Food essentials when living alone

Food essentials when living alone

Recently, I wrote an article about Staples in the kitchen, which was about things I need to really enjoy cooking. However, these were only tools. In this article, I’ll discuss what food related items are absolute necessities for me when I am living alone.

What you need to know beforehand is that the focus for me lies in:

  1. Quick and easy options, since I am often pretty busy
  2. Healthy options, preferably within the ideas of The Happy Brain diet
  3. Things with a longer shelf life, since I live alone and buying bigger packaging is better for the environment and my wallet, but it should not go bad to easily.

1. Herbs, spices, onions and garlic

Since I try to seriously limit my salt usage, herbs and spices became essential for some flavor in my cooking. Next to just normal (freshly grounded) black pepper, (red) onions and fresh garlic cloves, my favourites are:

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric (combined with black pepper for a nicely baked egg in the morning)
  • Thyme
  • Cayenne pepper
  • A chilli flakes/garlic mix
  • Coriander
  • Nutmeg (for all things spinach related)
  • Cocoa powder
  • Cinnamon powder

Now of course, this very much depends on your type of cooking. I adore Mediterranean and Mexican food, so a lot is based on those things. The last two are more for baking or sweet breakfasts, like Overnight oats or My favourite breakfast smoothie. I also love spicy food, which is what a lot of things on this list will be based on.

2. Sriracha sauce

So to keep with the theme of spicy food, I love me some sriracha sauce from the brand Flying Goose, especially the one with extra garlic in it. I use this on its own to accompany a nice grilled cheese sandwich or burgers, or to add to (tomato) sauces to spice things up a bit. It makes a lot of dishes, just that little bit more excitable.

3. Taco shells, (wholegrain) pasta and (wholegrain) noodles

Since I live alone, it can be hard to buy food, since the packagings are often large and I don’t want to eat the same types of food every day. This is why I have a lot of types of pasta in my house and some taco shells and noodles. These don’t go bad that easily, so I don’t have to prepare all of it the same week.

wholegrain pasta, a variety of sorts

4. Diced tomato’s or passata

When I really want to make a quick pasta, having diced tomatoes or passata in the house makes it that much easier. I know in my supermarket which brands have the least amount of salt and sugar and I only add herbs into it to make a tomato sauce. Of course, making it from scratch is healthier and tastes better, but for a quick meal, these do fine as well.

5. Pre-made soups

When I have a day off, I always make some easy soups to throw into the freezer. This way, I can have soup as lunch or dinner easily and quick, without the additives of canned soups and I know that they contain lots of vegetables.

campbell s tomato soup a can

6. Frozen fruit and frozen bread

When you live alone, fruit can go bad quite quickly, which is annoying, especially since fruit can be expensive. That is why I often freeze fruits like blueberries and grapes. They get sweeter by freezing them in, they will contain their vitamins better and they defrost quickly.

The same goes for frozen bread. Unlike most Dutchies, I am not very fond of normal bread and thus, I only really eat it when making grilled cheese sandwiches. In that case, it does not really matter that the bread gets a little more soggy from the fridge and it does stay good for much longer!

7. Frozen fish (or vegan filets), frozen (grilled) veggies and frozen rösti rounds.

Frozen fish is also much healthier, much easier to keep for longer and mostly also cheaper than non-frozen fish. Although I love a fresh fish from the market, having some salmon and codfish in the fridge is a good way to keep me eating healthy without the hassle. Sometimes, I also switch these up with vegetarian or vegan fillets, for instance spinach-cheese schnitzels (which I also eat on its own as a breakfast option sometimes).

Also frozen veggies remain healthier in the freezer and often, you can get them pre-grilled, so they are easy to warm up, whereas grilling them is often a little bit more difficult. I also always have some frozen spinach at hand for quick pasta recipes.

These things combined with some rösti rounds or other carbs make a quick and easy meal for me on the days where I don’t feel like cooking, but I do want a relatively healthy meal.

8. Canned beans and corn

As mentioned earlier, I adore mexican food. Therefore, I always have some canned beans and canned corn on hand. These, mixed with some onion, garlic, herbs and rice (or taco shells) make for a great quick one pot meal. Of course, the Mexican kitchen is much more rich, but this is a nice option after long days of work.

I hope this list will help you to fill up your pantry and for quick, healthy recipe ideas! What are your absolute must-haves in the kitchen? Please let me know in the comments below! Also, please follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, or subscribe on the right and get an email every time I upload!

Lots of love,


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Hi there! My name is Lisa and I am the author of Mind and Body Intertwined. I have a bachelor's and a master's degree in psychology. During my study, I found out how much the mind and the body are connected and it fascinated me, which is why I started my blog. Would you like to join me on this little corner of the world?

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Jenny in Neverland
4 years ago

Definitely essentials! Even if you’re not living alone, all these are handy to have in the house! x