If you live by yourself, don’t worry, you’re not alone! If you’re in the USA, you’re one of 35 million single-person households. In the UK, the figure is 7.7 million. But, if you’re all by yourself, how should you go about your grocery shopping? Having a good healthy grocery list for one will not only keep you fit and fed, but also has some other surprising benefits.
- All Buy Myself
- Weekly Healthy Grocery List for One FAQs
- Healthy Food Portion Breakdown
- Weekly Healthy Grocery List Template
All Buy Myself
There’s nothing quite like independence: having no one else to rely on but yourself. Unfortunately, this means that you have to look after your grocery shopping, too.
But where do you even start with doing the groceries? Well, making sure you’re keeping yourself healthy is a very good start. There are plenty of “healthy grocery lists” online that can give you plenty of tips and ideas. But how do you actually translate it into a basic grocery list for 1?
The trick here is to try and work out precisely how much you’ll need. Having items like chicken, carrots, avocados, milk, and bread on your list are all well and good, but how do you know how much of each you should buy?
We’ll take you through some questions you might have about a weekly healthy grocery list, then break down how many meals and portions a standard pack of your usual food provides. Then, according to general healthy eating guidelines, we’ll provide you with a household shopping list template. However, you can skip straight to the free printable template if you wish.
Weekly Healthy Grocery List for One FAQs
Do I really need to use a shopping list?
There’s a temptation to think that, because you’re living alone, that shopping is easy. This is because you feel you don’t need to buy as much and therefore don’t need to plan as meticulously. But if anything, living by yourself means you probably should be planning more!
But why is this?
Firstly, to keep costs down. Supermarkets are quite unscrupulous when it comes to finding sneaky psychological ways to make you buy things you didn’t plan to or simply don’t need. Making a list and doing your darndest to stick to it will help you fight those bedazzling offers and temptations. This is important went it comes to pricier items on your list. You don’t want to be spending unnecessary pennies on the olive oil that’s on offer when your normal brand is still cheaper.
Using a good shopping list means that you’ll only buy what you need. This means you’ll be less likely to end up with products that you’ll never use, or worse, have to throw away. After all, overheads are much higher when living in a single-person household, so making sure you have a good cheap grocery list for one person is actually quite essential.
Secondly, it will help reduce food waste. Environmental issues are becoming more and more prevalent these days. Food waste is a large contributor to greenhouses gasses and climate change. It’s also costly, as every unused food item you throw out is actually something you’ve spent money on. Having a good shopping list will help you buy only what you need for that week, and reduce your food waste.
Thirdly, a good shopping list can help you maintain a healthy living lifestyle. It’s easy to plump for ready-made meals for one when living alone. They’re convenient, but they’re certainly not as healthy as preparing your own food. Having a good weekly meal plan and shopping list can help you prepare your own meals and keep your intake of unhealthy saturated fat, sodium, and refined sugar down.
So, I should create a meal plan?
It’s definitely advised.
Figuring out exactly what you’ll be eating and cooking for the week will really help ensure your grocery list for one reduces waste and spending.
Be honest when you create your meal plan. Are there some nights where you’re simply not going to have the time or the energy to cook a meal? Are you likely to go for takeout at the weekend? If so, don’t worry! It’s far better to included and incorporate these into your meal plans and shop around these.
But isn’t buying in bulk cheaper?
Generally, yes. But it isn’t if you just end up throwing stuff away because you haven’t used things before they go bad, it really isn’t.
There’s no point buying 10 onions for $5 at 50¢ each, rather than $3 for the 4 onions at 75¢ if you end up throwing 6 onions away. If this happens, you actually ended up paying $5 for just 4 onions: that’s $2.5 per onion!
But you can make buying in bulk work for you as long as you have the knowledge and the means to preserve things for longer. For example, if you have extra onions, you can take time to chop up the ones you’re unlikely to use straight away and store them in the freezer.
Check out our “How to Store” section for guides and tips about how to get the maximum shelf-life from your food.
Should I Cook for One?
Cooking for one doesn’t take much less time than cooking for 4 or more. Therefore, you might want to consider cooking a meal that serves 4+ and storing the remaining portions to have later in the week.
Of course, this is totally dependent on your storage situation, particularly freezer space. It also means your weekly menu will have a narrower variety of meals for you to enjoy.
But doing this really helps keep costs down as you’re simply buying a lot less. It also saves time for some meals as all you need to do is defrost then reheat a portion.
Are there any general money-saving tips for shopping for one?
The best tip is to make a shopping list and stick to it, which we’ve mentioned above.
The next best tip is that frozen and canned food are godsends!
Both are generally cheaper in weight compared to their fresh counterparts. They are also just as healthy as fresh food. If you’re choosing time-saving prepare food, such as frozen mixed chopped vegetables, then they might be pricier. However, the convenience of these might be worth the extra pennies.
