Eating alone can be scary and lonely, but I learned to love eating alone and eating healthier in consequence here at PumpjackPiddlewick

One of the slightly off piste things I worried about when I moved into my new yet medieval home was trying to be healthy whilst also cooking and eating alone. It was a whole new world for me to navigate.

I didn’t rush into plans, but took my time seeing what worked for me. I certainly didn’t beat myself up if I didn’t always eat healthily. There was so much else to do what with the restoration work on the garden and house, let alone a new job guiding away from my new home.

There are No Rules

First, what I worked out is there are no real rules. Lots of ideas, and suggestions. I will most likely make a few here. Take them as you will. But ultimately I had to work out what works for me. What would and could I do to keep myself healthy living on my own. This meant looking at and recognising my strengths, and more importantly my weaknesses.

Such as, when I am tired it is much too easy to eat something packaged, a store bought ready meal if you will. Or even not eat at all, simply because I couldn’t be bothered. Reviewing my bad habits over the first 6 months alone, really helped me figure out what I was prone to do, and where I could fix things. And most importantly, I gave myself time to determine how.

With Great Intent

I always had and have great intentions to eat well. However, late nights after a 10 hour work day or my days off at home generally meant being tired, and not up to cooking. So if this was the new normal, how to work within the parameters had to be figured out. Slowly I determined it was best to keep stocks of healthy yet fast snacks. My two go to’s are a mixture of peanuts and raisins, or apple slices dipped in peanut butter. (I make homemade peanut butter in large jar batches when I have more time and energy.)

Throwing those rules of what to eat when out the window really helped. To my mind, as long as it was healthy and I was eating, it was good. And simple. A bowl of cereal at night, fine. A (healthy) sandwich for breakfast, okay. It really was about keeping it simple.

Convenience Isn’t

No one is perfect, and I have no expectation to fully walk away from convenience foods. But, as I know they are really not healthy, I am consciously trying to have them less and less. More a guilty treat, than regular staple.

Not having a microwave or oven helps with limiting what I can buy on this front. Which is purposeful, as even with the best will in the world readymade foods have to include preservatives and thus chemicals to make them last. Even pre-made salads. So limiting my cooking methods has actually really helped me in eating healthier.

Fast vs Slow

Eating alone is more problematic when it comes to cooking. Finding, ney making, the time to make something, let alone giving time and energy to healthy eating. When I’m home I am either enjoying being truly lazy, doing nothing, which does not lend itself to cooking. Or I am busy on a project in my restoration home or garden. Then taking time away becomes difficult.

What I found has worked for me is the fast or the slow road. I make sure when shopping I buy foods that suit one or the other of these mediums. It’s either bung something into a slow cooker when I first get up and leave it cook away in the background until I am ready to eat. Or, fast saute in a wok when I find myself peckish. In fact my kitchen is minimalist in equipment. There is a small slow cooker, suitable for one to two (perfect for leftovers when eating alone) and a single wok burner. That’s it.

Eating Alone

Whether through choice or curve balls in life, eating alone can be a lonely, even scary thing. The majority of people are not comfortable eating alone in a restaurant, in example. To my mind, the major reason is that they worry what others will think of them. If you can get past this, then eating out alone becomes much easier.

I personally prefer eating lunch alone over dinner, and am lucky that here in France this is the main meal. Sitting alone in a bistro, especially outside where I can people watch for my entertainment, has become a real go to enjoyment now.

Be Responsible for Yourself

Interestingly, dietitians tell us that if you choose to eat healthier, when eating alone you are more likely to stick to it. Those pressures put upon you by others, or the need to please others, or even simply clean your plate, all can add to less healthy temptations. But, you do need to make the decision to be healthy. Especially if you are alone.

Even more research indicates that people rarely make the time or effort to create balanced meals for just themselves. All the more reason I am glad I took the time to figure out what works for me. And now, my slow cooked chicken with vegetables should be done. Time to enjoy my meal, alone, sat in my garden, with the ducks playful antics all about me, and a cat trying to steal some chicken. There is alone, and then there are varying degrees of alone.

More Food Musings

I enjoyed my days as a chef, and struggled through days of never wanting to cook again. But mostly, I really enjoy fresh foods, foraged foods and foods I grow in my own garden. For more of my musings on food (not that I am obsessed, or rather a healthy obsession), you can read here in Food Findings – recipes included. Here’s a taste:

Time Poor and Good Food

Is French Food Better?

A Taste of a French Gouter

8 Reasons to Try Foraging

Don’t Panic! How to Cook for a Vegetarian

Diet and Healthy Lifestyle?

And if you are into all things cooking, here’s a taste of some vintage and antique kitchen utensils and other weird and wonderful items in My Shop:

Simply click on an image if you wish to see more


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