Preparing servings for smaller families

MSU Extension teaches empty nesters how to reduce the amount of food prepared for a smaller household.

As children leave home it is more difficult to prepare meals that don’t serve large amounts and provide leftovers. After preparing meals for a whole family that consists of children and a spouse for years it is hard to break the habit without considering fast food as the first option. It is important to continue cooking meals that are well balanced and match the guidelines of MyPlate, and include all of the food groups.

Michigan State University Extension provides great nutrition education classes that assist individuals with their meal planning, including cooking for one or two. These classes are of no cost to the participants. The MSU Extension Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education (SNAP-Ed) program strives to help save participants money on their food budget, educate about nutrition, empower with the knowledge of food safety and improve shopping techniques.

MSU Extension’s nutrition education programs provide helpful resources and recipes including salmon soup that serves two to three people. Washtenaw County MSU Extension office even offers a special six week series program for empty nesters or participants who only have one in the household. Below is the small portion recipe for salmon soup.

Salmon soup


1 – 5 ounce can of boneless, skinless salmon

1/2 cup of frozen mixed vegetables

1/2 cup frozen diced potatoes

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup low fat milk (added at the end)


Place the first four ingredients in a saucepan and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are done. Add the milk and bring back up to a simmer. Immediately turn off the heat. The taste improves if stored in the refrigerator for at least three hours and then reheated. This particular recipe freezes well for up to one month.

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