If it makes you feel down to be eating alone, try to remember all the mealtimes that were hectic – kids saying “Yuck, I won’t eat this!” or trying to feed everyone when they all had different sports and activity schedules. See? There is a silver lining.
Now is the time to experiment on some new recipes and new tastes. You no longer have to please those meat and potato or bland food lovers. Get an Italian cookbook or Asian cookbook and try out some recipes and spices you don’t normally use. You may be pleasantly surprised when you remember how fun cooking and eating can be.
To take advantage of your big box store’s good prices, find one or two friends who are willing to go in on purchases with you. Usually you don’t want and can’t possibly use up 9 bell peppers before they go bad, but if you take 3 and your 2 friends each take 3, it works out splendidly.
You can still make your favorite recipes even if there is too much for you and your partner to eat in one sitting. Instead of having leftovers for the rest of the week, divide the dish up into smaller portions and freeze them. For example, when you make a big pot of soup or chili, put enough for an evening meal into freezer containers. You might get 4 or 5 meals out of one pot. Tips – use freezer bags instead of containers if freezer storage is an issue, label what’s inside, date it, and add any additional cooking instructions.
Make a point of having dinner guests. Throw away your excuses, tidy up the few rooms your guests will see, and lay out a nice spread that you all will enjoy. Then you will look forward to mealtimes. If you don’t feel like you’re up to the cooking challenge, take a cooking class and make the dishes you’ve learned for your guests.
Start a dinner club with your friends. Have 6-8 friends form a group where you alternate houses for dinner, say once a month. These dinners can follow a theme of the host’s choice and every person is required to bring a specified dish – appetizer, salad/vegetable, starch, or dessert. The host of the month provides the main dish/meat, the beverages, and the dinner table.
Another idea is to make a point of trying new restaurants that are a little out of your comfort zone. Maybe you don’t think you like Thai, but you’ve never tried it. You could be pleasantly surprised what you do like when it’s prepared in an appetizing fashion.
Dinner time is one of those times you really notice that you live alone, but if you think about it, now is your chance to get together more with friends, try new foods, and broaden your food horizons.