Do you make separate meals for yourself that are different from the meals your family eats? Or maybe you like to pack your lunch to bring to work? In either case, meal prepping that involves meals for one can be a bit different than planning multi-serving dishes. Based on the needs of an average healthy woman, here are a few strategies for planning solo meals that help create a healthy balance.
Think veggies first
Sandwiches and wraps are easy, but they can be too heavy in carbs and too skimpy on veggies, especially if you won’t be very active in the hours after your meal. Instead, start with a base of greens (like kale that’s been lightly misted with extra virgin olive oil and massaged), raw greens, or oven roasted or lightly sautéed veggies. Aim for about two cups, or two generous handfuls.
Pick a lean protein
Quick options include canned wild salmon, or canned pulses (beans, lentils, or chickpeas) that have been drained and well rinsed. Hard boiled eggs, pre-cooked and chilled chicken breast, or extra lean ground turkey are also healthy choices. For meat, poultry, or seafood, aim for three ounces cooked. That’s about half a can of salmon, or a quarter of a pound of raw poultry. For eggs, go for two. For pulses, stick with a half cup, or use smaller portions of a few different proteins.
Choose healthy starches and fats
Some of the simplest healthy starches include instant brown rice, or canned pulses (which serve double duty, since they can count as either a plant-based protein or fiber rich carbs). Oven baked sweet potatoes and cooked whole grains, like corn and quinoa, are also great choices. For beneficial fat, keep it simple. Stick with extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil, fresh avocado, nuts, seeds, nut/seed butters, and tahini.
Combining these staples in different ways--using the portions suggested--can help you create easy breezy single serving meals that will leave you feeling satisfied, nourished, and energized.
For a few delicious examples of meals for one that take just 15 minutes, check out the Very Veggie Unfried Brown Rice and Kale Salmon Spring Quinoa Bowl recipes at www.rawl.net. And if you’re pressed for time and need that solo meal even faster, here are a few super speedy ideas:
- Drizzle a few handfuls of kale with a bit of EVOO and massage to wilt. Season with a bit of black pepper and sea salt. Top with three ounces of chopped all natural deli turkey slices, a quarter cup of walnuts, and a small, chopped apple.
Sauté a handful of kale and any other veggies of your choice, such as red bell pepper, tomatoes, onions, or mushrooms in extra virgin olive oil over low heat with a dash of Italian herb seasoning and a pinch of minced garlic. Add a few eggs to scramble, and serve with a half cup of heated canned vegetarian refried beans, and half of an avocado.