Downsize your cooking style

Cooking for one or two can be challenging, by planning ahead, meals can be nutritious and delicious!

The holidays have come to an end and your household is shrinking back to its normal size. Perhaps that size is one or two. Do you struggle to cook smaller meals? Cooking for one or two can be a challenge; many recipes are created to serve four or more. We also tend to see food packaged in the store to serve larger portions. These hurdles often leave you trying to decide what to do with leftover food to prevent waste. Quite often smaller families avoid cooking meals and go for sandwiches, cereal and frozen meals. Just because your family size is one or two doesn’t mean you can’t put a homemade meal on your table.

Tips to make this happen include having a meal plan or a menu for the week. By utilizing this, you will make good use of leftovers. For example if you baked a chicken for one meal and used the leftovers or “planned overs” for sandwiches, soup, salad or a small casserole, you would be stretching your food dollar, not wasting food; you’re also creating a variety of dishes to enjoy during the week.

When storing your “planned over” food, make sure you label each item with the contents and date and refrigerate or freeze immediately. By doing this you will not have to guess what is inside the package. As you add items to your freezer, make sure you move older items forward to create a rotation system of first in, first out. You can further utilize your freezer by creating a casserole, soup or stew from the original meal and freezing individual sized servings. Many foods freeze well and will help you avoid throwing food away.

Other small family money saving suggestions includes:

  • Buy frozen fruit and veggies in bags. Pour out what you will be using and put the remainder back into the freezer.
  • After shopping, repackage meat, poultry and fish into single portions in freezer wrap or freezer bags. Freeze and use as needed.
  • Watch for food products sold in single serving sizes including: Juice, yogurt, frozen meals, soup and pudding. These smaller containers allow for a greater variety of food choices and less waste from larger containers.

Michigan State University Extension encourages that with a little planning, it will help to expand your choices of nutritious meals and limit the number of trips made to the grocery store or restraint. By utilizing a weekly menu, you will be able to enjoy home cooked meals and fill your freezer with “planned overs” for delicious meals at a later date.

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