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Cooking Level: Beginning

Home Town: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Living In: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Sandra is asking: (4 answers)
Hello Single People and Formerly Single People: What quick and easy ways to you plan or schedule your meals so you meet All the nutritional requirements for a healthy adult lifestyle. I would appreciate having some hints and tips for a busy lifestyle and at times an unmotivated cook.

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Last updated: Dec. 2, 2013 1:03 am
Posted: Apr. 19, 2013 6:10 pm
Answered by: chairlifter
Apr. 19, 2013 6:33 pm
Hi Sandra Its not rocket science. A meat gives you a protein. Pick a starch. Potato, pasta, rice, or whatever goes with your protein choice. Dress that up with complimentary veggies that join up well with the meat and starch. (A salad is always good!)
Apr. 19, 2013 7:32 pm
Planning is key. I check the store ad (only one grocery, small, in town). I plan a menu based on what is on sale/what is in my fridge and freezer. Prepping the food immediately--washing fruit, washing and chopping vegetables, cooking and freezing serving-sized portions of rice, beans, and meat--makes it easier to assemble a meal. I like Romaine lettuce for salads because it seems to last longer in the fridge. I eat salads most of the summer. You can assemble several salads at once, varying the ingredients and the smount of various greens in each salad. One might be Greek, another Italian, a third a garden salad, all ready when you get off work for a quick meal. I use the Glad 3-cup containers with a section in the lid for dressing for portion control. In winter I focus on soups, freezing several kinds in serving-sized containers so I have a selection to choose from. Omelets make an easy high-protein meal and it's easy to add already-prepped vegetables, a salad, or hash browns for a quick meal. I try to focus on whole grained breads and brown rice for carbs, good-quality produce, and meats that I enjoy vs just saving money. I have an advantage in that my husband is home on weekends, so I'm often able to make meals (not salads) to send with him and am able to use part of a recipe for him and keep part for myself. I usually halve a recipe, esp if it's the first time I've made it, so that I don't have to face it time and time again. Plan snacks, too!
Apr. 29, 2013 8:43 pm
yes, it is not rocket science, but perhaps there are tricks and tips to make things easy like always eating x at breakfast.
Answered by: douglasde0519
Apr. 19, 2013 7:03 pm
Setting aside a day to cook ahead works. Pick a weekend day or day off where you can make those meals that will keep well refrigerated, and you can reheat as needed. Things like casseroles and the like. I'd also say get yourself something like a George Foreman grill. If you're feeling lazy you can quickly grill up some frozen chicken. I got through quite a few years of college on almost nothing but chicken and rice for dinner.
Apr. 29, 2013 8:45 pm
What rice dishes did you make?
Answered by: Thisni Caza
Apr. 19, 2013 7:07 pm
Make the full number of servings of recipes such as soups and casseroles, to have that night and the next and freeze the rest. Make a list of staples (like canned beans, frozen spinach, ETC) that you can use to make quick dishes when you don't feel like cooking and also didn't shop! Make sure as mentioned above to have a protein, some good carbs, and fill in with fruits and veggies. Have you used/reviewed the My Plate concept/recipes? YOu can make veggie and/or fruit salads when you have time or just have a fruit and a vegetable if not.
Thisni Caza
Apr. 19, 2013 7:11 pm
I've devised a couple of methods that I think help food last longer. Like pineapple. (Right now I'm having my dessert: pineapple and banana.) For pineapple, I use a 'lettuce keeper' bowl with a little rack in the bottom because the pineapple lasts longer if it doesn't sit in it's juice. For strawberries, I wash them, remove the green leaves but don't hull, dry them, and put them in a plastic container, stem side down, single layer. Bananas: separate your bananas and keep them individually (not close to each other), out of sunlight.
Apr. 19, 2013 7:32 pm
Changing from single to a couple is a bit challenging (and when you are going to multi member "family" and dialling back to empty nesting) gets challenging. Been there, done that, never happier than when I get the whole mob back, but I learned to figure on a "meal plan" for the week and so the Bones of that would be the meats/proteins, and some sort of "leftover" plan for what didn't get eaten up. Veggies keep a good deal longer, and you can splice them in. The second diner should have input on the menu plan, and be offered the opportunity to cook as well, just that it doesn't become too one sided, as its too easy to favour your own tastes as opposed anyone else's. Having a grill of some sort makes things quicker, and many times tastier. According to budget, a "cook's night off" where you dine out or order in makes a good deal of sense. Made ahead and frozen things work (and freezers save a bunch of money!) as do pasta meals or chili and such, as these are quick to make , as are the make ahead things you can do in a crock pot. Cooking for a crowd is a bit more challenging, and that starts to happen, too, but you will find yourself growing, and growing into where you want to be. Fear not, and approach love, Life, and cooking with unfettered abandon!
Apr. 29, 2013 8:47 pm
Answered by: Ron-D'ia
Apr. 20, 2013 5:17 am
I have a 6 year old so dinner can't be whatever and since he goes to bed at 8 on school nights our time is limited. I don't want to cook during the week so On Sunday I cook a few meals. Friends and family show up for dinner and the rest I put in containers for lunch so when I'm racing out the door I can throw it in my lunch bag. After the homework is done I can heat up a main dish, and add a side or veg.
Apr. 20, 2013 7:08 am
I don't think healthy eating only relates to singles or married couples. Even if you have a family, you can prepare healthy menus everyone enjoys. I would focus more on which ingredients to avoid for a healthier lifestyle and which types of meat/fish you/your family prefers and build your menus around that.
Apr. 20, 2013 8:09 am
I always have my favorites in the freezer, meatballs in sauce, which can be parlayed into ziti or lasagna, or chicken parm, or sausage which can turn into a soup, Sausage peppers & onions or SOPP (sausage onions peppers & potaoto sandwiches, a few favorite casseroles,like stuffed cabbage casserole or hot chicken salad, Beef cubes, which can turn into a soup, Cuban Pot roast, or kabobs and I cook, and freeze in portion sizes,I do most of my cooking on a weekend day, since I also feed mom, she gets frozen portions as well. In the winter it's all about soups w/ lots of veggies,potatoes,pasta, more like a meal, I too shop the sales, and always have the staples in the house, so I can cook whatever, and by that I mean, potatoes, rice, canned tomatoes, veggies etc. That's what works for me, Good Luck
Apr. 29, 2013 8:50 pm
Thanks. i like having favorites on hand like spring rolls, meatballs, pasta and sauce, soups and more on hand. I knew people would have great ideas too.
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