Cooking for one can be a tricky thing, but it’s even more difficult when you want to cook healthy. Sandwiches and salads can get stale fast and frozen dinners feel shameful no matter how you squeeze it. Meal-prep is a solution that’s often touted, but who really wants to have the same meal five nights in a row? Takeout isn’t really an option — not for your wallet and not for your health — so what’re you supposed to do if you’re cooking for one?
Look no further than this list of the 25 easiest, healthiest meals you can cook for one. Broken down by meal, this is the only list you’ll ever need for meal planning heaven.
The 25 Easiest & Healthiest Meals You Can Make For One
Breakfast for One:
This is a dessert that’s deserving of the best restaurant in town. Packed with savory ingredients like bacon, sweet potatoes, runny friend egg and kale, this recipe is delicious. Everything cooks in one pan, so there’s minimal mess. It’s also Instagram worthy and a great way to get protein needed to start the day.
If you’re one of those who has found success in Paleo, this is the breakfast you need. These protein-packed waffles have vanilla protein powder and really healthy substitutes from traditional waffles, like coconut flour and coconut sugar. These are both sweet and filling and sure to give you the early morning boost you need to conquer the rest of the day. Cut down on the sugar and kick up the protein.
You might think that omelettes are complicated, but you’d be wrong. This fancy looking dish only calls for eggs, mushrooms, sour cream and a few simple herbs. This omelet has such a complex and lovely taste that you’ll be astounded they come from fresh herbs you probably already have in your kitchen.
There are some days when we wake up and just can’t be faced with cooking. That’s where these breakfast cookies come in.
If you think that cookies aren’t for breakfast — think again. These cookies are the perfect solution to your frenzied breakfast needs and can be eaten right away or placed in the fridge or freezer. Perfect for grabbing as you scuttle out of the door, I recommend these for any one out there who has a busy lifestyle.
I’m one of those people who loves a quick smoothie in the morning. They’re packed full of nutrients. They’re also a great way to get an early boost in the morning. This tasty smoothie is no exception.
Peaches are underrated in smoothies, but that changes here. Fresh (or frozen) peaches combine with walnuts, oats and bananas to create a frozen breakfast masterpiece. If you need something with staying power then this is the smoothie for you. After one of these peach crisp smoothies, you’ll feel full for hours.
Warning: This is guaranteed to become one of your favorite breakfast foods.
This recipe isn’t quite french toast and it isn’t quite oatmeal. It is, though, a dessert like breakfast that is good for you. Top with a spoonful of almond butter for a real treat.
Yes, I promise these are good for you.
You might think that pancakes are for a family unit, but they’re not. With the right proportions, pancakes can be a healthy and easy breakfast treat. This stack of yummy cinnamon looks decadent but hides a lot of health. Greek yogurt combine with protein powder, egg whites and rolled oats to create a taste you’ll never forget. Throw out the boxed mix. Trust me.
Lunch for One:
Let’s face it, sandwiches are great. Drizzle olive oil on two pieces of ciabatta bread (or any rustic slice you fancy). Top it with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basic before sprinkling with black pepper, garlic powder and crushed red pepper. If you’re not a veggie, don’t be scared to add your favorite deli meat. If you really want to boost the taste, cook the sandwich in a pan over medium heat. Flatten with a spatula until cheese is totally melted.
This one is recipe for those bored with the status quo. Stuffed foods are delicious and this recipe is no exception. Avocados are stuffed with tuna, dried cherries and chopped pecans. In just a few simple ingredients you could have the bougiest lunch on the block. And who doesn’t love avocados?
10. Falafel Nachos
Ever wondered what would happen if Tex-Mex and Indian food collided? I like to think it would be something like this scrumptious dish. These Mediterranean nachos are like a deconstructed falafel. Replace tortilla chips with pita chips. Then, throw in some tzatziki sauce. Add some chickpeas, cucumbers, tomato and onions and you’ve got a tasty lunchtime meal for one.
If you love southwestern flavor but don’t have a family to feed, try this recipe for one. Combine corn, black beans, chipotle chili powder and lime juice to create a south of the border feast. Stuff it inside a sweet potato and top with some cashew crumbles after cooking. If you’re not vegan or dairy free, try a goat’s cheese crumble for even more great taste.
Ditch that Kraft classic and opt for this beauty instead. This Mediterranean-inspired version of the classic grilled cheese is delicious. Creamy feta isn’t as gooey as the cheese you’re used to, but it’s just as rich, making this sandwich filling and mouth-watering. Paired with red onions, tomato, kale and black olives it’s the lunchtime you never knew you needed.
