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October 25, 2012

Cooking for 1 or 2: Older Adults Can Adjust to an Empty Nest

After years of pushing overflowing shopping carts through Sam’s Club, doubling recipes to fill the grumbling stomachs of hungry teens, and passing platters piled high with food at thousands of family meals, cooking for only one or two can be an adjustment. It’'s not just the need to scale back your grocery list and reconsider the wisdom of bulk purchases. (Are you really saving money if the 5-pound box of sliced cheese you’'re used to buying starts sprouting blue mold before you’'re halfway through it?) Getting excited about home cooking can be a challenge when you’'re cooking for only one or two when you are used to a house full of hungry dinner mates. 

Cooking for an Empty Nest 

There’'s something about feeding a crowd that makes cooking fun. Even if you’'re just feeding the family, home cooking becomes an event when people crowd around the table. In comparison, cooking for yourself or you and your spouse hardly seems worth the time and effort. The inability to get excited about home cooking is a common problem for empty-nesters. Once their children leave home, many people start eating out or ordering in more often. After years in the kitchen, the cook certainly deserves a break; and it’'s fun to sample new restaurants. But after a few weeks, the strain on your budget— and your waistband— can have you yearning for home cooking. 

Getting Stuck in Mealtime Ruts 

Unfortunately, when you’'re cooking for one or two, it’'s easy to get in a rut and fall back on the same boring stand-bys week after week. Meals tend to become one-note, focusing on protein or carbohydrates instead of providing the balanced nutrition our bodies need to stay healthy. Don’t let this happen to you! There are tons of ways to get excited about cooking again. Check back next time for a full list of ways to rediscover the joys of cooking at home. 

In the meantime, you may want to consider downsizing now that you no longer need a place for your son’'s lizard aquarium or your daughter’'s shoe collection that took up an entire closet itself. For a little help, download our free guide, “Top 10 Downsizing Survival Tips” today.

Remain Independent

Photo: Prem Sichanugrist


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