Eating Alone

Our pal Dan Nosowitz writes in Modern Farmer about an Australian study showing that people who live alone tend to have poor diets due to how they shop and cook for their single selves:

The theory behind this is that fruits and vegetables are more perishable than frozen foods or premade foods, and thus require more frequent trips, which can be more expensive or require more time for a single person than for multiple people. Buying, say, an entire butternut squash could be tricky: if you’re cooking for four, that single squash will be eaten quickly, before it goes bad. But for a single person? You may only eat part of it, and the rest will go bad before you can eat it, which doesn’t make good economic sense.

Other reasons include a lack of motivation to cook, which leads singles to eat ready-to-eat meals that may not have much in terms of nutritional value, and that “psychological impacts of living alone” — feelings of loneliness — also negatively influences our diets.

Like a lot of people living alone, I am totally guilty of eating, say, microwavable meals from Trader Joe’s after a long day of work, and it’s true that I used to cook more elaborate meals when I lived with roommates because it felt more social. But I’ve also managed to maintain a relatively healthy diet by shopping for things like, frozen vegetables (frozen broccoli or peas are great for throwing into pasta), frozen berries (smoothies), bagged spinach, and yogurt. I’ve eaten a lot of avocado toast for dinner. And when I’m especially lazy, I’ll go to TJ’s but try to skip the frozen meals and go for their $4 pre-packaged salads. All you people living alone out there: share your tips for meals for one, or know that if your diet is terrible, you are not alone.

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