Last month I wrote about the joys and perils of eating alone. Eating alone is no excuse to not eat, to not eat healthy, or to not enjoy eating!
Eating is an activity to enjoy, but as with just about everything else in life, it takes some planning and may even take a change in your habits.
When it comes to what to eat when you are eating alone, this depends on your dietary preferences, health, lifestyle habits, financial situation and more.
Here’s some ideas…
It hasn’t changed, breakfast is still considered one of the most important meals of the day, and it doesn’t have to be what you consider to be breakfast foods, just have something within an hour of waking up. Starting your morning with a higher protein breakfast is a great way to start the day.
• Eggs: Whether you eat the whole egg, or egg whites, eggs are a good way to start off the day. I recommend an omelet. These are simple to make. Just scramble up your eggs, put about a teaspoon of butter or olive oil in your pan, add some of your favorite veggies, your eggs, and some cheese. Let it cook and voila! An omelet. You can change this up daily by changing the veggies or the cheese. Or, if you don’t want to cook in the morning, once a week, hard boil up a dozen eggs. Refrigerate them, and pop one or two in your mouth for breakfast with your coffee or tea.
• Other suggestions: If you don’t like eggs or other breakfast foods, try a slice of cheese or leftovers from the evening before. For example, if you had chicken last night, have some chicken for break- fast. If you feel like you must have bread, make sure it’s whole grain, and try to keep it to one thin slice. Melt some cheese on it, or spread it with natural peanut butter. Plain Greek yogurt is also a good choice.
Lunch & Dinner
Do you prepare it yourself, eat out, or order in? Either way, keep the plate method principle in mind:
• Look at your plate. Half of your plate should be non-starchy vegetables, such as green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. One fourth should be your protein, such as chicken, seafood, meat, pork, soy. Then one-fourth, your carbohydrate (starch), such as a small sweet potato, corn, rice, barley, or quinoa.
Don’t forget to have healthy snacks with you at all times and make sure to eat at least a little something every 4 to 6 hours when awake. Healthy snacks consist of one of these:
• One ounce of nuts. These can go anywhere with you.
• One or two whole grain crackers with peanut or almond butter.
• Plain Greek yogurt with one ounce of chopped nuts or berries.
• Popcorn popped in olive oil or hot-air popped. Three cups popped. It’s delicious with a slice of cheese.
• A small piece of fruit, such as an apple, peach or pear, or a cup of fresh berries. Have a few nuts or a teaspoon of nut butter, or a slice of cheese with your fruit. It is delightful and keeps your hunger down.
In reality, the way to eat is the same for people who eat alone as it is for people who eat with others. It’s really how you look at it.
Joy Pape, West Village Resident Clinical Nurse Practitioner Weill Cornell Medical College Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism
Center for Weight Management and Metabolic Clinical Research