Posted on July 05 2021
At the end of a hard workday, it can become a chore to figure out what to have for the evening meal. This has spawned full meal delivery services, but these can be costly meals that still require some time to prepare. Many of these are meals for two, as well. Single-person households can also find it challenging at the supermarket. The choices for single-serving items is poor at best. Those small canned veggie choices get old, and many would say the nutrient value is lower for canned foods.
Consider Sous Vide for Single-Person Households
Sous vide (pronounced sue-veed) is French for "under vacuum." The food is cooked in vacuum bags in a water bath to a precise temperature. Before it became popular for the regular home, sous vide cooking was used primarily by high-end chefs to prepare precisely cooked meals in better restaurants. Benefits include:
- Because the temperature of the water is set and maintained within one degree, food is unlikely to ever be overcooked. This means for example that setting a temperature that cooks a one-inch thick steak to medium rare is not only possible, but it cannot be overdone. The temperature determines the doneness, so leaving it in the water bath longer (within reason) will not change the quality of the finished steak.
- The same holds true for vegetables and side dishes. Setting a temperature and timer on the sous vide cooking appliance will allow single-person households to kind of "set it and forget it" for cooking without fear of ruining the result.
- Cooking from frozen works just as well without having to set items out to thaw. Decisions as to what to have for dinner can be made after work and still have dinner ready in short order.
- Single-person households can purchase fresh vegetables at the supermarket, divide them up into single servings, package them in vacuum bags, and freeze them. Arrival home from work means reaching into the freezer and grabbing two or three bags, setting the time and temperature for the items, and dropping them into the water.
- Food cooks in its own juices, resulting in tasty and healthy dishes.
There will be some cost to set up for sous vide cooking. The cooking devices with digital control of time and water temperature will need to be purchased. Because vegetables and meats cook at quite different water temperatures, two devices would be necessary to cook both at the same time. These devices clip on the side of a deep kitchen pot or clear plastic containers.
Single-Person Households Save Time and Money While Eating Better
Now a trip to the supermarket involves buying fresh vegetables in quantities for multiple meals instead of those tiny cans. Larger meat cuts can be bought and divided for individual meals. There is extra time to cut them up and divide them into single-serving vacuum bags, but the time is more than made up in the evenings after work when just grabbing a couple of bags and dropping them into the water bath is all that's needed.
There is a cost for a vacuum sealer and the vacuum sealer bags. However, the bags can be washed and used again if desired. All considered, the total cost to outfit for sous vide and individual serving fast and nutritious meals for single-person households is going to be less than a month's worth of those delivered meal packages.
For the High-Tech Single-Person Households
For those who love their technology, more expensive sous vide cooking appliances are available that work with a smartphone app. The user can start the cookers from their phones so that the water is at the proper cooking temperature and the time is set when they walk in the door. Meal preparation time becomes a couple of minutes to grab the meal choices from the freezer and drop them into the water. Then it is just a matter of waiting for the beeps that say the meal is ready to heat.
For the millions of single-person households, there is a way to get single portion meals that are nutritious, easy, and fast to prepare, and less expensive.