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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Shopping and cooking for one

Hunga pēperekōu e hoko ana, e tunu taratahi ana hoki

Shopping for one can be a challenge. The following tips should make shopping easier and may also save you money.

Handy kitchen supplies

Having a good store of non-perishable foods and some frozen foods is a big help, especially if you cannot get out to the shops because of bad weather or if you're unwell. You can create quick and nutritious meals with just a few basic items. Non-perishable foods will last a long time on the shelf, but it's a good idea to use and replace them occasionally. Use foods in the freezer within two to three months.

Dry food

Store dry foods in sealed, airtight containers to keep them fresh. You can make many meals out of basics like flour, rolled oats, rice and pasta.

Breakfast cereals

Choose high-fibre breakfast cereals such as Weet-Bix and wholegrain oats. Keep a selection of cereals on hand to make breakfast interesting.


Top crackers with cheese, hummus, tomato, avocado, pickles or hard-boiled eggs for a quick snack.

Packaged food

Rice risotto, macaroni cheese and two-minute noodles are quick, easy meals.


Keep some powdered or long-life milk in case you run out of fresh milk. Once you've opened powdered milk, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Fresh milk freezes well.

Canned food

You can make canned food into quick, easy meals. Good examples are baked beans, spaghetti, creamed corn, fruit and soup. Fish like tuna, salmon and sardines can also make quick, easy meals.


Keep a supply of your favourite spreads for bread and toast like honey, jam, peanut butter and marmite.

Frozen food

Keep a variety of frozen vegetables, ice cream, ready-prepared meals, crumbed fish, pies, bread rolls and sliced bread in the freezer.

High-energy drinks

High-energy drinks like Complan or Vitaplan can be useful when you do not feel like cooking or eating. See Oral nutrition supplements.

Cooking for one

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed October 2022.


See also:

Eating well for older people

Quick easy meals

Support for food costs

Page reference: 33628

Review key: HIHEI-34305