Preparing low calorie meals for one person is incredibly easy when you consider the endless healthy food options available at most supermarkets these days. The challenge is preparing small meals, or knowing how to store the remaining portions for later use when you have to prepare larger quantities of food.
Low calorie meals for one will usually include produce like vegetables and fruit, plus small quantities of brown rice or other grains, and lean protein like fish, turkey, chicken, or beans. Luckily, all of these foods can be purchased in small packages, or you can buy them in larger quantities and freeze them in individual serving sizes for quick reheating.
Here’s a quick guide to low calorie meal ideas for one person:
Meat and fish is usually available in small packages that contain 3 filets or cutlets. You can cook these and freeze them for meals later, or use them over the course of a few days. For example, a package of 3 chicken cutlets can create 3 different meals. Have one cutlet for dinner with rice and vegetables. The next day, cut another cutlet into strips and add it to a salad, and then make a chicken sandwich or chicken stir fry for dinner that evening with the third cutlet. That’s 3 low calorie meals for one person, from one small purchase.
Vegetables and Fruit:
Vegetables and fruit make great low calorie meals for one. Lettuce salad with assorted raw vegetables thrown in is inexpensive and easy to make for meals. You can buy fruit by the piece, so you only have to buy as many pieces as you’ll eat in the course of a few days. Fruit salad with 1/4 cup of low fat cottage cheese makes a satisfying lunch or snack. A vegetable stir-fry with chicken or shrimp added in is very low calorie and tasty. Baked apples make a great snack or dessert, and you only have to bake one at a time if you don’t want to have extra on hand. Even chopping up raw vegetables and fruit and dipping them in hummus or low fat yogurt makes an easy, satisfying meal.
You can also buy fruit and vegetables in small cups or cans, and even small frozen packages to keep on hand in the freezer. These are helpful for those times when you haven’t had a chance to get to the supermarket to buy fresh produce. They’re still low calorie and tasty – just be sure to buy them without added sugar or sodium.
Grains and Beans:
Dry grains and beans are sold in bulk, which seems like overkill for just one person, but they store very well for long-term usage. Get some good quality air-tight plastic or glass storage containers and use them to store rice, quinoa, beans, peas, lentils, and cereal. Store them in a cool, dry area and they should be good for months. Then just prepare as much as you’ll eat for one or two meals at a time. You can also buy rice already cooked in small cups or pouches; these are easily heated in the microwave for meals. Some varieties of cooked beans are also available in small cans for easy heating and eating.
Eggs will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks (note the expiration date on the carton), so they’re easy to keep on hand for quick omelets and egg salad sandwiches for one. Low fat yogurt comes in single-serving size containers, which can make a good snack or lunch with a piece of fruit. Hard cheeses will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks in airtight containers or plastic bags, so it’s easy to cut them up into 1 ounce servings and enjoy one or two a day.
Preparing low calorie meals for one person is really no different than preparing low calorie meals for many people – you just have to buy smaller portions, or properly store larger portions so they’ll last longer.