Cooking for One: Creating a Healthy Luxury.

It’s not just you. Almost half — or 46 percent — of all eating occasions in the U.S. now consist of a person eating alone, according to a recent report published by the Food Marketing Institute. Breakfast is the most common meal we eat alone — with 61 percent of us eating morning meals alone, followed by lunch (55 percent) and dinner (34 percent). Solo diners are also responsible for the jump in snack foods being consumed at meal times. Almost 48 percent of adults now replace meals with snacks at least three times a week. But empty calories and mindless eating do not help control diabetes and high blood pressure. With a little practice, you can eat solo and eat healthy.

So, how do we feed ourselves when we’re alone, when there are no one else’s needs to take into consideration? To cook only for yourself is a healthy luxury that is great for your body and budget. Make the time. Appreciate your effort. You are worth it!

Tips for solo diners at home and in restaurants:

  1. Eat at regular times each day and eat slowly. Plan when you’ll eat. Take at least 15-20 minutes to eat.
  2. Be a mindful eater.  Turn snack food into a meal by adding a protein and fruit or vegetable. Having chips? Add smashed beans to the salsa and have an orange on the side. Eat colorfully.
  3. Order smartly and read labels . You’re eating for one, but most single servings in restaurants are enough for at least two people. Eat half and take the rest home. Read labels at the store for the serving size. Leave high sodium and high fat items on the shelf.
  4. Enhance your eating experience with something you enjoy. Read a magazine or book, listen to music, or catch up on emails. Use the good plates. Light a candle or put flowers on the table.
  5. Don’t avoid social contact for all meals. Food is also part of life’s enjoyments. Look for opportunities to share a meal with a friend.

Meatloaf Dinner & Silent Auction

Join us for our annual Meatloaf Dinner & Silent Auction!
on October 10th, 5:00pm – 7:30pm
at Como Park Lutheran Church
Dinner tickets available that day
12 and up – $9.00
11 and under – $5.00

Hope to see you there!

Why is exercise important?

Healthy living is choice in this 21st century. Several time our senior friends ask why do they have pain or stiffness. Although it is the process of aging, it also depends on on daily living style and eating habits. Seniors who exercise gain physical, mental and emotional benefits that they would not get by sitting still. Whether it is gardening, walking or cleaning, regular exercise improves seniors’ well-being. Fitness is not something we should retire from because we reach a certain age. Endurance, muscle strength and flexibility matter throughout our lives. There are many testimonies that seniors who stay active:

  • Have more energy and endurance
  • Improve flexibility and balance, which lowers the risk of fall
  • Prevent heart disease, diabetes and other serious health problems
  • Decrease back and joint pain
  • Better circulation
  • Reduce their chances for depression
  • Remain independent longer because they maintain strength and mobility
  • Gains positive attitude
  • Improve sleeping habit.
  • Helps to socialize and meet new people.                                                                                                                                    exerMotivate yourself to try all different kinds of exercises and movement.  Aerobic, flexibility exercises, strength training and relaxation techniques are the general exercise we encourage to try. Combining these four components helps seniors maximize health benefits and keep their routine interesting. Exercise Slowly and safely!                                                                                                                     

Cooking for One: Cooking for Happiness.

Finding recipes and meal ideas for one person can seem like a chore, even if you know how to cook and have a full kitchen at your disposal. It can seem to be simpler to just put a frozen dinner in the microwave but regularly eating convenience food can take a toll on your physical and mental health. The act of cooking for yourself can be very empowering. Taking charge of your diet and taking the time to care for yourself can improve your mood and self-esteem.

Preparing your own healthy meals can reduce your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. If you are trying to control your blood pressure or diabetes, it is much easier to ensure you are getting the right foods when you prepare the meals yourself. When your body feels healthier, you feel happier-inside and out. Eating well at home can make you happier!

Cooking for One recipe idea: Steam in parchment paper for a VERY simple one-person meal.

Cooking “en papillote” is a fancy term for a simple technique that involves cooking a meal in parchment paper. Pre-heat oven to 350º. Place a fish filet, skinless boneless chicken breast or firm tofu on top of thinly sliced veggies on a large piece of parchment paper. Add spices/seasoning and a dash of olive oil. Fold food into a tight package. Place on a baking sheet. After about 20 minutes you have a healthy, steamed meal for one with virtually no clean up!

Exercise Classes

Join us at one of our ongoing exercise classes sponsored by Como Park/Falcon Heights Living at Home Block Nurse Program.

Falcon Heights Senior 

Day: Every Tuesday and Thursday
Time: 9:30-10:30a.m.
Address: 1530 Larpenteur Ave. W, Falcon Heights, MN 55113

Arbor Pointe Apartments

Day: Every Tuesday and Thursday
Time: 11:00-Noon
Address: 635 Maryland Ave. W; St. Paul, MN 55117

Introduction to the Physical Wellness Instructor.


I am Jeena Gurung, Senior Wellness and Volunteer Coordinator of this program. If one were to ask my friends and coworkers to describe me they would say I am a very pleasant, diverse, active and intelligent woman. I think one of my most distinguishing characteristics is the diversity of experiences I have had. I am a student with flair. I am a woman with heart and an interest in helping the elderly people. 230923_1718801285965_6724466_nI also have a passion for traveling and understanding different cultures of the world. All these elements have given me a very broad outlook, with varying degrees of knowledge in a range of topics. I strongly believe that although some are not related directly, all these qualities influence my work.

I have been fortunate to have acquired a variety of experience in both volunteer and paid positions in programs providing services to the elderly, working one-on-one with seniors, working in a nursing home environment, fitness instructor, wellness coordinator, training volunteers and placing volunteers in many capacities. I love what I do that makes a difference for me everyday.

