Get the balancing act right
First of all it’s important to know what a healthy meal should look like.
A balanced meal should have plenty of veg or salad, lean protein (lean chicken, red meat, fish, eggs, tofu or legumes/beans), wholegrains (rice, pasta, noodles, couscous, quinoa or potatoes) and some healthy fats.
Fill your plate like this:
- ½ plate veg / salad
- ¼ plate lean protein
- ¼ plate wholegrains or starchy veg
Plan before you shop
Plan ahead. Plan your main meals for the week around seasonal vegetables (you’ll get these cheap), two batch meals and 1-2 quick, single-serve fresh meals. Choose recipes with similar ingredients to cut down on waste and save money. This way, you won’t need to buy bucket loads of different products every single week, and you won’t be scratching your head, wondering what’s on the menu every day.
Cook once, eat twice
Don’t work harder, work smarter. Cook once and eat twice. Get acquainted with great batch cooking recipes (think pasta bolognese, curries, casserole and soups). These taste better the next day as the flavour usually develops overnight.
Kitchen hack: separate the dish into a few portions and pop these into the freezer for emergency meals or those ‘can’t be bothered’ nights – we all have them.
Learn some single serve recipes
Baked spuds, quesadillas, wraps and salads can all be made fast, and in single serves. Switch up your flavours by using different sauces and condiments.
Get creative with leftovers
Don’t get sick of eating the same meal again and again. Use that leftover chicken to make a special fried rice the next day. Add those leftover roast veggies to make a salad for lunch. Repurpose leftover chilli to create the ultimate baked spud – yum!
Use the pantry and freezer to your advantage
Stock up on staples that have a long shelf life. You never know when canned beans, tinned tomatoes, lentils, pasta, rice, frozen peas, frozen veg and fruit will come in handy.
Better yet, stock up on sundried tomatoes, capers, olives and fetta – just a handful of these ingredients will add loads of flavour to your meal.
You can create so many dishes using just pantry ingredients. Our favourites include Indian dahl (lentil curry), vegtable fritters (add a poached egg on top) and chicken and corn soup (left over chicken with canned corn, stock, frozen peas and soy sauce to taste). These are simple recipes, and they’re super tasty.
Embrace ‘brinner’ (breakfast for dinner)
Who said eggs are a breakfast food only? You can eat them at any time of day! They’re super versatile, cheaper than most meats, a great source of protein, super nutritious and fill you up.
Scramble ‘em, poach ‘em, bake ‘em, turn ‘em into an omelette – with eggs, your cooking options are endless.
Get swap happy
Don’t have all the ingredients a recipe calls for? Chuck something else in instead. Heaps of ingredients can easily be substituted without sacrificing taste or quality. Not only will you take fewer trips to the shops, but you’ll waste less food.
It’s easy to get bored cooking for one. Cooking should be about more than just giving our bodies fuel – it should be fun and relaxing.
If you’re stuck in a rut, challenge yourself! Break out of the ‘cooking for one’ monotony and aim to try a new recipe each fortnight. This could be just the thing to reignite your passion.