EmilyAnne

Living Alone - Any Tips?

26 posts in this topic

Hi all!

I am starting the Whole30 on Monday. Sunday I will be grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking for the week ahead. I am REALLY excited about this program because I know people who have had wonderful results!

However, I live alone as a single woman. (Well, "alone," considering I have a dog, two cats, and three birds, but none of them want to do the Whole30 with me.) I've always struggled with buying food and not knowing how to store it so that I don't end up throwing some away. Do you all have any tips about how to do the program without wasting food? The fresh veggies and fruits are what scare me the most, haha. I do plan on growing my own tomatoes, sweet peppers, and some herbs this summer, so that will help I think.

Any and all tips are much appreciated!

Emily

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Sassy single over here, too. Son's away in college. My tips: Tupperware, planning and use those convenient plastic bins of salad greens (like the baby kale, arugula, mesclun mix, etc). You're gonna be eatin so many clean veggie filled meals that I doubt anything will go to waste (I'm on day 8*). I bought salad sized tupperware for my lunches and prepped in advance. I filled each container with greens, a roasted sweet potato (or half, depending on size), whatever veggie mix I wanted (roast some in advance, peppers & mushrooms, etc), or raw chopped vegs, and then your fat and protein. Boil a weeks worth of eggs in advance and add them. that way all I had to do for lunch was grab and go.

Then you have your breakfasts and dinner. Unless you're buying an absurd about of veg and fruit, nothing is going to go to waste. 

 

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41 minutes ago, EmilyAnne said:

Hi all!

I am starting the Whole30 on Monday. Sunday I will be grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking for the week ahead. I am REALLY excited about this program because I know people who have had wonderful results!

However, I live alone as a single woman. (Well, "alone," considering I have a dog, two cats, and three birds, but none of them want to do the Whole30 with me.) I've always struggled with buying food and not knowing how to store it so that I don't end up throwing some away. Do you all have any tips about how to do the program without wasting food? The fresh veggies and fruits are what scare me the most, haha. I do plan on growing my own tomatoes, sweet peppers, and some herbs this summer, so that will help I think.

Any and all tips are much appreciated!

Emily

In the short term don't "over purchase" unless you have a day by day plan as to what you'll eat.

Might wanna start by planning out your meals and then stocking your supply to acomodate your weekly plan.

Other tips:

1.  Keep an eye out for sales on organic "cage-free" eggs.  They are normally pretty expensive ($5.99/dozen) but on sale, they can be as little as $2.99 and if you find a lower price than that, jump on it now!!!!  And get two to four dozen eggs at a time if you find a good price.

2,  Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes:  Keep them stored loosely in a dry area in a paper bag with holes poked in them and keep in a separate drawer from the onions, garlic, shallots which should also be stored the same way.

3.  For cilantro, italian parsley, green onions and mint, keep in the fridge but wrap them up with a paper towel because they're usually wet when you purchase them and they'll go bad quickly if you don't do that.

4.  Buy a single 8 oz container of almond butter.  That should last you 30 days.  If you buy bananas apples or pears (I recommend Bartlett Pears), Buy 5 at a time and one per day with almond butter makes a nice post dinner dessert.  

5.  You're gonna need to manage your time to succeed with this program so, often times, when you prepare your dinners which, if done right, will take between 45-65 minutes of preparation, try cooking 6-8 servings.  After you eat your dinner serving.  Pack away the others in individual servings for emergency breakfast, lunch or next day dinner meals.  Having freshly cooked stuff the next day will give you time to relax from having to go out of your way cooking everyday.  Sometimes, you'll want a day off from cooking so if you made a larger dinner with leftovers, you'll be very happy that you were prepared.

6,  Also watch youtube videos on whole30 strategies.  They are always helpful.

7.  Lastly, be sure when you are planning in advance, to compare your meals to the whole30 template which provides guidelines on what your meals could be.

8.  Lastly, lastly....for all meals, try to incorporate as much protein, healthy fat and vegetables as possible.  Avoid a protein only or vegetable only meal neglecting others,  But avoiding that pitfall, you'll be able to reduce moodswings or sudden bursts of being uber hungry.  By incorporating all of those items, your leptin resistance (body's inability to signal to your brain that you're full) will be minimized.

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Great advice! Thank you both!

After I grocery shopped today, I realized that I probably don't have a whole lot to worry about. All the produce I bought, I bought specifically for this coming week's meals. 

I did forget almond butter though...crap! :D

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Crock pot is my best friend --- get to come home to a hot meal with lots of potential for leftovers.

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9 minutes ago, kirkor said:

Crock pot is my best friend --- get to come home to a hot meal with lots of potential for leftovers.

