Cooking with type 2 diabetes,for just 1

lonely grandma
By lonely grandma Latest Reply 2012-02-02 12:06:51 -0600
Started 2011-03-29 20:00:14 -0500

I find myself in the position of having to cook for one, and I am on a SS check so I have trouble purchasing the proper ingredients.
Does anyone have any suggestions?

48 replies

Dixiemom 2012-02-01 19:47:20 -0600 Report

I make lots of soup. If you have a Big Lots near you you can get canns and packaged food relatively reasonable. I don't want tro cook every day so I make enough and freeze it. This way there's always something in the freezer and when we come home from a trip it's nice to just pull out something and heat it up.

spitfirelady 2011-04-26 15:07:35 -0500 Report

The herb garden is what I have put in 12 containers out my back door here and LOVE it every year all summer long!! The "be at the fresh local market" is a great idea!!!

runthe 2012-02-02 12:06:51 -0600 Report

My husband does the same thing out of containers. We have plenty of greens, tomatoes, beans, and other vegetables.

spitfirelady 2011-04-26 14:52:27 -0500 Report

Hi, have been cooking for two with my new eating habits and love experimenting! Am
An rn and have lowered my blood sugar from 147 to 112 pre breakfast/ 7 lbs!! Ready? Joseph's tortillas, lo fat cheeses, sugar free breads (ezekiels..keep in freezer and pull out only what you need), joseph's heart friendly oat bran and stone ground whole wheat pitas,
(5 fiber/1.5 fat, 10 cabs), ronzoni smart taste pasta…5 fm fiber,1 sugar/per serving),wasa light rye crackers, central market fat free pinto or cook a batch of pintos and divide and freeze,hatch brands tomatillos with no suar/15 my sodium(divide and freeze,rice that is WHOLE grain (no white… Exception is basmati..for slow carb digestion)..then,add fresh or frozen(frozen is fresh without salty can versions that woo hurt you!! add all the fresh herbs you want. Add salsa to beans to heat for deliciousness!! Watch for salt in everything!! Cento San marzano tomatoes in can are fabulous, rich and lucious in 1pm/12oz
Can…20 mg salt…that is incredible and goes a long way since they are so thick! Freeze in
Small containers and then put in freezer baffles for use! These are all my staples!

buffy360 2011-10-27 21:58:00 -0500 Report

Love Basmati rice but have considered it "white"…prefer it over brown rice even. Is it a good replacement for potatoes and breads? Not a big cook but am single, too and on SSI.

spitfirelady 2011-10-28 10:07:19 -0500 Report

Basmati comes in many different varieties such as Brown-long grain, mixed versions…I love Texmati brand in big clear Plastic jars. It has better flavor and I add half lo sodium kitchen basics chicken stock half water to cook it in . I also add veggies chopped into it such as
Fresh spinach or a little corn and peas … Chopped squash and tomatoes and parsley… Be creative! Make it small chop veggies but it does take different times to cook
Depending upon the rice. Read time in each container.
I would also say I use rice as an alternative.. Variety! :)

Mrs. Alilce
Mrs. Alilce 2011-04-08 15:58:17 -0500 Report

Jim Edwards is totally on target. Soup, vegetables and less meat is ok. Another expensive item is stevia. Don't use artifical sweetners. Green tea (I like it with mint) is cheaper than coffee. I got used to it and now I prefer it. Gluten products can interfere with the intestestines and the ability to absorb vitamins. We don't want the carbs anyway. I'm rooting for you.

Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards 2011-04-08 11:34:42 -0500 Report

No real suggestions, just some comments. Cooking for 1 is good and bad. Good because you don't have to worry about what diet the other person is on and bad because it is so hard to get motivated to cook for one. SSI does not provide you with much, but go to the food pantries. You can eliminate meat, an expensive grocery item, and still eat good. A 92 year old single (Of course she is single, all her friends died long ago!) lady that we provide "phone care" to goes to senior church luncheons about twice a week. You would have to be selective what you eat, but you can monitor your portions. My grandmother who lived until she was 88, never cooked for 1, even though she lived by herself for the last 20 years. She would cook for 3 or 4 and freeze the extra. "Jimmy, I have the same number of pots to clean whether I make dinner for 1 or 4 and they don't sell stuff at the store for 1 serving. I either use it or it goes to waste." I hear her voice now as I type! They other thing she made a lot of was soup, for the days she was not really hungry or too tired to cook. Peace and hugs to you. JIm

cookielang5458 2011-04-07 09:28:42 -0500 Report

Go to food pantries and apply for food stamps…no shame in getting help…if you get that then the money would be free to buy what you need special..

buffy360 2011-10-27 22:02:39 -0500 Report

Yep. Have food allergies and Colitis so pantries aren't always a good solution for me. Food stamps are 105.00 here, was 120 in CA.

Sngbook 2011-04-07 05:50:14 -0500 Report

I'm so glad I found this site today! I'm also concerned as I am about to go on disability and worried about how am I going to have enough to buy what I need, rent, etc. I'm in the process of getting ready to move to another state within the next 3-5 months to be closer to my family. This was a great question!! Getting great ideas, too!

Lady Phoenix - I do the same thing as you do when I do get to the store. I just divide everything up and cook as I need them.

Pixsidust - Your idea of the paint can garden is great!! I'll have to give that a try once I get settled in my new home - I'm also thinking of starting a potted herb garden! I can't bend very well or pick up anything over 5 lbs so I'll probably do them on some kind of shelving that is "reachable" for me.

I hope I can find what I need to know to get my blood suger under control! I'm sure I will! Thank you for a wonderful site!!

Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards 2011-04-08 11:52:35 -0500 Report

If your new place has a deck with a rail, find someone to screw a 1x6 or 2x6 to the top rail AND screw the pots to the rail, so the wind or you do not topple them. Weep holes should be in the sides of the pots, near the bottom. I am still mobile, but I prefer to make life easier for me to avoid injury. I took a 3/4" thick piece of pressure treated plywood, ripped it to 2 feet wide, fastened it in the corner so it had 2 deck rails for support, then screwed 4 legs on for support. Then I surrounded the top with a lip of 2x4 (so the pots didn't tumble 20 feet to the ground, then used 5 gallon buckets, wash buckets and anything else I could find for a planter. Harvest has been good, very little weeding, and very tasty! Wish you the best.

pixsidust 2011-04-06 23:57:44 -0500 Report

While you may not have the energy for a whole garden there are things you can do. Ask if anyone has 5 gallon empty plastic paint cans. Punch holes in the bottom in several places with a screw driver. Fill the bottom layer with rocks of any kind just a couple of inches and fill with dirt. You can have one for a nice Bibb lettuce that grows back after you give it hair cuts for your salad. you can have a couple for tomato plants and get a green, red or yellow pepper in one of you cans. You can harvest all summer.

If you go to a farmers market go a half hour before they close on their last day of the week. They practically give their food away. I have gotten entire bushel baskets of green peppers for just a couple of dollars and other vegetables that load up the larder all for just a few dollars. They will barter with you in those closing moments.

Find a food pantry in your area or even more than one. We have one that is good for milk, fruit, a whole chicken, blueberries and cheese. Another is good for peanut butter, bread, rice etc…These are meant for people like yourself who need an extra hand.

I also buy family packs and use regular fold top baggies to repackage my food into serving size. We also have a service called meals on wheels in St Louis. Its designed to service at need people not just the elderly. They will give you food for your diet already cooked and delivered by volunteers. My grandparents paid approx $2.50 a meal and it was large enough for both lunch and dinner. God bless you and remember he will provide

RAYT721 2011-04-03 00:10:43 -0500 Report

Lonely Grandma… thanks for starting this excellent discussion!!! I am learning so much from the members here. It appears many of us have the same concerns with right choices, portion sizes, nutrition, costs, etc. Thank you!!!

