Frugal Meals for One

Category Cheap Meals
Cooking for one is often a challenge, then add to that the need to keep costs down and you may be having difficulties maintaining a variety in your diet. This is a page about frugal meals for one.


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My daughter was challenged with working long hours and not having lots of time to prepare healthy lunches nor dinners. I came up with some hints to use as guidelines to help her continue to eat healthy while working long hours. I hope this helps others too!

  • Use a George Foreman grill to cook double (or more) servings of quick, easy double duty meals. Some ideas are: chicken breasts, panini/grilled sandwiches or grilled vegetables to use in a wrap for dinner. Always save the leftovers for lunches.

  • Get a small crock pot and make up bean and rich soups that can be used as lunches. Make double or triple your pasta for different sauces/veggies for multiple days meals or lunches without creating from scratch each day.

  • Sandwich Ideas: No need to always have bread! Lunchmeats with veggies like cucumber, avocado and greens can be rolled with cheese in wraps or even pita pockets: Use slices or pieces of chicken, turkey, roast beef. You can use hummus and mustard instead of mayo to change things up and be healthy too!

  • Tuna or egg salad or cottage cheese make great healthy additions to salads or as sandwiches.

  • TV Dinners: Kashi brand comes in along with Lean Cuisine as the healthier TV dinners Recommendations for TV dinners include: Light (or Lite) meals are best for weight conscious people, with less than 300 cal and 8 grams of fat, less than 4 gm of saturated fat. Regular meals should be 360-400 cal. (max 25 gram fat)> Should be less than 800 mg of sodium (1/3 of daily allowance of sodium). Try to get 3 to 5 grams of fiber in TV dinners!

  • Fresh and raw fruits and vegetables travel well and are the healthiest of all! Just bring along yogurt for the fruit or hummus to dip veggies in. Nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, etc) are great sources of protein that can be eaten alone or in salads and other main dishes or snacks!

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If you are like me, you have a lot of recipes for larger families. Then people move out, get divorced or even die and you are left with only one or two people in the home. Or you may be just starting out on your own or with a new spouse and you find very few recipes for one or two people but hundreds for larger families.


Many recipes call for a 13x9 inch dish and these recipes are very easy to convert by simply cutting the ingredients in half and using a 9 X 6 dish instead. Time and temp stay the same.

If you can find a smaller size ingredient, use that or most ingredients can be divided and then stored or frozen for a different dish in a couple of days.

This way you can have a wide variety of meals that you enjoy without having the same leftovers for several days in a row or having to throw the food out because it has been sitting in the refrigerator too long.

Source: A lot of trial and error after my spouse died.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

April 26, 2001

Does anyone know of some good strategies or recipes for making meals for one when you are used to making meals for more people? Preferably meals that are frugal.


April 27, 20011 found this helpful
Best Answer

I buy 3-4 boneless chicken breasts, put them in the snack sized bags seperately, and freeze. I'll buy a small ham, cut it into several small roasts [and maybe some slices for breakfasts or fried ham dinners], and freeze. Defrost 1 roast, for dinner, and slice the balance for sandwiches for later in the week.


Buy a small pork or beef roast. Cut a few slices for steaks/chops and, leave enough to make a roast for dinner, with leftovers for a small one serving stew [this is where you can use tomatoes that are getting soft].

Always remember that you can take dried soup mixes, sauce mixes, and other boxed items, measure them out into several equal 1 serving packets. Just remember if you divide into 4 parts, cut the added items [water] into 4 parts as well.

Buy a pound of ground beef, and divide it into 3 meat loaves, cook them. When almost done, but still moist inside, remove 2 and freeze them. Defrost and finish the cooking when you're ready to use the others.
You can do this in most cases, even cakes. The only difficulty will be in the eggs, which should be dividable when beaten. I hope this is a help.

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By Tawnda (Guest Post)
May 4, 20040 found this helpful
Best Answer

There are so many foods that can be prepared and/or prepared and cooked then frozen. Spend a day or two cooking or baking and you can freeze a lot of it in single servings. Also, if you don't have a lot of freezer space and you do any canning, you can make large pots of soups and can those.


I have done that with leftover veggies and made my own broths and it comes in so handy on a day when your meal didn't thaw out completely or you are too tired to cook. This year I am hoping to make pie fillings and can those so that I can throw pies together for last minute desserts or get-togethers.

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