Thursday, 24 December 2015

From one singleton to another

Scroll down for an update to this post.

Hello and Good Morning. It's chucking it down with rain here in North Lincolnshire, at the moment. I've had a question or two from Devon Lass, thank you for that, it gives me something to write about, ha ha.

Could you say what an average day of meals is for you please. Do you not eat sweets, chocolate or puddings at all? I know you eat rice pudding, what about bread? thanks I plan to copy you if that's ok, I live alone, and don't eat a balanced diet now the children have left home. I can't be bothered to cook for one. Thank you.

Cooking for one is much simpler than preparing food for a family. Stating the obvious, you can eat whatever you like whenever you like, and in the quantities that you think is right for you. Though beware, the temptation to stuff ones face when no one is looking is ever present, therefore some restraint is essential to maintain a healthy body. I can only talk about my diet from the point of view that I do not have any food intolerances and I am not allergic to anything. I am no expert on nutrition, and I do not endorse any weight loss diets. 

DL, it's easy to get into the mindset of convenience food, thinking that it's too time consuming to cook for one, but really it's not that difficult. It's also easy to stick with the same old same old, day after day, not good. You will often hear me say I can't be bothered to cook, so what I do is prepare a meal that requires no cooking, or get one of my home made veg stews or curries out of the freezer and zap it in the microwave. I don't use my oven at all, not sure if it even works. I use the hob gas rings, the grill, and the microwave. 

To start simple easy cooking I suggest you forget about all the traditional meals you were brought up on, the meat and two veg, the breakfast fry ups, the fish and chips, the burger or sausage and chips. By all means eat them, but only once in a while. All the other days you need to make up your own new recipes. I hesitate to say the word recipes, because I don't follow any written down recipes, my meals are made up of whatever I have in. 

You need to tap into your creativity, with only yourself to think about you can eat whatever you like. Chuck your recipe books out, invent, invent, invent. 

So, back to the questions, one at a time. 

What is an average day of meals. 
I start the day with a mug of coffee, I sit and relax with it for 20 minutes. My breakfast follows. I never skip breakfast because I know I will begin to feel wobbly in an hour. At the moment I am having half a bowl of bran flakes, and I make a topping in the mini chopper with seeds, nuts, porridge oats, and dried fruit. If I have any fresh fruit I will put that on top as well. I have some rice milk bought for 20p so I am using this at the moment. Normally I would use soya milk. Sometimes I will make hot porridge in a pan on the hob, if I fancy it, with maybe a banana, or a few tinned peach slices on top. 

If I begin to feel hungry about 11 or 11.30 I will have a top up breakfast, or an early lunch. A top up might be a banana with yogurt, or a piece of toast, or a couple of cream crackers with soft cheese. 

Lunch is anytime between 11.30 and 1pm, depending how hungry I am. I always listen to my stomach to tell me when I need food, never stick to rigid meal times.  

What do I have for lunch. It varies day to day, what I fancy eating and what I think I ought to eat to get the right nutritional balance. Simple lunch, beans or spaghetti, and scrambled egg on toast. Sometimes just scrambled egg. I always buy seeded or wholemeal bread, don't like white, don't bother with bread rolls, always a thick sliced loaf. If I have salad in I will have a plate of whatever salad ingredients I have. Green leaves, tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumber, spring onions, pickled onions, tinned salad beans, cheese, two boiled eggs, a piece of shop bought Value quiche, anything, just chuck it on, no cooking required. Sometimes I will have a portion of home made veg stew from the freezer, zap it in the microwave. A potato in the microwave with a topping of your choice is easy and takes 5 minutes. 

Dinner happens around 5 - 6 pm. I eat a lot of steamed vegetables, which are cooked in a pan with one of those baskety things in it. One pan, everything goes in, cut up hard root veg and put it at the bottom with the sprouts, and softer veg at the top. It only takes five minutes, very easy cooking. If I have any mayo, or grated cheese, I will add this on top. I might make veg gravy in a mug, but only very occasionally if I fancy it. I often eat just veg  for dinner, but sometimes I will add something grilled, frozen Quorn or a veggie burger, just to give it a bit of variety. I only buy those things when they are on offer. 

