Divorce brings all sorts of challenges to the table and cooking is just one of them. You may be used to serving large meals and learning how to cook for just one can be an adjustment. I was faced with an empty nest a bit after my divorce so I found ways to make my solo dining healthy yet quick.
Here are some ideas for for solo meals:
- Mabel is a healthy 83 year-old who bakes a small casserole pan of mixed vegetables which lasts for three days. She eats this in different ways: alone, topped with cheese or with a little meat on the side. Stores such as Trader Joe’s have frozen cooked chicken slices which adds protein to meals.
- When my friend wants dinner in a hurry she puts pasta in a frying pan and covers it with cold water. It cooks in a jiffy and she adds sauce or olive oil with herbs. Make a single serving or more if leftovers are desired.
- I like to defrost a little bit of spinach and mix that with an egg, herbs and grated cheese. It cooks quickly and just add a small side like fruit. A small sliced potato baked in olive oil with herbs is filling paired with a side dish. Farmers’ markets are a great place to purchase produce in small portions and other healthy food.
- Another of my favorites is to mix wild rice with frozen spinach and artichokes which are divvied up into single portions. These are great for lunches at work or quick suppers. Lasagne also freezes well for individual meals.
- I buy locally made soups at my nearby grocery store for an easy meal. I cook a single serving of vegetables, but for those who have leftovers, pop them in soup. Boxes of soup from natural food stores have ones low in sodium and high in nutrients, and added veggies makes them more flavorful.
- For a hearty breakfast take plain low fat Greek yogurt and add muesli and berries. I put Irish oats, chia seeds, chopped walnuts and blueberries into mine. I avoid packaged meals if possible and keep frozen veggies in my freezer.
- I go to the salad bar to get a variety of vegetables with no waste. I can put them into tuna salad or load them into a multigrain roll.
- My friend Marilyn buys a large prepared salad that lasts for several days. One day she sprinkles seeds over it and another time shredded ham or chicken. Leftovers can be served in creative ways to keep meals interesting.
- Hazel is an elderly woman who shares this advice: to value herself when dining solo, she sets her place at the table and eats off china. Wolfing food down while standing at the counter would never do because one barely notices what is consumed. She feels that it is important to honor oneself, whether it is at mealtime or in other areas of life. Hazel treats herself with the same respect that she would give to an important guest.
- Ethnic restaurants are low key and can be more comfortable to dine in alone. I tend to eat out at lunch if I am by myself, and have a light supper at home.
- I meet pals at coffee shops where I can sip a latte or have a full lunch. Some establishments have community tables and I have met interesting folks there. My son is a waiter which makes dining in his section enjoyable. My single friends tend to have “their” place and feel comfortable when dining alone. The staff become friends and these women catch up on their lives while munching their meals.
Even if you don’t have an empty nest, it is still different cooking for yourself and the kids when a husband is no longer around. I used to give myself a break from the kitchen one night a week for pizza night (although the nurse in me made my sons have a drink chock full of greens as well). We watched a kids’ movie and I still recall those times fondly.
What activities do you engage in solo post-divorce?
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