Eating for One on a Budget
Prepare a salad base for several days.
When you want salad, purchase a head of salad greens or a pre-prepared bag. Use three large sealable bowls and divide the salad. Consider adding in toppings with a low water content – i.e. not veggies like cucumbers or tomatoes – such as bacon bits, boiled egg pieces, almond slivers, shredded carrots, bell pepper slices, and sesame seeds. Then each night, you can add in the juicy stuff and dressing. Pan-fry a chicken breast or saute beef strips to add on top for a quick, inexpensive meal. By making three salads, you can ensure that you use up all of the produce before it goes bad.
Use salad and other weight-based bars.
One of the problems of creating a good grocery budget for a single person is that you often need so few of a single ingredient that it seems like it’s not worth it. Most people either give up on the dish or buy a large quantity that blows their budget. Another option is to use fresh food bars at grocery stores for items like baby corn, olives, or even shredded cheese that you need for a single recipe. There’s no waste, and you spend less!
Invite friends over!
Don’t be shy about inviting friends over for a meal. You will spend less money than you would going out, and then you may find that you can try out a recipe that you have been wanting to try without trying to alter it to a single person.
Freeze in-season produce.
Fruits like watermelon and papaya are delicious but can be too much for a single person. Instead work some time into your evening to cut and freeze portions of fresh produce after you buy it. Even a small “personal” size watermelon can be four to five servings if cut and frozen. By freezing produce, you can use it for longer and avoid having any waste.
Don’t be afraid to have the occasional frozen meal.
Look, frozen dinners shouldn’t be what you eat all of the time, but keeping a couple of meals in your freezer for crazy nights is an important way to stay on budget.
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