Lady_Phoenix 2011-04-02 23:46:59 -0500 Report

I am on SS as well due to a disabling injury and also live alone. To stretch my dollars I do a few things. Check the sale papers for all local stores and make my shopping list and menu based on what is on sale. Check for e coupons,as well as printed ones. Finding things packaged for one is difficult so I buy family packs of meats and veggies. I separate the meats into meal sized portions then freeze. Depending on the veggie, I blanch and freeze those as well. I grow as many fruits and vegetables as I can and visit my local farmers market weekly to get those I can't. In addition I do what I call planned overs. The size of a chicken breast, roast and a few other meats is far too much for a single serving. I cook the entire package at once, then divide it into meals. A roast can become soup base, sandwiches and such. Chicken can be changed from grilled to stir fried, soup and myriad other things with the addition of spices and herbs.

squog master
squog master 2011-04-03 06:35:46 -0500 Report

I do the same thing w/ chicken. Sometimes I want good ole fashion roast chicken.Then I make soup. Fajitas or Quesadillas are a couple more suggestions. I like to mix things up by making a different ethnic dinner each day.

RAYT721 2011-04-03 00:02:55 -0500 Report

Great tips! Your techniques go hand-in-hand with my beliefs that success comes from planning and goals.

Keddiekilowatt 2011-03-31 12:12:24 -0500 Report

Diabetic Living has a website that has a lot of good recipes as well as information on diabetes. The only problem I have with it doesn't have a way to make smaller potions without you doing the math. Taste of Home also has a web site. They list nutrional information and it also has recipes made for one or two servings. Taste of Home, also gives diabetic exchange information for the recipe. You can do as my 88 yr old mother does. She makes up batches of chilli, soups & such then put them in serving size containers and freeze them. I have to eat a lone a lot, because of my husband's work schedule. Also we don't always want to eat at the same time, so I have put together frozen vegetables, pasta and some kind of meat in one pot or skillet depending on how I want to fix them. Sometime I make them as a stir-fy and other times I cook every thing in a pot of water. I do this with ramen noodles and frozen stir-fry vegetables with smoked turkey sausage. I eat a serving then save the rest for later.

RAYT721 2011-04-03 00:03:59 -0500 Report

Diabetic Living is indeed an excellent publication and website. I so wish Better Homes & Gardens would make that a monthly publication instead of quarterly. I have learned so much from the site/magazine… and from members like you! Thank you.

veggie1962 2011-03-30 08:39:55 -0500 Report

Here is an article about money saving strategies for diabetic meal planning. it really is aimed at nutrition professionals, but the info in it is good. The author of this article has written a book, Diabetes meals on $7 a day or less. Here is the link to the article:

Link to the book:

You could probably get a used copy pretty cheaply on Amazon or Barnes and

If you like the slow cooker idea, there is a diabetic slow cooker cookbook from Diabetic Living:

Sngbook 2011-04-07 08:57:44 -0500 Report

Thanks for the info - in process of ordering the Diabetes Meals on $7 a day or less and the slow cooker book!

RAYT721 2011-04-03 00:05:24 -0500 Report

Thanks for the review and resources. When members like you share this kind of information, it helps to save us all time and money and frustration. There are so many sources of information out there on the web that it gets overwhelming.

squog master
squog master 2011-03-30 02:30:49 -0500 Report

Definately look for sales. Use coupons. If they are out of something you wanted to buy get a rain check. Sometimes if there is something on sale & I don't need it yet I'll wait til the end of the sale & if they are out of it, which happens often, I get a rain check to buy it later.When I buy meats I cut it into single portions before freezing them.

RAYT721 2011-04-03 00:06:19 -0500 Report

Yup, definitely go for rain checks. Funny we just cashed in some for eggs at Walgreens when they were 99 cents and out of stock. Can you say Easter Eggs??? :) We can.