Does your best friend have a name?

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Lots of good advice here. I have found that I have difficulty over purchasing if I'm eating according to the template! The amount of veggies I go through is astounding. I can stuff my produce drawer and by the end of the week I'm scraping bottom if I haven't had to go to the store already. There are 2 of us but my other half travels half the week so it's just me a lot of the time. 

I also keep some frozen veggies in the freezer for if I run low on fresh and don't make it to the store. 

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Great suggestions.  For me, prepping vegetables and keeping them in containers in the refrigerator is key to preventing waste. I live alone, and I waste less food than anyone I know - I think it's because I know what I have on hand and I plan my meals based on that, not the other way around. I think it's important to use a cooking "method" rather than following recipes - I use proteins plus prepped vegetables, spice blends, mayo, coconut milk, salsas, pestos, tapenades, etc, and I really can whip up an amazing meal fast, using whatever I have.  It's the daily surprise... every day.   

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Stegner, J9er, any practical tips on how, when, amounts etc for prepping veggies?

I have six kids and a husband who also loves eating healthy. He's agreed that I should just focus on myself for this first Whole 30 or it will become overwhelming. However, I still need to feed everybody else at the same time and prepping is really not my strong point. I would love to have some practical advice on prepping meals to have on hand for myself in the refrigerator or I know I will just end up preparing food for everyone else and then finding myself starving and unable to function...and this will defeat the whole purpose of the whole 30.

You sound like you have this down pat by now. Any advice would be so appreciated!

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@Rochelle Baron i'm sure the others will have suggestions too, but you might find this helpful:  http://meljoulwan.com/2010/01/14/paleo-kitchen-the-method-behind-my-madness/

I'd also encourage you to make your meals and your family's meals overlap as much as possible to save you cooking separate meals all the time. So for instance you can make compliant taco meat and let them have tacos with all the fixings while you have a big taco salad with lots of vegetables, guacamole, and olives. Or roast a whole chicken, serve with two or three veggie sides, all compliant, but let your family have rice or bread with theirs if they want. 

We've had other people on the forum doing whole30 with large families. Even though you're not having your family actually do it, some of their tips might be helpful. Google whole30 large family to find some of those past discussions.

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20 hours ago, Rochelle Baron said:

Stegner, J9er, any practical tips on how, when, amounts etc for prepping veggies?

I have six kids and a husband who also loves eating healthy. He's agreed that I should just focus on myself for this first Whole 30 or it will become overwhelming. However, I still need to feed everybody else at the same time and prepping is really not my strong point. I would love to have some practical advice on prepping meals to have on hand for myself in the refrigerator or I know I will just end up preparing food for everyone else and then finding myself starving and unable to function...and this will defeat the whole purpose of the whole 30.

You sound like you have this down pat by now. Any advice would be so appreciated!

I do what Mel Joulwan does - see the link in Shannon's response above - except I don't pre-cook anything.  When it's time to eat, I heat up the frying pan and start to improvise - and if the red cabbage in my refrigerator looks a little wilted, my meal will be heavy on the red cabbage.  I prep vegetables soon after I buy them - I listen to podcasts in the kitchen and just wash and chop until I have a LOT of veg in containers ready to cook with.  It goes fast and makes me feel great to have done myself this great kindness.  That said, it's only me I'm prepping for, not 8 people!  If I were you, I would be making things that they could eat over pasta or rice, and I could eat over raw greens or zucchini noodles.  Curry works that way, and so does tomato sauce with ground beef.  Good luck!

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@Rochelle Baron I started out doing Mel Jouwan's meal prep too. It's kind of morphed into my own now, but hers is a great place to start. 

For instance tonight I made a curry for supper. I had huge bags of veggies I bought from Costco. I just went for it and chopped the large container of mushrooms, 3 bell peppers, 2 large onions, 2 huge sweet potatoes, one small head of cabbage, 3 medium zucchini. The rest of the veggies I bought washed/pre cut (also from Costco), broccoli, cauliflower, green beans - I don't always do this but it is a huge time saver and I'm just a household of 1.5. 

I took the amount of veggies I needed for the curry, and the rest went into containers for me to grab from for the week. It probably took an extra 3 minutes to chop the extra veggies.

Tomorrow I'll be having chicken for supper - I'll roast two chickens for sure. Eat off of one and the rest will get eaten probably by the end of the week. I don't do a ton of preprepped protein, but whole chickens, big chuck roasts, and pork shoulders are some good ideas to do lots of for left overs or to feed an army - with minimal effort.