One of the things I enjoy about my job is to lead exercise classes with mostly people in their 80s or 90s. The classes are held at two nice senior independent buildings located at Como Park and Falcon Heights. I have been doing this for three years now and I have enjoyed each and every class because I see and feel the positive energy from the seniors in the classes. It is an awesome feeling to feel valued and challenged at the same time. One of the things I hear from the regular participant is that they love the variety.

I welcome everyone who is living at Como Park and Falcon Heights who are 65 years old and more to join my classes that are convenient for you. I encourage everyone of us to keep moving and do what you can to live a happy and healthy life.

Thank you.

Ongoing classes sponsored by Como Park/Falcon Heights Living at Home Block Nurse Program.

Every Tuesday and Thursday                         Every Tuesday and Thursday
Time: 9:30-10:30a.m.                                     Time: 11:00-Noon
Falcon Heights Senior                                     Arbor Pointe Apartment
1530 Larpenteur Ave. W                                 635 Maryland Ave. W

Falcon Heights, MN 55113                             St. Paul, MN 55117

Como Days!

Join us for Como Days, July 10-12th as we celebrate our beloved neighborhood and all those who call it home. It will be a fun filled weekend in the Como Neighborhood with music, art, and even a Como 5K and family walk around Como Lake.  We will update you as plans are confirmed.  Save the date!

Cooking for One: Cooking for YOU!

bacon and eggBacon and Eggs. They are the perfect pair.

And they’re perfect for breakfast, lunch AND dinner.

Breakfast idea: Pancakes for One (recipe below) with egg your way and bacon

Lunch idea: Chef Salad with hard boiled egg and bacon bits

Dinner idea: Spaghetti Carbonara for One (recipe below)

These kitchen staples can provide economical, easy, fast and satisfying meals.

Can your smell the bacon already? Let’s get cooking!

Cooking for One Storage tip: Thicker cuts of bacon freeze easily. After opening the package, cut all the slices in half, put them into 3 or 4 slice-thick portions. Lay the portions side-by-side in freezer bags. When you need a serving of bacon, take out one stack and defrost.

Breakfast Idea Recipe

Pancakes for One, Eggs Your Way and Crispy Bacon

To get that local diner flavor, cook your bacon first in a heavy bottomed pan. Leave a tablespoon of bacon grease in the pan to fry your pancakes and egg.

Pancakes for One

1/2 cup of pancake mix (like Bisquik)

1/3 cup water

Combine pancake mix and water. Batter will be lumpy.

Pour ¼ cup of batter into hot pan to form one small pancake. Pour 2 or 3 more pancakes into pan. Do not over crowd the pan. Flip pancakes when holes start to appear in batter and the edges are brown. Put on a plate and cook an egg your favorite way in the pan next.


Dinner Idea Recipe

Spaghetti Carbonara for One                                                                            

 spaghetti carbonara

 Spaghetti Carbonara For One

2 oz (small handful) dry spaghetti pasta

1 garlic clove, minced

1 strip bacon

1 egg, slightly beaten

Parmesan cheese, about a ¼ cup grated

Cook the bacon in a cast iron skillet or heavy skillet. Remove and drain on paper towel before crumbling.

Add the minced garlic to the bacon grease and cook until fragrant (about thirty seconds).  Remove from heat.

Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water. Drain and immediately place back in the pot with the bacon, bacon grease and garlic. Place pot back on the stove over low heat, add the beaten egg and whisk continuously for three minutes, or until the egg cooks and thickens, creating a silky sauce over the noodles. Be careful not to stop whisking or the egg will scramble! Don’t worry about the egg being raw-it will be cooked.

Top with a generous serving of grated fresh Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Welcome to Cooking for One

Cooking for One. Cooking for You!                             

I am Jennifer, Como Park resident and Homemaker for the Block Nurse program. Sharing food with neighbors started within hours of moving to the neighborhood. It was a hot July day and my new neighbors across the street brought over fruit salad and brownies. I knew I would love this neighborhood!

Over the years, talking about food and sharing food with neighbors has meant sharing when there is too much in the garden harvest; “borrowing” when there aren’t enough eggs in fridge to finish making those cookies; eating a casserole made for tired new parents; sending a nourishing meal to a grieving neighbor; the Block Party where cookies flow with the good conversations. Much of the time, preparing food and eating is a communal endeavor but as I have met more neighbors through the Block Nurse Program, I hear common questions about cooking for one. Cooking for You!

Cooking for one happens at different times in our lives: The 24-year old living on her own for the first time; the teenager home during the summer needing meals and snacks while his parents are at work; the married couple with different work schedules; the single parent whose kids are at their other parent’s house; the senior after their spouse has passed away or needed assisted living.

My future blogs will share recipes, tips and stories from around the neighborhood (and beyond) centered on cooking for one. The most important “one”, after all, is You!

Annual Fundraiser: Meatloaf Dinner

Don’t Miss our Delicious Annual Meatloaf Dinner!
Saturday, October 11 — 4:30- 7:00 p.m.

Join us for a community dinner and fundraising event for your local Block Nurse Program that directly serves over 150 seniors each month.

Enjoying the delicious Meatloaf Dinner
Everyone is welcome!

Meatloaf Dinner:
Date: Friday, October 11, 2014
Time: 4:30pm to 7:00pm
Cost: $9.00 for adults and $5.00 for children 11 and under.
Where: 1376 Hoyt Ave W, St. Paul, MN  55108 (Como Park Lutheran Church)

By purchasing a meal ticket you will receive a raffle ticket to win fun prizes!

Silent Auction:
Wonderful local items and your purchase is tax deductible.

Event is handicap accessible and transportation is available,
just call us at 651-642-1127.


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