One meal I like is mushrooms and an onion cooked in oil in a pan, then two eggs added and scrambled. When I make a veggie stew I will add pasta or couscous or rice, maybe a tin of tomatoes or baked beans, or chick peas. I also add any fruit I want to use up. You can put anything in a stew, the possibilities are endless. 

After dinner I am usually stuffed. It is a good feeling because I know it will soon pass because there is no stodge in it. I don't wrap food in pastry to make pies, don't make pasties, or pizza, or quiche, don't smother my food in packet sauce mixes. It is not necessary to mess around with food, roasting, basting, baking, simmering for hours. For a single person like me it is a quick in and a quick out of the kitchen. I know some people will disagree with me, they like messing about in the kitchen, but for the purposes of this post, the questions came from DL, a single lady. 

Next question. Do I not eat sweets, chocolate, or puddings at all? I eat sweets very very rarely. When I see them I sometimes fancy them, but they scream out to me SUGAR NO NO NO, POISON. I might look at the ingredients on the back of the packet, then put them back, yuk. The only time I might indulge is when I am on a walk or a long car journey, I'll have a few in my pocket, usually mints to keep my mouth fresh. I do sometimes eat chocolate, but I can go a long time without it, 3 - 4 months. Then I have a treat because it tastes nice. I don't have a pudding after a meal, I don't need one because I am too full. I don't make custard. Having a pudding after a meal is not necessary, people do it because it's a tradition. Yes, you have noted that I do eat rice pudding. I sometimes fancy half a tin at night, an hour before I go to bed. I have a couple of tins of peach slices in my cupboard, I might have some with my cereal, or with yogurt as a snack. Not too often though because it's full of sugar. So, no puddings after a meal here. 

Next question. What about bread. I buy seeded or wholemeal, usually a loaf. I don't buy fancy bread unless it is reduce on a yellow sticker. I don't buy white bread. I make sandwiches, cheese and salad. I make toast. How much do I eat, not much at all. Maybe two slices a day. Last night I had toast with blue cheese on it, I was hungry after my 3 mile walk. I occasionally buy a pack of butter, but I limit it to 3 or 4 times a year. Some days I eat no bread at all. A loaf will last 8 or 9 days. 

You didn't ask about drinks, but I will mention it. I have one mug of coffee in the morning, I don't drink tea at all. I might have a second mug after a lunch of beans on toast, because it just finishes it off nicely, and I sometimes have a coffee at Crafty Club. During the day I drink diluted fruit juice, hot or cold. Sometimes from a carton or sometimes cordial from a bottle. It has sugar in it so I use sparingly just to give the water a slightly fruity taste. I occasionally like a mug of hot chocolate at night, maybe twice a week. My alcohol intake is minimal. I buy a bottle of wine every 3 - 4 weeks, make it last 4 days, and a 4pack of cider every 6 weeks. 

If I go out anywhere in the daytime and I know I will be hungry, I take food with me. A sandwich, boiled eggs, drink in a bottle.   

Phew, have I covered it all, ha ha. Feel like I have run a marathon. DL, as a single person there are a lot of corners you can cut when it comes to food preparation. Experiment, time yourself in and out of the kitchen. I hope I have given you some ideas. 



After reading all of your comments, I have decided to add this video, as it might be helpful to some people. The BBC has made three programmes with Doctor Rangan who has been staying with three families to try and help them sort out their unhealthy life styles. I urge anyone who is trying to lose weight to watch these programmes. 



Thanks very much for popping in. Merry Christmas to one and all. I'll be back tomorrow, talking to myself probably, ha ha. Toodle pip.

36 comments:

  1. I have just read this with interest. Can I hijack it for DL... I am not single but the other half will eat whatever is put in front of him so he eats whatever I fancy cooking. . Being at home alone all day gives me free rein to eat whatever I fancy too. I might have branflakes or just as easily I might have the remains of last nights meal for my brekkie. I cook big pans of soup and freeze it in smaller portions. I save every chicken carcasse from a roast dinner and when I have a few I make a big pan of stock which I freeze in smallish portions. It makes a great base for soup....... Have a lovely Christmas.

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  2. Your meal plan and comestibles sound perfect...x have fun Ilona!

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    1. Oooh errr Missus, what's a comestible?

