Does this stop you from eating a healthy diet? 45



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Eating well all of the time is hard work at the best of times, but eating for some it’s harder than others.

Now a study has confirmed what many of us already know: that those who dine alone at home are less likely to eat a healthy balanced diet.

Nutrition experts at the University of Queensland have examined 41 studies and determined that people who live alone are more prone to choosing ready-to-cook meals or something quick, like a bowl of cereal or bread and cheese.

Worryingly, the researchers found people who lived alone had fewer fruits and vegetables in their diet, along with other healthy fresh foods.

“Our results found that people who live alone have a lower diversity of food intake and a lower consumption of some core food groups like fruits and vegetables and fish,” nutrition and dietetics lecturer Dr Katherine Hanna Hanna told The Australian.

“Economic factors also explain lower consumption of foods like fruits and vegetables and fish, as they require more frequent purchase and consumption, which can be expensive.”

The researchers found that men were more likely to slip into bad habits, but divorced men and women, plus those who had recently lost their partner were also especially at risk.

Some of the reasons single people didn’t eat as well as they should were lack of money, motivation and the cooking skills necessary to make healthy meals for one.

Are you someone who lives alone and finds it difficult to eat well? What are the barriers you face? Is it cost or availability of fresh food? Lack of motivation or not knowing what to cook? All of the above? 


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I have lived on my own now for 20 years, and while I wouldn’t be eager to change any time soon or ever for that matter, I will admit it is not always possible to be motivated to do the right thing with your meals, that said I do love to eat fruit and veggies and I’m addicted to smoked salmon which I would have at least 3 times a week. However I know that I have a tendency to take the easy way out as I did last night which was a tomato sandwich followed by a piece of fruit, for me I hate preparing a meal for myself to eat alone there is something not very enticing about the whole process.

    1 REPLY
    • I could see myself doing the same. Most women I know say that if they were alone they would rarely bother to cook. I suppose it could’ve because they have had to cook for two or more for most of their lives and would welcome the change.

  2. I live alone and have do so so for a very long time, in summer a prepared a huge container or salad stuff and put it in the fridge I put everything it it from carrots to mushrooms the whole salad line, then each night I just prepare whatever I want with it like meat or fish, and in winter I cook stews, soups casseroles and making pies and pasties and put it all in individual serving and freeze it. It is easy and simple and I am eating good food.

    3 REPLY
    • Libbi I do the same thing as you in winter, I cook wholesome soups and stews and put it in the freezer for me to enjoy when I can’t be bothered. I actually hibernate in winter as I don’t cope very well with the cold weather and I find it easy and comforting to have plenty of soups and stews.

    • I cook meals and freeze them in small portions. Then I add fresh or frozen veg each time. Sometimes I might just have mushrooms or eggs on toast for easiness or if I’m tired. Bananas and apples in the house and mangos now of course.

    • Excellent advice. I do something very similar, using that salad mix for everything from salads to stir fries to a base for stews (minus the lettuce). A freezer and microwave aid the budget, allowing bulk storage and re-heating of home-made “fast food”.

  3. I go through stages. I love my fruit and fish. At the moment I have to be careful what I eat as I am taking medication that changes with the food I consume. On the whole I try to eat healthily but sometimes it just doesn’t happen.

  4. I live alone now, and I can’t prepare food for one so I make a large quantity and freeze it I also make a big salad and that lasts for a few days, I think I’m having a good variety of healthy foods.

    2 REPLY
  5. When cooking casseroles or soup I cook enough to freeze a few meals that way when I prefer not to cook I still have good meals!!

  6. I am a coeliac which is an absolute pain in the arse

    1 REPLY
    • So is my sister Judy. But that shouldn’t make any difference to eating healthy and gluten free.

  7. Guilty! Have always loved cooking, but it just doesn’t seem worth it for one, and my freezer overflows with too many extra meals. I have lately been making salad wraps – at least they are healthy

  8. I live alone Monday through Friday. But I love to cook. I plan my menu for the week on Wednesday and shop for my ingredients on Thursday. I never buy fresh vegies as I have too much waste. Frozen is good. Even buy frozen mashed potato. I make enough to feed 4 and freeze meals. I have just taken my lunch out of the freezer. Home made Roasted Pumpkin and Bacon Creamy Pasta. Thanks SAS for the recipe. It is yummy.

    3 REPLY
    • I live alone all the time, I cook and eat well and the only frozen vegetable I eat is frozen peas. But then again, I love to cook and have additional meals in freezer too or have salads in summer. For me cooking is a form of relaxation. We don’t do takeaways unless it’s an occasional chicken to go with salad. If I want to do something wicked I go to the naughty drawer for a frozen pie, at least once every two months.

    • I buy fresh vegies when they are on special, then blanch and freeze them. I’ve never heard of ‘frozen mashed potato’. Do you know what the salt content is? I love it when my husband is on night shift (2 out of every 6 days) so I can just eat vegetarian.

    • Jeanette Southam Just went and got the potato out of the freezer. Ingredients are – potato, milk, butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Salt content – 300mg per 100 g. Hope this helps. It is very nice.

  9. I live alone & hate cooking, my husband used to do all the cooking. I saw a nutritionist as part of my care plan &I he gave me some good ideas. I now have cereal with fruit & yoghurt for breakfast & a slow cooker for dinner. I have a Tupperware steamer which gives me vegetables in 12 minutes. These things make it easier for me to cook. Most times I can get 2 meals from the 1 cook. In winter I have a soup maker.

  10. When my Mother passed away my Father refused to cook for himself, he started off going to the bistro at the local hotel for a while. When he got fed up of that to make sure he ate at least one decent meal a day I would cook up a batch of chicken & veg casserole and leave it in his fridge so all he had to do was heat it up, otherwise he would have eaten chocolate biscuits or cereal all day. I also supplemented his food with meals on wheels being delivered to him.

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