In a world of endless options, especially when it comes to food, it’s easy for single Boomer women to default to going to restaurants all the time, grabbing take out, or even (gasp!) driving through for fast food come mealtime. After all, it’s “just you.”

And not to pile on, but we all know this type of “plan” falls significantly short from the health goals we hold dear at this time of our life. Moreover, if we’re being honest, it produces guilt and stress that we just don’t need.

So how do we avoid falling into the “easy trap”?

Here are 5 simple things you can do to keep your nutrition mindful and your plate plentiful:

Start with the End in Mind

Make a plan that works with you and not against you. When we start with a plan that’s more defined, but still loose enough to give us the flexibility and options we want, it makes eating at home more palatable (pun intended).

One of the ways to do this is to keep your freezer stocked with simple ingredients that can cook up fast and easy, like salmon, for example.

Cook up extra and turn your leftover into something else. So, if you go with salmon for dinner, the extra portion you cooked on purpose becomes salmon salad for lunch the next day. This takes leftovers to a whole new level.

Take Advantage of “Done for You”

Salad greens, spinach, and more are washed, ready to go, and sitting in little tubs waiting to come home with you to become a salad or stir fry.

You can throw a handful of baby spinach into a soup, a stir fry, or even a smoothie daily until the tub is empty. This simple preparation will easily boost your nutrition with every meal.

Turn Mealtime into “Me” Time

Taking the time to make a lovely dinner “just for you” is an act of self-care. Injecting mindfulness into the equation with your end goal in mind (to be healthy and robust), will help you create magic in the kitchen – just for you!

For this purpose, light candles when you have dinner and send up a prayer of gratitude for the meal you’re about to partake in.

Keep It Simple

If you have a freezer full of the protein you like to eat and a fridge full of veggies, you’re home free.

Remember to use your less robust veggies first – things like lettuces and spinach are going to be less hardy than a bunch of broccoli. Plan around the delicate produce and you’ll be eating it rather than throwing it out.

Adjust Your Appliances

The small Instant Pot (3 quart) and the toaster oven are both game-changing.

The Instant Pot will make you beef stew in less than an hour (and yes, you’ll get some freezer-worthy leftovers out of the deal) and create soups, taco meat, and even a cheesecake, lickety-split. It’s a pressure cooker and slow cooker in one – and makes the best rice.

The toaster oven is especially fabulous to keep your energy consumption down and, at the same time, giving you the same baking or roasting ability as a full-sized oven.

Here is a simple Instant Pot recipe that freezes exceptionally well for some epic leftovers!

Recipe: Better Than Take Out Mongolian Beef

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound flank steak, cut into strips

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup low sodium beef broth

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

1 bunch green onions, chopped

Directions:

Place oil in the cooking pot and press “saute.” Season beef with salt and pepper and add to pot.

Brown meat in batches, then remove from pot and set aside.

Add garlic and ginger; sauté for a minute.

Mix in soy sauce, broth, brown sugar, and vinegar. Whisk together and add beef back to pot.

Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.

Turn off the pressure cooker and use the quick pressure release. Carefully remove the lid.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Whisk into the sauce, and stir for 1 to 3 minutes or until it thickens. Serve with a sprinkle of green onions over the top.

Serving Suggestion: Serve on rice. Add a spinach salad for extra nutrition.

Eating for one can be enjoyable, especially when you add mindfulness into the equation.

What’s your favorite thing to cook, just for yourself? What do you most (or least) enjoy about cooking for one? What do you think can change the stereotype of one=lonely? Please share in the comments below!

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