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  3. You will never be talking to yourself, Ilona. How nice of you to go into a full reply to DL. I found it interesting too. Too easy to go and have a ready meal when you are feeding one. I think the advice that you give isn't just for single people though is it ? Its common sense. Have a good day tomorrow...Merry Christmas.

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  4. I ADORE your menu and meal plan - much like my own.

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  5. Ilona, Your answer shows us we can eat tasty and healthy food without spending too much time in the kitchen which I think most people would be happy about. Merry Christmas and I hope 2016 is one of your best years! Nancy from Northern California

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  6. Always great advice, but I'm a meat eating farm girl. Probably not in as good shape as you, however. Have a blessed Christmas

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  7. Very much like my own. I'm a vegetarian too. I NEVER have the cooker on - I only eat salads (lettuce, tomatoes etc etc grown by me). In Winter, I definitely go for warm food but not pies and veg - veggie soup followed by a salad again. I have one electric ring on a camp stove. Anything that needs warming up once it is cold, goes in the microwave. I don't eggs and unfortunately am very anaemic so have had to include iron even in my breakfast!!!!! I DON'T EAT SUGAR as a rule but I pick blackberries in the summer and make my own jam - this lasts me a whole year and the amount is negligible. I have big problems with my spine so I drink a lot of milk. I pop olive oil on my salads and flavour it with herbs (I grow more in the summer). I never, never buy anything in a box or packet from the supermarket - I make it all myself. Once you've gone to the trouble of doing it yourself, I never seem to guzzle anything. Natalie

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  8. How nice of you to answer DL with a detailed column. Is there a reason why you do not use regular milk on your cereal? What about peanut butter?

    My husband did the top up shopping yesterday and didn't get the salad mix I wanted but thanks to you I shrugged and said it will be fine. As you say eat what you have.

    Do you not like tea?

    Look forward to reading your blog tomorrow. Are you attending a church service? Happy Christmas.

    Sandy

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    1. Hi Sandy. I like the taste of soya milk, and it's cheaper. I buy bags of peanuts and make my own peanut butter. No, I don't like tea, never drunk it as a child, don't like the taste. I will drink a cup of weak tea if I am visiting someone. It's only good manners if they have no coffee.

      No, I won't be attending a church service. I like to think I live by Christian values, but I am not a church goer. Thank you for your questions. I hope you have a lovely Christmas.

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  9. Have a happy and peaceful Christmas Ilona and thanks for another year of your lovely blog.

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  10. I actually enjoy it when I am the only one in the house to cook for when hubby is away - dinner is whatever I wish. Usually I cook once and it lasts 3 days. Quiche made from a tortilla crust is one of my favorites and a great way to get rid of veggies that might be a little limp. I have been married for 10 years now but I find I waste more now not knowing exactly what we will eat so over cook. Fortunately we work from home and hubby has no issue with leftovers for lunch so they usually get eaten up. Merry Christmas to you!

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  11. OMG IIlona I didn't expect this, thank you, I will follow this advise to a Tee, I don't eat enough veg and eat far to much bread and SUGAR, my doctor will be pleased if I follow this, as I am a type 2 diabetic and weigh five stone too much. I am quite intelligent and know I am harming myself. Thank you again, will let you know how I get on, I can't walk too far for back problems, but intend to do more. Thank you again, I have followed you for years as we are the same age and single, I admire how you never feel lonely, care for animals as I do. Happy Christmas hope you are not alone on Christmas Day xx

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    1. Wouldn't it be great if you met up in the future? Great post. Merry Christmas to all.

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    2. Well done Devon Lass for trying to sort yourself out, I hope you are able to stick to Ilona's very sensible regime, do let us all know how you're getting on with it. Walking's one of the best things you can do as well, so do try to do as much as you can. Happy Xmas!

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    3. Hi Devon Lass. I have added a video to this post, scroll down to the bottom. It might be helpful to you and anyone else in a similar situation. Can I suggest that if you are reaching for sugary snacks to go through your cupboards and throw them all out. I know that it's a crime to throw food away, but these are not real food, they will kill you. Do not buy more, banish them from your house forever. It will be hard, but for the sake of your health you must try.

