Cooking for One

Tips for Cooking for One on a Budget


Stock up on healthy, inexpensive, and basic ingredients

  • Canned or dried legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), canned tomatoes, and boxed or canned broth to make quick soups, stews, and chili.
  • Quinoa, brown rice, and oats are nutritious whole-grain options to add as a side dish or to the base of a meal.
  • Frozen fruits (bananas, peaches, and berries) make quick smoothies for breakfast and snacks.
  • Eggs are a cost-effective and convenient source of protein – hardboiled, poached, scrambled, omelette, frittata – the possibilities are endless!
  • Canned fish, such as sardines, salmon, and tuna make great, portable, shelf-stable sources of protein to add to a salad, sandwich, pasta, or casserole for a quick meal.

Make extra food and safely store your leftovers

  • Cook one big batch of your favorite meal and store the leftovers for 2-3 days in the fridge.
  • Store individually-portioned meals in the freezer. If properly wrapped, most foods can be kept frozen for 2 to 3 months. Foods that freeze well include: breakfast muffins and burritos, chili, pastas, lasagna, soups, stews, and casseroles.
  • Freeze foods using heavy foil, freezer bags, or containers designed for freezing to preserve quality and avoid waste.

Save money on groceries

  • In London, selected Loblaw, Real Canadian Superstore, Metro, and Food Basics stores offer students a 10% discount on Tuesdays. Check with your nearest store for details.
  • Check the weekly flyers before you go shopping, and plan your meals around sale items. For example, if ground beef is on sale, plan to make a big batch of lasagna and freeze the leftovers.
  • Be careful when buying discounted fresh foods. To avoid waste, always check the expiration dates.
  • Shop with a friend so you can split large bulk items and take advantage of volume discounts such as “buy one, get one free”.
  • Choose store brands over name brands.
  • Take advantage of great apps that allow you to search flyers for sales and receive discounts. Try Flipp, Snap, and CheckOut51.

Need some new ideas for meals and snacks? Check out Cookspiration or download the app for tons of dietitian-approved recipes.