Doc 720
Doc 720 2011-03-30 00:31:12 -0500 Report

As noted below, Garden. Please drop by my photos and you will see a small garden that produced a ton of Cukes, Maters, Peppers (JalapeƱo and Banana), Crooked Neck Squash, Corn, Onions, Carrots, a Blackberry bush and three Raspberry bushes (Red, Yellow, and Blue). Goodness!! and lots of it!

dietcherry 2011-03-30 01:50:19 -0500 Report

A beauteous garden you have there Doc! :)

Doc 720
Doc 720 2011-03-30 07:55:55 -0500 Report

This was last years garden. this year, I have tilled almost three times the size and hope to have a good harvest. much the same as far as types of food. Adding Half Runners (A string bean) to the mix. want to do some canning this year.

RAYT721 2011-04-03 00:07:32 -0500 Report

Wife and I just joined a community garden this year. I will be hitting you up for tips and tricks if you don't mind. I have a feeling we'll have quite a crop of bugs and weeds. :)

Doc 720
Doc 720 2011-04-03 10:42:40 -0500 Report

No problem. You will be surprised at your results. I am not big on the "Community Garden" because it always ends up in a fight as to he got more than I did. She took mine. Or, I planted those and never even got one! WTF! I am lucky with a small plot. I just wish everyone could do the same.

RAYT721 2011-04-03 13:09:42 -0500 Report

We'll see how it goes. We live in a condo and can't have our own space here. I have a feeling you are going to be right on with what you're saying.

RAYT721 2011-03-29 20:14:21 -0500 Report

I have a lot of goals for my bucket list for my golden years and the one you are mentioning in on my list of research and writing because I am 100% behind the problem you are having. I would love to write a cookbook of tasty, healthy and inexpensive ingredients for not only the diabetic community but for those single people and families on strict budgets. How I would love to share your experiences and gather them from others in our situation(s). For now get ahold of cookbooks from the depression era (check library archives) to create menu plans and journal your menu plans. Consider freezing some leftovers. Stay away from convenience stores and convenience foods. Think about growing your own fruits and/or vegetables. Collect coupons and swap with others. Consider eating smaller meals and snacks but consumer them more often. Drink more water. Exercise when possible and that doesn't mean join a gym… you can vacuum the floors, touch your toes, go for a walk, partner with family and friends. You're not alone. Many of us are here by your side. Reach out!!!

dietcherry 2011-03-29 21:53:14 -0500 Report

Great advice about growing a garden, Ray! I like to put in tomatos, cukes, lettuce, and all kinds of peppers and save a ton on salads all summer! Try to buy canned and frozen food-there are healthy choices out there-and that way you can make only what you need until next time. I live alone too so I get frozen vegetables, low-sodium canned broth, dry beans and lentils, fresh meat, protein powder, and lots of spices. I cook in my crockpot all year round and freeze individual portions to thaw and eat later. I choose not to eat sucrose at all, so that helps tremendously when making a shopping list-theres not alot of processed food anymore that doesnt have some sugar in it! And drink water-its free! :)

1cookie :)
1cookie :) 2011-03-29 22:16:59 -0500 Report

I used to use a crockpot when I was in school and my kids still lived at home. I would get it all together and set it on low; when the kids got home and I was still at school or work they came home to a meal ready to eat. Now I'm home alone, I turned in the crock pot for an electric pressure cooker. The slow cooking tends to lower the nutritional value of your meal. A pressure cooker is the opposite; well more nutrients survive the cooking process. Broccoli is the only thing thus far I do not cook in it. Just turns into mush and not so happy green anymore. I make a big meal and freeze individual portions to use as I need. I

I wish I could still have a garden. My neck and back can't take it. I really miss the snow peas the most and my letttuce. There used to be a mushroom farm that sold the soil after 1 use of growth. It was the best, organic and very rich. I knew exactly what it was. I really miss it.

donna62M 2011-04-03 08:51:01 -0500 Report

have you tried growing your snow peas in a hanging baket? My girlfriend did with her kids and she said it was fantastic…

1cookie :)
1cookie :) 2011-03-29 23:22:27 -0500 Report

I wish the place was still around, you pay for a truckfull. I had a friend who did landscaping, he had a big dump truck. Same price for it or a little pick up. I totally miss it. I tried one of those hanging strawberry things, youd need 20 to get enough to make it work. The berries were 20x tastier than the freash store or frozen ones.