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  12. Merry Christmas & a very Happy New Year Ilona.
    Keep writing your wonderful blog.
    Big hugs for Rocky & your Pussies.
    Wendy (Wales)

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  13. Is a non-tea drinker in England an anomaly? I only drink iced, unsweetened tea. Hot tea just tastes nasty to me, and I don't want to insult the whole UK>

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  14. A great post Ilona and so thoughtful and helpful too. Enjoy your day tomorrow and all the best for 2016.Kristel

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  15. I'm now a widow. One of my hobbies is cooking. I cook a regular meal and then portion what is left in divided plates and freeze it (homemade TV dinners). I do the same as you with my soups and stews divide it up and freezing. I don't cook everyday, obviously, but I do have a stash of healthy meals in the freezer. As a Type 2 diabetic good nutrition is vital in controlling my blood sugars.

    Merry Christmas to everyone!

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  16. Merry Christmas Ilona! Kitty in the Forest

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  17. Greetings, I found this very interesting and enlightening. However, for someone like me who loves to cook and make things with dough (yes, messy flour and all the trapping), I will have to pass. But, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas, Pat

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  18. Happy Christmas to you and your lovely pets. I look forward to reading your blog in 2016. I always learn something from your posts.

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  19. Once again, a wonderful and useful post. Thanks for all your fun postings all year long. Merry Christmas. JanF

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  20. Lots of good tips! I am single too and do not really like to cook so enjoy your easy meals.

    I imagine that Aldi in the U.S. and UK carry different products but wanted to mention that I've recently discovered 12 Grain Bread at Aldi and it is tasty, not too expensive and has lots of fiber.

    Merry Christmas, Ilona, to you, Rocky, Heidi, Mayze and Bugsy. I'll be reading your blog on Christmas Day and I'm sure you will have lots of readers.

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  21. I also want to say I LOVE Joan's poem! Joan, you are very talented and you really captured Ilona.

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  22. Wonderful post as always. Merry Christmas to you Ilona ! Aussie Cheryl : )

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  23. Blessings to you Ilona. Have a lovely day. It is very good knowing you xx

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  24. Merry Christmas to you and your furry family have a lovely day!

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  25. Really good advice Ilona, think I might even try to do more of what you do, veggie wise anyway, but I do love my homemade bread and the sweet stuff as well unfortunately. But I am still walking 3 miles a day so it can't all be bad... Happy Xmas Ilona. Well, Happy Every Day actually, 'happiness is for every day, not just for christmas' ... as they say on those doggie posters!

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    1. Hi Sue. Keep on making that lovely bread, but easy on the butter, ha ha. From one walker to another, keep putting one foot in front of the other. Stay happy.

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  26. Happy Christmas, Ilona and heartfelt thanks for sharing your experiences and your wisdom.I don't comment but am a devoted reader of your blog, Ger in Ireland.

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    1. Welcome Ger, it's good to know you are visiting my blog.

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  27. Happy Christmas Day Ilona, may you have a peace-filled day with lovely Rocky and the puss cats. with all best wishes from only jo. p.s will be checking in later to see if you do a Christmas Day post.

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  28. Hope you had a wonderful Xmas Ilona. I loved your Queen's Speech. Many thanks for attaching the video clip. We are in Australia so wouldn't have the chance to see it. It was a good reminder to keep up with healthy eating and exercise. For breakfast this morning we are having stir fried veggies with an egg. It is really filling and could keep us going to dinner, if we wanted it to. On other days we have cooked oats with banana and sultanas. Not bad but the veggie breakfast is better. You are a treasure sharing what you do with us. Keep it up, it is very inspiring.

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  29. dear ılona
    love your blog and ım very much the same as you on a lımıted ıncome and love some of your tıps.Im blessed here wıth fab fruıt and veg markets and ı use a 3 tıer electrıc steamer whıch ı fınd very easy to use and ıts on a buılt ın tımer so cant boıl dry or burn and ı also fınd ınvaluable my electrıc wok and both these can be used outsıde ın our hot weather on an extensıon lead.For drınks ı make a lot of herbal tea eıther sage ,thyme or mınt delıcıous hot or chılled and very benefıcıal.I buy the bunches of drıed herbs off our market for peanuts and add other thıngs such as gınseng powder and lemon.HAPPY XMAS AND NEW YEAR Stella x

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