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HealthInfo Canterbury

Older people shopping and cooking for one

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 can't get out to the shops because of bad weather or if you are 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 is 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, pasta and sago.

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, 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 have 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 don't feel like cooking or eating. See Oral nutrition supplements.

Cooking for one


Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed October 2018.


See also:

Eating well for older adults

Quick easy meals for older people

Senior Chef

Support for food costs

Page reference: 33628

Review key: HIEWO-31470