Empty Nesting – Cooking for Two?

Struggling with Empty Nesting?empty nesting 2

This happened to us this year….must say in the beginning it was slightly thrilling – my schedule was my own, could eat whatever/whenever  I wanted, could live in my whole house …. and then it got a little lonely and boring – most days of the week my husband and coaching partner works out of town, so it was just me and the dog. We went from, not just our two kids and two dogs no longer here, but the whole entourage of friends that come with them and our oldest dog passed away – all within a few weeks! The biggest impact and re-learning for me was cooking for one or two. I tend to make too much anyway when we had 3, 5, or 10 people for dinner (most weekends it was closer to 10), so scaling down to normal, healthy portions and not have too many leftovers was a real challenge.

We are also used to being Costco shoppers – what do you do when you buy in bulk to save money and now don’t need as much but don’t want to waste….time to learn some new habits!  Here are a few tips that have made our empty nesting transition a little easier:

  • Continue to meal plan – otherwise you’ll just eat junk or take-out
  • Continue to cook for yourself – it is healthier and you’re worth it (I found myself having Lean Cuisine and salad too many nights – in a pinch it is OK, but too much sodium to do this regularly!)
  • Cook a full recipe, but divide it into single serving sizes and freeze for later solo meals
  • Experiment with appetizers – we’ve really enjoyed making smaller, gourmet dishes and pairing with a new wine
  • Invite another empty nest couple to dinner – have grown-up conversation and agree to swap recipes
  • Get a new cookbook that caters to “cooking for one or two”
  • Cook simple – lately we’ve been going Mediterranean style – for instance, grill a whole fish (like seabass or snapper) with just a bit of olive oil, sea salt, lemon, and pepper – add a salad and side of quinoa with mixed grilled veggies (we like zucchini and tomatoes) – oh and of course – pair it with a crisp wine! (i.e. Vinho Verde)
  • Reduce the size of your favorite recipes (below are a few good websites that have options to change the number of servings)

empty nesting 3Take this time to change the focus of meal planning and preparation from feeding the gang – to a shared experience with your spouse — cooking together and talking about something other than kids, homework, ballgames, etc – maybe even take a cooking class together or try a recipe from a country you plan to visit!  Message me if you need ideas!!

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