Some salads are just great and this is that kind of salad. Opt for this gem when you’re looking for a light, simple lunch. Thanks to the healthy fats contained in this salad (avaocado and olive oil) it will fill you up. Meanwhile, honey and basalmic add just the right amount of sweetness to make this salad mouth-watering.
14. Minestrone Soup
Unless you want to eat leftovers, soup can be a hard one to make for a solo meal. This recipe solves that problem. A single serving of tasty minestrone soup, this recipe calls for chicken broth, a lot of beans and veggies and two strips of crumbled bacon — so it’s not suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Ever really crave Italian but don’t want to make 10 gallons of food? This recipe is scrumptious and will hit the spot when you just want to eat for one. More pasta than salad, this recipe combines noodles, chicken breast, red onion, tomato and basil leaves. Not only is this recipe super easy, it’s suitable for even the finest Italian restaurant.
Dinner for One:
Shelling out for Chipotle will really make a dent in your finances. Instead of spending over the top of simple and tasty food, try this recipe. It combines rice, black beans, salsa, cheese and diced avocado to make a healthy dish that will make you forget all about Chipotle. It’s super easy too, taking only five minutes to whip together. If you want to add an extra dollop of protein to this meal, try a scoop of Greek yogurt on top or leftover tofu or chicken.
Throw away those blue boxes. Seriously. This creamy mac and cheese is made entirely in the microwave and it will have you saying goodbye to that Kraft stuff forever. If you need comfort food, this is your recipe. Traditional mac and cheese with a healthy twist, this recipe uses whole-wheat pasta, shredded cheese and milk to give you the yummy you need. If you’re vegan, substitute the shredded cheese for a substitute of your choice.
Don’t let the name fool you — this soup is delicious. Combine some hearty root vegetables of your choosing with some pan-seared cumin and mustard seats to make a soup perfect for these cold snaps. Sweet potatoes, beets and parsnips work especially well. Pair it with an artisan bread and enjoy a cozy experience.
Who doesn’t love a good bit of naan? If you are craving pizza, opt for this flatbread instead. It’s really rich, being topped with goat’s cheese, and can really work to satiate you cravings for the unhealthy. Mushrooms, kale and pine nuts add even more flavor to this recipe to make it healthy and mouthwatering.
20. Egg Fried Rice
This is a new mug meal and it’s the latest rage. Save yourself time and money ordering from that Chinese place around the corner. Opt for this healthy, homemade version of the Asian staple instead. Ready in less than 10 minutes, you’ll be kicking yourself for not trying it sooner.
21. Shrimp Scampi
This recipe is what it looks like: spaghetti mixed with shrimp, garlic and a touch of butter. Add a splash of cream, white wine, red pepper flakes and some heat nd you’ve got an out of this world dish that’s restaurant worthy. Pro tip: to make this recipe even easier and suitable for one, use tail-off frozen shrimp. To boost the health factor, opt for whole-wheat spaghetti.
Dessert for One:
Dessert or breakfast? I’ll leave that decision with you. All I know is that this recipe is drool-inducing. These pancakes call for a batter mix made of oats, some Greek yogurt, and egg whites which are whipped together in a blender. Cooked in minutes, these are great for anyone on the go. In case you needed more convincing, the center of these treats are filled with a decadent mix of yogurt and jam. Yum.
If you love making brownies but don’t (or can’t) eat a whole pan on your lonesome, try this recipe for microwave brownies. I was skeptical at first too, but this single serving dessert is really delicious. Made from unsweetened cocoa powder, Greek yogurt, whole-wheat flour, agave and vanilla extract — it’s a way better option than the traditional chocolatey treat.
24. Berry Cobbler
Cobbler doesn’t need a crowd. Combine oatmeal, berries, a few tablespoons of flour, brown sugar and butter in single-serve ceramic ramekin for the perfect post-dinner dessert.
Mugs are a thing now, in case you haven’t already guessed.
This easy treat is made with Greek yogurt, cinnamon and a pinch of basic baking ingredients you probably already have around your house. You can cook the whole thing in the microwave. Top it with a mouthwatering streusel for an even healthier coffee cake that satisfies the sweet tooth and the tummy.
Putting it all together…
So, if you’re cooking for one don’t get down. There are so many options when it comes to solo cooking. All you have to do is get out there and explore. Why not try a tasty deconstructed falafel nacho? If that’s not up your alley, satisfy your sweet tooth with finger-licking microwave fudge brownies? There’s tons of options out there for solo dining and this is only the beginning.