I come from a family that eats very healthy.. it was great when I lived at home & was a competitive cheerleader (aka constantly active) but as soon as I moved away for school, the freshman 15 was upon me.
I got very lucky for a few reasons.. I lived in a ‘dorm’ that was basically an apartment and had a full kitchen. I also had the sweetest roomie who loved to cook but she also loved to bake. I’m talking delicious treats around the clock. When I moved out Sophomore year I knew I had to change my eating habits or I was going to be broke, unhealthy and overweight.
I love to cook but honestly it’s difficult to cook for one. When you’re scrolling through Pinterest most recipes are for a family. Not only is that expensive, it’s unnecessary! I want to share today a few tips I’ve learned over the years for cooking for one (& now I cook for two but Babe is such a picky eater so that’s a post for a different day!).
–PS. This post is not just for college kids! It’s great for anyone in the kitchen looking to meal plan, eat healthy, save a dollar or maybe learn a few new recipes & tricks!
Meal Planning. Meal planning is the most important or you end up running around the store like a crazy person and get home just to realize you don’t have anything you need for a full recipe. I like to do my grocery shopping at the beginning of the week. I find 2-4 recipes I want to make for dinner that week & write down every ingredient I need on one giant list. I then go into my kitchen and cross out things I already have. I then think of a few lunch items I want for the week. Eating at home not only saves SO much money but it also is so much better for you. Here’s an example of some of my favorite lunches:
Spinach & Arugula Salad: One-Two handfuls of Spinach leaves, one-two handfuls of arugula, lemon juice, roasted red pepper slices, a spoonful of hummus, a vegetarian chicken patty (cut up) & crumbled goat cheese
Flatbread crackers with turkey & guacamole: A couple of flat bread crackers, a few pieces of turkey, grapes, an avocado mashed up with lime juice on top & cucumber to dip in the ‘guacamole’
Egg Salad Lettuce Wrap: Egg whites cut up and mixed with yellow mustard and plain greek yogurt in a romaine lettuce wrap with some grapes or sun chips
All of these items can be mixed and matched to create new lunches everyday! I also add some snacks to the list and try not to buy anything unhealthy at the store.. if it’s in the house I will eat it! A few of my favorite snacks are rice cake chips, veggie straws, edamame (WalMart has the microwave packages 4 for $5 & they just take a couple of minutes to heat up!), grapes and cottage cheese. If I’m looking for a quick meal I love, love, love ‘Dr. McDougall’s Instant Soups’, they’re just like ramen noodles but five million times tastier & healthier. My favorite is the Pad Thai but Whole Foods has a bunch of different flavors and they’re each under $3.
Recipes for One. Almost any recipe you find on Pinterest can be made for one in two easy ways. First you can look for recipes that make excellent leftovers. What I mean: I love to cook chicken in a batch on Sunday night & find different ways to use it throughout the week. Maybe I eat it with veggies Sunday night, shredded over a salad for lunch the next day and then in a burrito bowl the next night for Dinner. If you’re looking to make a casserole or dish that normally serves four and you don’t want to worry about leftovers, just cut the ingredients into half or fourth. Instead of using 4 chicken breasts, 2 cups of chicken broth and 4 tablespoons of garlic use 1 chicken breast, 1/2 cup of chicken broth and 1 tablespoon of garlic. Remember this may cut your cooking time down as well.
Gadgets, Storage & Tips. One of my favorite things I bought in College is my George Foreman Grill. It grills everything from chicken to turkey burgers and is perfect for quesadillas, paninis and veggies. It is easy to move and store and heats up quickly! I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve used my Foreman since moving to Chattanooga. Another gadget I love is my spiralizer (you can get one for about $14 at Walgreens or Target). One of my favorite quick dinners is ‘zoodles’ and it’s cheap, easy and healthy.
Zoodles: 1-2 zucchinis (spiralized), 6-8 cherry tomatoes (cut in half), spinach, garlic and pesto- sautéed together in a skillet for about 10 minutes.
Buying & Storing: My eyes are bigger than my stomach, I always would buy so many veggies and they would go bad by the time I got around to cooking them later in the week. It’s better to make a quick mid-week grocery run than throw money away. Do a little research and figure out which fruits + veggies go in the fridge and which do better room temperature. If you’re a smoothie lover you can divide your fruits and greens into individual baggies and freeze them, they will last so, so much longer. Buy chicken breasts or tenderloins in bulk and separate into individual baggies as soon as you get home. Put 1 serving into each baggie (1 breast if you’re cooking for 1, 2 if you’re cooking for 2) and pull out each morning/night to thaw. You’ll always have the correct amount of chicken!
Lemon juice is so yummy in water but also makes the best & healthiest salad dressing!
I hope this post helped some! If you follow me on Pinterest I am constantly saving new tips and recipes. I think life is all about balance, you don’t have to be an extreme healthy nut every single meal but you also want to take care of your body.
I couldn’t go a whole post talking about clothes, don’t worry! I actually spend a lot of time during the week running errands in leggings but there is a way to do it without looking sloppy! My solution is great fit, fun patterns and soft fabrics. My favorite shop to purchase ‘athleisure wear’ at is Taylor Paige Boutique. It’s like the super exclusive, local alternative to Lululemon that offers personal consultations and a small selection of pieces so that you can look unique & not worry about everyone having the exact same outfit as you! The best part is she ships too, so you can order even if you’re not local to Chattanooga. This look works for running to running errands and everything in between.
Email or text to order anything you see here or on their Instagram (@TaylorPaige_Boutique):
617-306-1419 or Stephanie@TaylorPaigeBoutique.com
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Ps. Taylor Paige Boutique is having a little pre-holiday soiree with 20% off storewide and Bobbi Brown make up lessons! Drop by, email or text to shop or make an appointment for your specialized make up lesson! I hope to see you there. 🙂