Ill be having kale for breakfast in the morning so I'll wash, destem and steam both big bunches I bought today....

you get the picture, whenever I go to chop something, I just chop it all, or a big portion anyways. I seem to spread my prep out over a few days rather than doing it all in one day, and that helps me not dread prep or end up in the kitchen for too long. 

I have an instant pot pressure cooker (consider getting one, it's great) - I often make a stew or soup in it while I'm cooking another meal on my stovetop, by the time I've eaten supper, that second meal is done, just pop it in the fridge for another day. 

I don't usually have anything left at the end of the week, but if I do of course it gets frozen. I even freeze raw cut up veggies, they are fine once thrown into a stew or soup. Just date/label every container because frozen foods become mysteries really quickly.

It all takes practice, but you will find a groove! 

 

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I also live alone and recently started the Whole 30 (currently on Day 5). Here are some tips for not wasting vegetables:

  • Buy from a Farmers' Market or similar display at a grocery store so that you can buy only what you need
    • If you do buy from a farmers' market, ask the seller about the best way to store the vegetable -- you may learn some new tricks!
  • Consider doing two shopping trips per week so that you can get the freshest ingredients
  • Ask your grocery store when they restock, again, so that you can get the freshest things
  • Consider growing your favorite herbs in a garden or a large pot -- that way you will always have some on hand
    • Thyme, rosemary, lemongrass, and oregano will last for years in a warm climate
    • Basil will also last a along time but may become bitter as the plant grows
    • Parsley and cilantro tend to quickly go to seed, and so they are higher maintenance/ will not last years; however, I still recommend growing them in the summer
  • Storage tips:
    • Arugula/ spinach/ baby lettuces - place a piece of paper towel in the box/plastic bag to absorb any excess moisture
    • Broccoli head - lightly wrap in a couple of paper towels
    • Cauliflower head - store in an open plastic bag; you can add a piece of paper towel as well
    • Tomatoes - if unripe: store on the counter on a plate, do not store stacked in a bowl; alternatively, if ripe, store in the refrigerator (however, I think that tomatoes taste best at room temperature)
    • Parsley/ cilantro/ asparagus - trim stems (as you would with a bouquet of flowers) and store in a glass jar with a few inches of water, then cover jar with a plastic bag (but you do not have to close it tightly around the jar)

Hope this helps!

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I also am cooking for one.   One problem that I have is that I don't do well on pre-cooked protein that is stored in the refrigerator, so following the Mel advice of a big cook-in once a week does not work for me..... at all.

Instead, I keep things really simple (and.. yes... boring).   I buy ground beef and boneless chicken breasts and frozen shrimp and always have lots of eggs on hand.  I also have a freezer full of frozen vegetables - but ONLY vegetables that are vegetables - no sauces and no seasonings in the bag/box.

So I cook a hamburg patty and have a baked sweet potato and a steamed veggies from my bags in the freezer.   Or I pan-fry a boneless chicken breast and have a salad and a steamed veggie.   Or a veggie omelette and a baked sweet potato.   Of I'll chop up veggies and saute them while I am cooking (in a different pan) either ground beef or a boneless chicken breast cut into chunks and then when everything is cooked, I mix the protein and sauteed veggies together and have some fruit.

I don't mind eating boring meals.  I change the spices to get a different flavor and I try to vary the veggies as much as possible so I'm not eating the same ones all the time.

I do need to start chopping things like scallions, onions, red pepper, mushrooms and store them in containers in the fridge because the prep time is mostly chopping vegetables and that can be very time consuming.

For those of you who do chop vegetables in advance for omelettes, stir fries and salads...... how long do they stay fresh in the containers in the refrigerator?   I really like my food to be as fresh as possible, but I really need to cut down on the chopping time for 3 meals a day from scratch.

TIA for any advice....

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@SusanB how long chopped veggies last depend on the vegetables. And a lot also depends on your tolerance for less than perfect looking vegetables, too, so you may have to experiment a little to see what works for you, but if you have some chopped up that are starting to look a little sad but you'd still be willing to eat them, you can either go ahead and cook them and deal with leftovers the next day or two, or freeze them to throw in next time you make soup or broth.

I'd really recommend googling something like, how long do cut vegetables last in the fridge? and see what you find, there are tons of resources for this kind of thing. Know that most people will err on the side of caution when dealing with food safety recommendations, and will list the most conservative estimate of how long something will last, but you are usually pretty safe to eat them for a little longer than that. In general, as long as it doesn't smell weird, taste weird, have obvious mold growth, or look really gross, I'll risk eating it, but your standards may be different, and that's okay.

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18 minutes ago, ShannonM816 said:

In general, as long as it doesn't smell weird, taste weird, have obvious mold growth, or look really gross, I'll risk eating it, but your standards may be different, and that's okay.

