Cooking for two has been something I have been helping clients with since I started my career. A lot of recipes are written for 4 servings, and cooking a big meal for two people is not always what you want to be doing.
Whether you are newly married or empty nesters, my tips for finding your couples cooking style below can help!
Healthy Tips When Cooking for Two
Plan your plate. Focus on making 50 percent of your plate vegetables, 25 percent lean meat and 25 percent whole grains. This can look like a plate with some roasted chicken, brown rice and green beans or combining a dish into a stir fry with shrimp over whole wheat linguini.
Make a plan. Avoid trigger foods and situations by making a meal plan for both of you for the week! Go through recipes and cookbooks together, compare calendars and assign cooking duties for the week. What day will you choose to meal plan together?
Choose recipes for 2 servings or choose 4 servings with leftovers. There are a lot of healthy cookbooks featuring recipes for two, and several websites now are interactive with a feature to change the servings.
Look for one-dish meals. This will make it easier to prepare and clean up. Who wants to be doing dishes all night?! Some great options are sheet pan dishes, skillets and one pot dinners — one of my favorites is chicken parm with Italian veggies!
Cook once, use twice. Plan meals so that you can use the extra food in new dishes (or lunches). Cook brown rice, quinoa or whole grain pasta for one meal and use the remainder in a dish on another day. Same goes for meats — try baking all of the chicken for a meal and use the leftovers in sandwiches, salads and soups.
Decide who’s chef. Take this time to catch up and build upon your relationship. Instead of having one person cook while the other one watches TV or does work, designate the “chef” and the “sous chef” of the meal. Same goes for dishes — one washes and one dries!
Curate your dinner playlist. Make dinner and cooking fun by creating a playlist of songs you love to listen to while cooking and eating dinner. This keeps meal time more mindful by keeping the TV off, and it also helps build your relationship.