Grocery Shopping: 10 Tips for the Solo Shopper (cont.)

7. Healthful bagged or boxed frozen foods come in handy. Just use part of the bag or box for your single serving, then put the rest back in the freezer for another meal. Here are a few of my favorite finds from Trader Joes:

  • Chicken & Vegetable pot stickers (Trader Joe's brand) 1/3 of a 16-ounce bag, about 1 meal-size serving, has: 240 calories, 11 grams fat, 3 g saturated fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 670 mg sodium, 24 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 12 grams protein. Vitamin C: 6% RDA, Calcium, 2%, Iron: 10%.

  • Frozen Mini Cheese Pizzas (Bambino Pizza Formaggio) 1 mini pizza has: 250 calories, 8 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 460 mg sodium, 30 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 15 grams protein. Vitamin A: 6% RDA, vitamin C: 4%, Calcium: 20%, Iron: 10%.

  • Frozen fried rice (Trader Joe's Nasi Goreng) 1/3 of a 16-ounce bag (1 serving) has: 130 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 530 mg sodium, 28 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 4 grams protein. Vitamin A: 45% RDA, Vitamin C: 8%. NOTE: You can add other foods to this, like chicken breast, tofu, scrambled egg, etc.

  • Amy's Chicago Veggie Burger with cheddar cheese (or other Veggie Burgers like Garden Burger brand) 1 burger has: 160 calories, 5 grams fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 390 mg sodium, 20 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 10 grams protein. Vitamin A: 30% RDA, Vitamin C: 4%. Calcium, 8%, Iron: 10%. Note: this brand is available at Whole Foods and other markets; Garden Burger is available at many supermarket chains.

8. Invest in "use as you go" sauces and marinades. Making sauces and marinades can take quite a chunk of time. So keep bottled or frozen versions on hand and just use what you need, when you need it. You can find some tasty bottled marinara sauces, and frozen and refrigerated pesto. For marinades or grilling sauces, try bottled salad dressings or marinades. Just keep leftovers in the fridge (or freezer, if you're using frozen types).

9. Some breakfast items lend themselves to single servings. It's easy to whip up one serving of French toast, toasted bagel, omelet or scrambled eggs, hot or cold cereal, even hash browns. (Buy a bag of frozen hash browns with 0 grams of fat per serving, and heat up just as much as you need in a nonstick frying pan coated with a teaspoon of canola oil.)

10. For other breakfast items (like pancakes, waffles, and muffins), make half a batch and freeze what's left. So instead of making pancakes using 2 cups of pancake mix, you'd use 1 cup of mix and cut the rest of the ingredients in half, too. If the directions call for 1 egg, add half of a beaten egg (2 tablespoons) or 2 tablespoons of egg substitute. If the muffin recipe makes 12 muffins, enjoy two for breakfast, save two for tomorrow's breakfast, and freeze the other eight for another time. Just pop in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm up, or take the frozen muffins with you to work -- they'll be thawed by your coffee break!

Published August 25, 2006.


Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is the "Recipe Doctor" for the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic and the author of numerous books on nutrition and health. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.

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