Single-person households have grown from 7 percent in the sixties to 27 percent of the total today. Many single diners are deficient in calcium, iron and other important vitamins and minerals because they skip meals, snack for dinner or open the freezer and prepare whatever falls out. Research shows that people who live alone are more likely to have vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Eating alone can be a pleasurable and healthy activity, if you plan your life around it. Some suggestions:
- Stock your kitchen with a variety of staples with a long shelf-life, such as brown rice, oatmeal and other whole grains.
- Keep on hand pre-chopped broccoli, bagged lettuce, and yogurt, so you don’t use time as an excuse not to prepare foods.
- Make single dish meals with all the components — grains, meat, vegetables such as in casseroles and soups. Prepare them ahead of time and freeze them so you don’t have to cook a lot. Also, you can make the whole recipe but portion it into individual bags.
- Take advantage of supermarket salad bars. They’re a boon to single people who may have avoided fresh fruits and vegetables they couldn’t use fast enough. Skip the mayonnaise-based salads and high-fat dressings, but load up on fresh vegetables and fruits. At home you can add some low-fat meat or cheese, tuna or kidney beans, and your own favorite low-fat dressing.
- Never underestimate the uses of your freezer and microwave. Bags of frozen vegetables can be a great alternative when fresh produce is not available. Rice and pasta leftovers are particularly good candidates for freezing and later use. Use your microwave for defrosting, reheating or to speed preparation of almost any meal. Microwave dishes often can be prepared with less fat, too, by adding bouillon, wine or broth.
- Dinner should be pleasant, and atmosphere does contribute to a more enjoyable meal. Set the table with linens, attractive dinnerware and a centerpiece. Make a lovely meal with fresh ingredients and enjoy it with a little wine, some jazz on the stereo and a couple of candles. Sit at the table; don’t just eat hanging over the sink.
- If you’re single, try to get together with friends on a regular schedule. Set up a Thursday night supper club and rotate homes or try a new restaurant once a month.