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May 2021

Cooking for One: Make It Healthier


Cooking for one can seem like a lot of work. So when hunger strikes, it is tempting to reach for something easy, like a frozen pizza or a doughnut. But many processed foods like these contain too little fiber and too much salt, sugar, and saturated fat.   

Instead, make simple dishes by combining wholesome basics with healthy convenience items. Try prewashed salad greens, presliced low-fat cheese, bags of frozen fruits and vegetables, canned low-sodium beans, and boneless chicken breast.

Here are some dishes that will give you great nutrition in minutes without much effort. And the best part? Most require no pots or pans.

Instead of: Fast-food or a frozen breakfast sandwich 

Try: Scrambled egg whites or egg substitute and whole wheat toast

Instead of: A doughnut or pastry 

Try: A whole-grain toaster waffle topped with strawberries

Instead of: A frozen cheese pizza

Try: A whole wheat pita bread topped with reduced-sodium pasta sauce, prewashed fresh spinach, and a slice of low-fat cheese. Broil in oven until the cheese melts.

Instead of: Chinese takeout

Try: Quick-cooking brown rice topped with sautéed frozen stir-fry vegetables and precooked diced boneless chicken breast. Season with low-sodium soy sauce.

Instead of: A fast-food burrito

Try: A warm, whole wheat flour tortilla filled with canned black beans (heated on the stove or in a microwave oven), grated low-fat cheese, and bottled salsa

Instead of: An ice cream sundae with hot fudge sauce (a high-fat topping)

Try: A low-fat vanilla yogurt topped with thawed frozen mango slices and chocolate sauce (a low-fat topping)

Health bit

Filling your plate with produce is the way to go! A recent study shows that adults who eat two fruit and three vegetable servings daily have the lowest risk of dying of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and cancer. Not all picks are created equal though. Cruciferous and leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits contribute to this effect, while fruit juice, potatoes, and other starchy veggies don’t.

Online Medical Reviewer: Chris Garvey, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, BSN, MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2021
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