06/04/2012 11:25 EDT | Updated 06/04/2012 11:36 EDT

Cooking For One: Quick Study (PHOTOS)


"I'll take it to go."

If this sounds like your typical dinner plan, opting for takeout every night can get expensive. Yet, some believe that cooking dinner for one is even pricer, especially when certain foods tend to spoil quicker than others.’s director of nutrition Rachel Berman says sitting alone at that dinner table doesn't have to be expensive, even at home. "Meal planning can lower stress, save money, and reduce food waste, so try picking a theme each week, like Mexican for example," she said in a press release.

But there ways to avoid boring dinner atmospheres at home. Dietitians of Canada recommends jazzing up your space with your favourite napkins or flowers or moving to a different location in your home to change up the setting. The site also says sharing recipes, organizing potlucks and teaching a friend your favourite meal are some of the easiest ways to diversify your eating habits.

Do you always end up eating on the go? Here are Berman's top tips when cooking for yourself and her must-have items for your pantry and fridge. Bon appetit:

Tips When You're Cooking For One

What Twitter is having for dinner tonight:

Plan Your Meals:

Meal planning lowers stress, saves money, and reduces food waste, so try picking a "theme" each week. For example, if you pick Mexican food this week, you'll use a wide variety of ingredients like salsa, black beans, avocados, cheese, corn, and whole wheat tortillas. With these ingredients, you could make black bean quesadillas, spicy egg scrambles and Southwestern salads or wraps.

Prepare Ahead Of Time:

Washing and preparing food ahead of time saves you time during the week. If the veggies are already washed, you are more likely to grab and eat them.

Stock Your Pantry:

By keeping staples in your kitchen, you can make healthier meal decisions when in a bind and on a budget.



They last for a long time so buy the dozen, it's cheaper than the half a dozen.

Low Fat Milk

You can also buy almond or rice milk to store on your shelves.

Frozen Fruits And Veggies:

They are full of nutrients and they don’t spoil as quickly.

Frozen Meat/Fish

Buying frozen meats and fish in bulk can save you money.

Whole Grains:

A loaf in the freezer for example can last 4 to 6 weeks.

Olive Oil:

Not only can olive oil last you a while -- it is also the healthier option.