Cooking for One: A Guide to Making Meals for the Independent Person

By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communication Intern

Do you ever find it difficult to cook delicious, homemade meals when you’re only cooking for yourself? Whether you’re young, middle-aged, or elderly; a college student, work full-time or part-time, are single, divorced, widowed or just like being independent, this is the article for you.

I discovered a great Instagram a while back, called @collegenutritionist. Run by Rachel Paul, PhD, RD, the account goes over how to successfully eat and meal prep for one while making healthy and  filling food choices.

Paul has a format she follows for every meal, called #thatformula. It includes 2+ cups of veggies, 4-5 ounces of protein, and 100-200 calories of fats. Not only does this keep you full, but has proven successful in helping many users lose weight.

In addition, Paul encourages eating just a little bit of sugar each day and emphasizes the importance of keeping it in your regular diet. If completely taken out, it can cause cravings that will make it harder to stick to your diet, resulting in binge-eating on treats, gaining weight, and feeling hopeless about weight loss and dieting in general.

Her Instagram account features great ideas for simple, easy recipes that are tasty and satisfying. See some examples below.

Trader Joe’s Alfredo Gnocchi

By Rachel Paul

Makes 2-4 servings



½ bag of cauliflower gnocchi

½ bag of sundried tomatoes

8 oz diced cooked chicken

1 ½ cups of alfredo sauce

4 cups of spinach

ground black pepper

(can purchase ingredients from Trader Joes or any grocery store)



Add oil to skillet and turn to low heat. Add ingredients in order listed. Grind black pepper on top to taste. Let simmer on low heat and serve. Once cooled, place leftovers in Tupperware for meal prep.


Check out this recipe on Fill Your Plate’s recipe database, and use Fill Your Plate’s Find a Farm Product search engine to find some of these ingredients and buy directly from local farmers!

(Picture credit: Rachel Paul)

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