Eating Alone Special

For many, eating provides a time to enjoy others. That's especially true for those who've spent their time cooking for a family. However, the pleasure of preparing food, even eating, may diminish when eating alone. Eating alone can feel boring or depressing. If you're in that position, or know someone who is, you can help spark a tired appetite. Eating together may enhance nutrition!

Making Meals Special: Solo or Not

If you're a "single," you don't need to always dine alone. Eat with friends occasionally:

  • Set a standing date with a friend, a relative, or a grandchild for lunch or dinner at your home.
  • If you're "into cooking" but need someone to cook for, organize a dining club of like-minded friends.
  • Cut down on the effort. Get together with other mature adults for weekly or monthly potluck suppers. Take turns acting as host.
  • Take advantage of meals offered at senior citizens' centers. Many serve full midday meals on weekdays. Usually the price is right. In some communities, religious centers and schools serve meals for older adults.

Added benefits: Senior citizen meals offer a place to meet old and new friends. You can enjoy a meal that takes more work to prepare than you may do for yourself. Take advantage of an exercise class when you go!

• When eating out, enjoy early-bird specials, when the portions are usually smaller and the prices are lower. Consider splitting an order or take home half for another meal if restaurant portions seem too large. Eat out for breakfast or lunch, when portions are smaller and prices are lower. Some restaurants also have senior citizen prices—just ask. For more tips on eating out, see chapter 14, "Your Food Away from Home."

When you do dine solo, make eating a special event. Looking forward to mealtime can offer a boost to both your appetite and your morale!

  • Set your place at the table, perhaps with a place mat, napkin, and centerpiece. You'll feel more like you've had a meal—and with more enjoyment—than if you had eaten right from the cooking pot!
  • For a change of pace, enjoy eating in different places: the kitchen, patio or deck, dining room, or perhaps on a tray by the fireplace.
  • Create some atmosphere or interest. Turn on the radio. Play a favorite music tape or CD. Or watch your favorite television show as you eat.
  • Make food preparation easy—and healthful!

See "Have You Ever Wondered... how to feel comfortable when you dine alone?" in chapter 14.

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