What’s also great about these is that they keep for a long time. So, if your meal plan for the week diverges for whatever reason, at least you don’t need to worry about having to throw unused food items out because you didn’t get round to using them as planned. As well as reducing your food waste, as they can be used at a later date you won’t be putting your hard-earned bucks straight into the garbage.
Healthy Food Portion Breakdown
As mentioned, the biggest issue with creating a weekly healthy grocery list for one is knowing how much to actually buy. But how much does your average pack of food at the grocery store provide you with, according to healthy eating guidelines?
Meat, Fish, & Eggs
1lb / 500g pack of chicken breasts = 4 meals
1lb / 500g pack of lean ground beef = 4 meals
1 ½ lb / 300g pack of ham = 10 sandwiches
1 can of tuna (5oz / 160g) = 1 meal
1 can of sardines (50os / 160g) = 1 meal
Pack of 2 salmon fillets = 2 meals
6 medium eggs = 3 egg breakfasts
2 cups / 500ml carton of milk (or milk alternative) = 8 bowls of breakfast
1 lb / 500g tub of Greek yogurt = 3 bowls
½ lb / 250g stick/block of butter or healthy oil-infused spread = 50 slices of bread
¾ lb / 350g block of cheese = 12 sandwiches
1 loaf of wholemeal/wholegrain bread = 10 sandwiches
1 lb / 500g bag of wholegrain pasta = 6 meals
½ lb / 250g bag of brown rice = 5 meals
1lb / 500g box of healthy breakfast cereal = 10 breakfast bowls
1lb / 500g box of oatmeal = 10 breakfasts
1 can of chopped tomatoes = 4 servings of pasta sauce
1 onion = ingredient for 2-4 portions (depending on recipe)
1 avocado = 2 meals
1 medium eggplant / aubergine = 2-3 sides
1 medium zucchini / courgette = 2-3 sides
1 can of peas = 2 sides
1 can of beans (any) = 2 meals/sides
1 sweet potato = 2 sides
2 carrots = 1 side
Fruit & Nuts
1 apple = 1 snack
1 large banana = 1 snack
1 orange = 1 snack
2-3 satsumas/clementines/mandarins = 1 snack
2 plums = 1 snack
1 cup of (approx 8) strawberries = 1 snack
1 cup of (approx 32) grapes = 1 snack
1 handful of nuts (approx. 1oz / 30g) = 1 snack
1 handful of dried mix fruit (approx 1oz / 30g) = 1 snack
Weekly Healthy Grocery List Template
Taking into account all the approximate portion sizes above, we will now present to you your free printable weekly healthy grocery list for one person. What’s included here follows general healthy eating guidelines which include:
- 2 portions of fish (preferably oily) per week
- No starchy vegetables (such as potatoes)
- Meat portion control
- White meat and lean red meat
- 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, snacking on about 2-3 portions of fruit a day and having 2 portions of vegetables with a main meal
We’ve also included items like healthy condiments that you should only need to buy when you run out or low on them. Some of the other ingredients on this list may last you more than a week too, such as grains, but they should keep for a long time in a cool dry place.
You’re more than welcome to make additions and subtractions to this list to make it your own.
Basic Grocery List for 1
Meat, Fish, & Eggs
- 1x carton of 6 eggs
- 1x can of fish
- 1x pack of 2 fish steaks
- 1x ¾ lb / 350g pack of ham
- 1x 1lb / 500g pack of white or lean red meat
- 1x 1 ¾ lb / 350g block of cheese
- 1x 2 cup / 500ml carton of milk or alternative
- 1x stick/block of butter or healthy oil-infused spread
- 1x 1 ¾ lb / 350g tub of Greek or natural yogurt
- 1x 1lb / 500g bag of wholegrain pasta
- 1x 1lb / 500g box of healthy breakfast cereal
- 1x 1ln / 500g box of oatmeal
- 1x loaf of wholemeal/wholegrain bread
- Herbs & Spices
- Hot sauce
- Peanut/almond butter
- Tartare sauce
- 2x avocados
- 1x 1lb / 500g bag of carrots
- 1x can of beans
- 1x can of chopped tomatoes
- 1x eggplant / aubergine
- 2x onions
- 1x can of peas
- 2x sweet potatoes
- 2x zucchini / courgette
- 5x apples
- 5x bananas
- 1x bunch of grapes
- 5x oranges
- 4x plums
- 1x punnet of strawberries
- 1x bottle of healthy oil (olive/linseed/rapeseed)
Do you think this will last you for an entire week? What other healthy food would you add to this list? Have you any tips for storing excess food for a long time? Let us know in the comments.