I've had several clients get embarrassed when they tell me they often eat alone. But I have (good) news for you! Not only is eating solo super common, you can easily make the experience healthy.
have to say, as much as I love the company of others I also love a nice, quiet meal by myself. I've taken myself out for many solo meals. Sometimes I bring a book or people watch, and other times
I simply enjoy the peace and quiet, as well as the delicious food and good tunes.
Not all solo meals are filled with calm, though, and that's why I'm encouraging you to keep things fresh and mindful—eating off of real dishes, playing calming music (and turning off the TV), and lighting a candle can do wonders for the soul. And, of course, seek out the company of others when you're yearning for companionship.
How to Make Dining Solo Better for Your Health
As with any eating scenario, eating alone can be healthy—or not. Japanese researchers recently investigated this in a study of adults 65-plus, published in the journal Appetite.
The findings: Solo eaters might be less likely to eat fruits and vegetables. And men who live alone and eat alone are more likely to be obese—and to skip meals. Women are more likely to be obese and skip meals when they eat alone yet live with others.
I often batch cook a healthy recipe when I'm eating alone so I have grab-and-go portions at the ready for lunch or dinner the next day.
I share several more ways to revamp your solo dining experience in my FoodNetwork.com article. Don't let dining alone get you down, because it really can be a healthy and liberating experience!
Tips for Cooking for One
If you find yourself flying solo for a lot of meals, consider these tips for eating a healthy meal:
- Think about your meal containing several parts. What fruit or vegetable are you going to include? How about the protein (this can be fish, eggs, etc.)? And the healthy grain (such as brown rice or oatmeal)?If you’d like to add a fat, think about healthy ways to do so: Choose an oil-based salad dressing, add a sprinkling of nuts to a stir-fry or a slice of avocado to a taco.
- Prep veggies in advance. One of my favorite ways to prepare vegetables is also super easy. I’ll roast a tray of butternut squash, mushrooms, or eggplant—then toss the extras in the fridge for later in the week. I mostly eat the veggies with meals, but I do love roasted butternut squash as a snack.
- Enjoy your environment. Research shows that multi-tasking while you eat — such as watching TV — can cause you to eat faster and enjoy your food less, possibly leading to overeating later. So set the scene for a relaxing meal: Eat at a table with a pretty plate. Play some music, and pour a cup of your favorite non-calorie beverage, such as seltzer or tea.
Need more inspo for turning meal-time efforts into a small-scale extravaganza? Grab some ideas from this SilverSneakers.com article, including one of my favorite, fast, and easy recipes for one.
Continue the healthy cooking-for-just-you trend into the next morning, with a nutritious and delish French toast for one.
Amy's Recipe to Try
Make this meal for one: Italian Flatbread Breakfast Panini!
My favorite thing about cooking and eating for one? You can eat breakfast at any time of day you wish! This breakfast panini makes a fab lunch or dinner.
If you're jonesing for dessert, whip up a fruit-based nice cream and freeze extra portions.
This blog post was updated in May 2020. A version of this content originally appeared on WeightWatchers.com.
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