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Ah, cooking for two.

You’re officially empty nesters! The kids are gone—either off to college, married, or moved out-of-state for a job.

What to do for dinner? How often do you grocery shop now that it’s just the two of you? Some of your options may include:

  • Cook? Screw that, just go out to eat! But every night? Maybe—depends on your situation & finances. Do you have the money to eat out? Do you have friends & family to go out with? Are you a really bad cook and look forward to eating out?
  • Eat out once a week or just a few nights and cook the rest of the time.
  • Never eat out. Learn to adjust your grocery shopping & cooking because you don’t have the money, you don’t like to eat out, you would rather know what you’re eating, or you have a very restricted diet.

Regardless of your choices, you probably will have to shop & cook for two at some point in the week. So let’s see how to make these adjustments.

Think about the meals you really enjoy and how much food you had to buy when the whole family was around. Divide that up to come up with what’s needed for the two of you. If you like leftovers, then make more. This will also free you up from cooking the next night, or you can freeze it for another time!

If you have a membership to a warehouse club for bulk purchases, do you still need it? I rarely use my Sam’s Club membership and wonder why I still have it.  Canceling it will also save money.

Another tip is to buy a cooking for two cookbook. There are many cookbooks available either at the bookstore or get recipes online. Google “cooking for two” and see what appears. Or narrow it down by your type of diet-healthy, vegan, organic, ethnic, etc.

You may find yourself eating differently than when the kids were around…maybe simpler or healthier as you get older. I know my husband and I eat differently when it’s just us versus when our sons were living with us. I felt I always had to have a great meal prepared each night. Now sometimes we just have soup & bread for dinner.

Feel free to experiment and try new foods. Resist the urge at the grocery store to stock up on foods you may not use or can’t afford. Sometimes simpler is best.  You also don’t have to worry about finicky eaters who won’t like what you put on the table!

You may also want to look at your pots & pans, bakeware and other kitchen items that you may not need anymore, unless you still plan on cooking for a large holiday gathering. Can you downsize anything in your pantry or cabinets? Do you need that 20 quart soup pot, 3 muffins pans, or multiple serving platters? Again, simplify if you need to.

Cooking for two may take some time & adjustment, but you can learn to cook for two and be successful at it. You’ll eventually find your sweet spot. If all else fails, go out to eat!


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