When you're cooking for one, making a healthy meal doesn't need to be time-consuming or complicated, and you can create tasty and nutritionally balanced meals quickly and in suitable portions. Additionally, if you're short on time, you can make them ahead of time and then store them in the fridge or freezer.
Breakfast can take two routes: sweet, or savory. If you prefer a sweet start to your day, a healthy one-person meal might be a bowl of oatmeal with some diced apple cooked into it. Add some cinnamon and nutmeg for sweetness, and then top it off with a dollop of ricotta or cottage cheese for some additional protein to go along with your carbs and fiber. Altogether, this will deliver around 600 calories. If you prefer savory, try 3 scrambled eggs with mushrooms and spinach to give you a good combination of protein, fat and minerals to start the day -- at about 300 calories.
A simple, portable lunch option is stir-fry. Use lean beef, and dice it up with your favorite vegetables. Saute the ingredients with some spices and some peanut oil, for a dose of healthy protein and fats. This will deliver between 300 and 400 calories, depending on which vegetables you use. Another meal that features protein and fats is canned tuna mixed into salad greens, with half an avocado, a few chunks of feta and a drizzle of olive oil. This weighs in at around 400 calories. Adding a half-cup of brown rice to either of these recipes will add some slow-releasing energy and fiber for around 100 calories.
You should consume at least 8 ounces of seafood per week, recommends the USDA, so a tasty, healthy dinner option for one is a salmon fillet, grilled in lemon juice and herbs. Add some roasted vegetables and a dash of balsamic vinegar to dress it all up, and serve over quinoa or brown rice for a meal that features protein, healthy fats and good carbs, for around 400 calories. Another protein- and carb-rich, 400-calorie meal could be chicken or tofu skewers that have your favorite vegetables, served over couscous, for a filling, yet also colorful dinner.
Snacking provides a good moment to eat the recommended foods you might not otherwise eat each day — like a serving or two of low-fat dairy for some additional protein and minerals, or fruit and nuts to get additional micronutrients. A half cup of low-fat yogurt combined with a handful of berries and some almonds makes for a filling, easy snack. Graham crackers with ricotta cheese is another good option, as are vegetable sticks with reduced-salt guacamole or hummus dip. Each of these snacks come in at less than 200 calories each, as long as you stick to moderate serving sizes.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Oats
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Egg, Whole, Cooked, Scrambled
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fats and Cholesterol: Out With the Bad, In With the Good
- Choose My Plate: What Are Foods In the Protein Foods Group?
- Choose My Plate: What Are Foods In the Dairy Foods Group?
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Rice, Brown, Long-Grain, Cooked