It’s individual portions of meat and fish, sometimes pre-seasoned, stuffed, or otherwise prepared.
This is in addition to the packages of single-serve prepared meals in various display cases around the store, as well as small packages of prepared vegetables in the produce section.
I’ve even seen individual potatoes wrapped in plastic!
Grocers and food producers are using clever marketing strategies to cater to single people and small households, a large demographic in this country.
Now, you typically pay a substantial premium for smaller packages of just about anything, just as you do for even the tiniest bit of labor that goes into any food prep. And I'd be willing to bet that mark-up in price accounts for the shelf space these items are increasingly taking up.
That’s their choice to make. But other single or two-person households trying to live on a budget might not realize just how much money they are wasting on this type of individual purchase.
So here’s some quick advice for any small household when it comes to food preparation and eating in general.
Instead, if you are a single or a couple, cook meals as if you are a family of 4 or more. And if you’re a family of 4, cook as if you are a family of eight. This saves money, time and labor.
Plan to get at least 2 dinners each week from each planned meal, in addition to at least two lunches, and/or freeze the extra portions for a couple of meals the following month.
To help in this approach, buy yourself some good-sized pots of 4-6 quart size and some freezer storage containers.
The key to making this work is to actually put the food away in portion or meal sizes in a timely manner so that you don’t end up picking at it, and it also doesn’t get a chance to spoil.
Instead, buy the more economical full dozen (or 18 pack, or even larger). The truth is that raw eggs actually keep a very long time in the refrigerator, and you can easily find ways to use them over the course of the next few weeks so that they don’t go to waste.
Other food items that are good choices for buying in bulk would be canned goods, frozen vegetables, potatoes, carrots, onions, rice, pasta, apples, etc. These are all items that you can store for lengthy periods without worrying about spoilage, so it makes little sense to buy individual or small packages that cost a premium.
Buy the bigger packages when they're the more economical ones, such as the 5-lb. bag of carrots pictured here which are 1/3 cheaper than the 1 pound bags.
Or take advantage of sales to buy several packages.
Use only what you need each time you cook, and return the remainder to its proper storage space where they'll keep for weeks.
That’s usually the refrigerator, freezer, or a cool place out of direct sunlight.
Use Up the Ingredients You've Got on Hand Before Buying More
When you buy larger sizes, then you need to make sure you use them before they go to waste. So, before running to the grocery store to add to your food supply, check your kitchen shelves and your refrigerator to see what you already have.
Then find a recipe that includes those ingredients. It’s a fair bet that even if your personal cookbooks don’t reveal one that appeals to your taste or appetite, then the internet sure will. That’s one of the beauties of technology today.
With any luck, using this approach, you’ll soon discover one of life’s small satisfactions - eking out an extra day of meals before having to hit the grocery store again.
By following these simple steps, you'll not only save quite a lot of money, but also spend less time over the stove and less time in the grocery store. Which will give you more time to do the things you really want to do.
I’d say those are solid arguments for cooking large portions.