One of the challenges of eating alone is balancing pleasure with practicality.  For me, that translates into eating a variety of foods without getting all the dishes in the kitchen dirty!  I find the simplest option is having a small plate of appetizers while cooking dinner or reheating food.  Simple tappas, vegetables in any form (raw, blanched, roasted, pureed, marinated, pickled), a cracker or two, a bite or two of cheese, a spoonful or two of leftover dip or sauce, a few bites of leftover bean salad, and even the occasional piece of fruit or a small portion of nuts.  Keeping a container or two of sliced or blanched vegetables in the fridge to make it easy to put a plate together for your own mini-party.

If you’re someone who doesn’t cook because you’re too hungry when you start, or you procrastinate on cooking until you are famished, try pulling out a few jars and containers from the fridge to assemble a quick appetizer plate.  Nibble on it while you cook, and you’ll have to patience to cook. Or, triple the size and call it a meal!

Small plate #1

4-5 black olives
3-4 carrot or celery sticks
1 slice mozzarella
2-3 slices roasted red pepper

Small plate #2

3-4 sliced cucumbers
4 marinated artichoke hearts
2-3 cubes feta
1/4 c pickled vegetables

Small plate #3

4-5 spears blanched broccoli
3-4 slices bell pepper
2 T peanut sauce

Small plate #4

5-6 carrot sticks (or rounds)
2-3 crackers
3-4 olives
2-3 spoonfuls white bean artichoke dip

The key is to keep your plate heavy on the vegetable component! You’ll add another serving or two of vegetables to your day without even thinking about it.