing.

Want a 5 minute meal? Sandwiches and wraps make a fast and easy meal. Use leftover stir-fry or scrambled egg whites with spinach and onions, and roll into a pita wrap. Serve with cut up fruit and yogurt dip.

Have more ripe fruit than you can eat? Cut up ripe berries, bananas, and peaches into bite-size pieces and freeze. You can add the fruit to plain yogurt and crunchy, high-fibre cereal for a delicious breakfast or snack.

Looking for something new? Next time you are in the grocery store, pick up one new vegetable or fruit that you don't normally have. Be adventurous!

Visit the menu planning section of the EatRight Ontario web site at www.eatrightontario.ca/en/MenuPlanner.aspx#. In My Menu Planner, choose the Cooking for One or Two Made Easy lifestyle goal. There you can get a 7-day meal plan, shopping list, and recipes.

For More Information:

Ontario residents can talk to a Registered Dietitian at EatRight Ontario for free.
We answer questions in more than 100 languages. Call toll-free at 1-877-510-5102. Learn more about healthy eating, or e-mail a question to: eatrightontario.ca.

Residents of British Columbia can talk to a Registered Dietitian at Health Link BC for free by calling 8-1-1.

About the Author
Lilisha Burris is a Registered Dietitian with EatRight Ontario.

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Nutrition Fact

Did you know that adults over 50 need more vitamin D? Take a daily vitamin D supplement of 10 mcg (400 IU). Include vitamin D-rich foods in your diet. Salmon, tuna, eggs, cow’s milk, and fortified soy beverage contain vitamin D.

Cooking for One or Two

Change it up!  Try adding chopped apples or dried cranberries for a hint of sweetness. Add a little spice.  A sprinkle of cayenne or chili powder will add some kick to the homemade vinaigrette.

TASTY LUNCH SALAD

INGREDIENTS:

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Makes: 1 serving

Chopped red or green leaf lettuce 250 mL 1 cup
1 small carrot, shredded
Diced tomatoes 50 mL ¼ cup
Quarter of a red or green pepper, diced
1/8th of a small red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
Flax seeds 15 mL 1 tbsp
2 thin slices lean deli turkey, or chicken,
or cubed cheese  30 g 1 oz
1 hard cooked egg, quartered    
Homemade or store-bought croutons 75 mL 1/3 cup

Homemade Vinaigrette

Whisk together in a small bowl

Vegetable or olive oil 5 mL 1 tsp
Cider vinegar 10 mL 2 tsp
Mustard  1 mL ¼ tsp
Pinch each salt and pepper    

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a bowl, toss together lettuce, carrot, tomatoes, pepper, onion and flax seeds. Top with turkey, egg and croutons; set aside.
  2. Pour homemade vinaigrette over salad and toss to combine before serving. You can substitute a low fat salad dressing for the homemade vinaigrette.

Nutrition information: Calories: 329, Protein: 19 g,
Fat: 17 g, Carbohydrate: 28 g, Fibre: 8 g, Sodium: 435 mg