New research shows that people living alone are less likely to be eating the good stuff – but that really doesn't need to be the case
Cooking is an act of love. For friends, for family and, yes – simply for yourself. But it looks like the latter is not something a lot of solo dwellers are doing.
New research published in the Nutrition Reviews journal reveals that people who live alone are more likely to have unhealthy diets, consuming less fruit, veg and fish and eating more ready meals, so they lack key nutrients.
This problem is a biggie. The 2011 Census showed that 13% of us live in one-person households. Admittedly, this bracket may contain more elderly people who are less able to dedicate time to cooking, but why are the rest of us spending so little time whipping up something tasty when we're dining alone?
According to Queensland University of Technology academic Dr Katherine Hanna, who led the study, it's a lot to do with motivation. "A lack of … enjoyment in cooking and/or eating alone often led to people preparing simple or ready-made meals," she says.
But it doesn't need to be like this. As queen of food Nigella Lawson noted in her Woman's Hour appearance a few weeks ago, taking the time to prepare and enjoy homemade food is an easy way to practise a little self-kindness.
It's a sentiment shared by food writer Linda Tubby, whose latest cookbook Solo (Kyle Books, £16.99) is all about cooking for one.
"Cooking for yourself is a most satisfying part of self-nurture; when thought and care are given to the process, from shopping for ingredients to preparing a meal, you can take great pleasure in eating the results," she says in the cookbook's introduction.
You don't need us to tell you that when you eat well you feel better and the whole thing is a lovely big spiral of enjoying life more.
So why not take time to create something scrumptious? Here are some fabulously delicious recipe ideas if it's just you for dinner tonight.
1. Spinach and ricotta mug lasagne
Yes, in a mug. Genius.
2. Tomato and egg pizza
Not so much a pizza as a frittata but, hey ho, it's a speedy, tasty one-pan dish.
3. Cacio e pepe
Sometimes, the most exquisite food is what seems to be the most basic. This classic Roman dish of spaghetti with Parmesan and pepper is a bowl of Friday night-perfect brilliance.