This is 100% how I determine the fitness of food to enter my body... and often, if say, green beans or chopped peppers are getting a titch slimy, you can totally wash them off and then saute... 

In general all my pre-chopped veggies and green onions etc... last at least a week but I only try and prep for a week at a time... cooked meat also lasts a week and again, if it doesn't smell or look weird, I'll eat it... 

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Thanks SugarCube and Shannon.   This Sunday, I'll chop up some veggies and put them in the fridge and see how it goes..... 

After I chop the vegetables for the meal that I'm cooking at that time, I know that I have time while the food is cooking to chop some more to have in the refrigerator.   I just need to get myself into the routine of doing that.   It would save me lots of time !!

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18 minutes ago, SusanB said:

Thanks SugarCube and Shannon.   This Sunday, I'll chop up some veggies and put them in the fridge and see how it goes..... 

After I chop the vegetables for the meal that I'm cooking at that time, I know that I have time while the food is cooking to chop some more to have in the refrigerator.   I just need to get myself into the routine of doing that.   It would save me lots of time !!

To save time, I often chop all my veggies as I take them out of the grocery bags to put them away... it's about 30 seconds to chop a couple bunches of green onions for instance and then two things happen, you don't have to prep them and you're more likely to use them because they're there... same goes for all the other veggies... I eat way more when i pre shred/chop/dice :)

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Hi everyone,

I started the program today. So far, so good. 

 I also am single. I am following the recipes in the book. They are mostly 2 servings. I am going to eat the same thing two days in a row. That way I only have to cook every other day.

My question is this. The recipe says 2 servings and I am splitting that in half. Does anyone else think that this is an awful lot of food per serving? Or is it because I am used to eating smaller meals throughout the day? I don't want to mess this up, so any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks

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4 hours ago, TammyP64 said:

Hi everyone,

I started the program today. So far, so good. 

 I also am single. I am following the recipes in the book. They are mostly 2 servings. I am going to eat the same thing two days in a row. That way I only have to cook every other day.

My question is this. The recipe says 2 servings and I am splitting that in half. Does anyone else think that this is an awful lot of food per serving? Or is it because I am used to eating smaller meals throughout the day? I don't want to mess this up, so any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks

Can you give us an example of a recipe in the book that you're thinking of?  Try and outline what the portion sizes would be (or tell me what page in the book - I have the Whole30 book, not the cook book) so we can judge... because everyone is using their own palm and thumb for measuring metrics, it's such that it might just be for some people it's a perfect serving, for some people it's a touch too much and some might need to add some food.

 

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For instance, I made the kitchen sink scrambled eggs on page 202. It says it serves 2. I just split that in half and will have the other half tomorrow.  I can fit 3 eggs in my hand, so I am assuming that is a serving size for me.  It just seemed like an awful lot of food.

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30 minutes ago, TammyP64 said:

For instance, I made the kitchen sink scrambled eggs on page 202. It says it serves 2. I just split that in half and will have the other half tomorrow.  I can fit 3 eggs in my hand, so I am assuming that is a serving size for me.  It just seemed like an awful lot of food.

Okay perfect.  I just grabbed my book and ya, I'd say that for the majority of people, that would be two servings.  It might seem like a lot of food at first, but it's mostly veggies.  Also, if you come from a place of eating muffins or cereal etc... for breakfast, that's going to be waaaay more food but you'll get used to it and really three eggs and some veggies isn't that much.  The template is the minimum amount of food an adult human needs to eat.  If you're having trouble eating that much in the am (within an hour of waking is the recommendation), eat as much as you can and then wrap it up and take it with you and eat the rest as soon as you feel able to keep it down (not waiting for hunger).  In a week or so, that should seem like the perfect amount of food :)  

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thank you so much. I will just keep halving the recipes. I ate it all but, I felt stuffed for a little bit. Would I do that with meat as well. Say, The tenderloin on page 252? Would half of that equal a serving or would be a smaller serving of meat if I made it a meal?

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45 minutes ago, TammyP64 said:

thank you so much. I will just keep halving the recipes. I ate it all but, I felt stuffed for a little bit. Would I do that with meat as well. Say, The tenderloin on page 252? Would half of that equal a serving or would be a smaller serving of meat if I made it a meal?

If half of the tenderloin equals 1-2 of your own palm's measurements then yes.  You should always be making any recipe into a meal... sometimes the recipe is for a main course (meat) and then you'd have to add veggies and fat.  Sometimes the recipe is a veggie side and then you'd have to add protien and fat and sometimes, like the kitchen sink eggs, it's a full template meal so it totally depends on what you're making :)  

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