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Onely Eats February 9, 2009

Posted by Onely in "Against Love"...?, Food for Thought, Your Responses Requested!.
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For the last week or so, I have been RAVENOUS. I don’t know why. I have been consuming way too many carbs, as I know I shouldn’t, but those don’t fill me up either. Since I live alone, I don’t have anyone to cook for me or to share my food with. Sometimes, this means I don’t eat well, or at all, or at the right times, or in the right quantities. A lot of times I don’t get the nutrients I need. And when I do cook, it’s difficult to know how much to cook — usually I prepare more food than I need for a single meal and freeze everything that’s extra. I find myself wasting perishable food that can’t be frozen (like dairy), because I can’t eat it all before it spoils.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this in the past few days because of my strange, apparently unquenchable hunger. And I have been noticing food commercials — particularly commercials for these new “Meals for Two,” which you just stick in the microwave for ten minutes or so and then share with your adoring partner.

I am certain that if I started buying the “Meals for Two,” I would eat the whole damn bag. I know from experience — I love Annie’s brand boxed (organic, all-natural) mac-and-cheese and buy it whenever it’s on sale. Serving size is for two, but I have yet to eat only half of what I cook in one sitting!

In the past, I have tried to be vigilant about what I put into my body (I really dig organics, especially organic dairy products, especially after reading Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma), but must always balance this vigilance with an awareness that I usually can’t consume a dozen organic, cage-free brown eggs before they expire.

So I try to limit my spending and at least spend my money on foods low on the artificial ingredient scale, but sometimes I just give up. Like yesterday. The grocery store was packed, and given that it was the end of the day on Sunday, the shelves were stripped bare (BAD GROCERY, BAD!), so my selection was limited. And I was hungry. As a reesult, I didn’t spend much time on the labels and instead just went with my gut — a bad decision always, but an especially bad decision when one lives alone and has no one to cook for.

This is one of the challenges I live with as a Oneler. I make due the best I can, but sometimes even my best planning fails — like when I’m hungry, stressed, or both. Which happens a lot, I might add.

I plan to post some good resources for “cooking for one” in the very near future – but in the meantime, I’d like to know what you, valuable readers, have to offer by way of suggestions in the culinary department?

— L


1. Alan - February 9, 2009

Seafood is a healthy addition to meals, but it doesn’t keep well.

However, frozen seafood keeps a long time. Stores like Trader Joe’s have extensive collections of frozen seafood (though I think most grocery stores have some as well).

Note that I’m not referring to frozen breaded fish like Gorton’s.

2. onely - February 9, 2009

Yes! I do buy lots of frozen shrimp and make it into a curry! Unfortunately, Louisville does NOT yet have a Trader Joe’s… I do so love that store. But we don’t have it yet. :{


3. lori - February 9, 2009

My tricks:
1. Cheese: as soon as I get a slab I immediately take off the plastic and wrap it in waxed paper, then return it to a plastic baggie. I haven’t lost any since (and I buy the Costco size).

2. Veggies- Tupperware makes an incredible refrigerator box that has air-holes that you open or close according to the produce type (and a veggie/fruit list on the side to tell you how to set). I can keep even spinach in there for nearly two weeks while I eat it down.

3. When produce etc. starts threatening to turn, I make a big pot of soup and spice it up, usually adding a package of fish, and placing it in mason jars to eat for the week- totally healthy; and I believe glass containers keep food better than plastic (except the box in #2)

4. onely - February 9, 2009

Oh, what excellent tips, Lori! Thanks — and I had never heard of the Tupperware container you describe, but will look for it now. It sounds like a good investment. I’m glad, too, that you offered the fish suggestion for the soup — I really don’t eat much meat and will really only cook seafood. I’m sure veggie-and-bean soup would also be excellent!

— L

5. bobby - February 9, 2009

With more than half the population being single, one would think that meals (along with most other things) would be geared towards singles, at least half the time.

6. lori - February 9, 2009

Glad to help- I have learned the hard way and I’m not in a position to toss food unless it’s really really bad. You shouldn’t have trouble with that Tupperware thingy- but it’s a long narrow box, about 14 x 7 x7.

Ya, bags of beans and rice are fairly cheap and can be made into a million healthy dishes with spices and veggies etc.. Soups are awesome because they can also be mixed with rice and cheese for a more hearty meal when you’re ravenous and soup just doesn’t fill you up. (It’s 33 degrees here in Reno and I’ve been really hungry for the past two days too) Plus they’re almost impossible to screw up. A bottle of red wine that has accidentally become undrinkable goes into the fridge for soups.

Oh, I forgot two more faves:

For fresh basil supply- when I buy a bunch I clean it, chop it, and stick it into ice-cube trays and cover with either water or olive oil. It keeps for a long time and you can’t believe how fresh it tastes when cooked into a dish.

When I have eggs that I haven’t eaten and I am afraid they might go bad- I boil all of them to get extra fridge-time. (I boiled a half-dozen last night for this very reason and egg salad is my lunch today)

Seriously about the glass food storage-I transfer crackers to a glass container and they last longer.

7. Singlutonary - February 9, 2009

I don’t have any great suggestions as I am pretty bad at eating myself but working on it. In order to really eat well, its important to cook which takes time and results in leftovers which results in a very repetitive week of eating.

Lately, I’ve been trying to gather some singles around me to share in meals together so that our time and our digestive systems can be more gently and more efficiently used.

However, in this busy world, its hard to get people together. I haven’t given up yet though!

8. Lauri - February 10, 2009

We all have periods when we don’t eat as well as we’d like to. But I don’t think being onely causes as many problems with eating as you’ve described. While it is true that not having anyone to eat with can lower your motivation to cook the proper foods or make you cook and eat too much, you also don’t have anyone else to influence how you eat! I had a boyfriend who loved ice cream, so what did I do? I ate ice cream with him, every night. I also eat out much less as a onely, which I think is generally more a healthy practice.

Another advantage is that you don’t have anyone criticizing how you eat. People have a natural instinct to rebel when someone tries to control how they eat, and therefore they will eat more. I don’t know, but when I am having a week of just eating everything in sight, I’m glad I can at least enjoying it without someone making a comment.

9. onely - February 11, 2009

Lauri — you’re absolutely RIGHT!!! Wow, thanks for your refreshing perspective. It’s true, I don’t drink as frequently as I have in the past when having a boyfriend, and I also don’t eat meat very often (which is what I’d prefer) because I don’t have a partner who loves meat (and almost all of my exes have loved meat). AND I definitely was happy not to have anyone else making a face as I ate bowls and bowls of cereal last week 🙂

Yay for all that. Thanks for reminding us!

— L

10. lori - February 11, 2009

Terrific reminder about eating better as onely: during a 6 month relationship in late 2007 I gained 12 pounds because of all the dining out and the guy was a talented chef himself- I’ve never eaten so richly and so often! BUT because I had never been a big dinner eater, I managed to maintain my weight for years. It has taken me a full year to re-train myself to not eat at night and not only are my clothes almost fitting again, but I have more energy. Also, I’m not drained from arguing about whether or not I was weird because I preferred an apple to his gourmet spreads. My rule has always been eat when hungry, don’t when not. Another person in the picture without good boundaries makes that a struggle. (Worse would be having to set an example for kids. oy)

11. Singles Resource: Home Buying « Onely: Single and Happy - March 12, 2009

[…] be interested in reading about on Onely, please do so. In the next week or two, I plan to revisit this post about eating healthy while single and hope to use some of your comments in combination with other […]

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