While the rest of my family is out of town, I am left at home for a week without anyone else in the house except me, myself, and I. Oh buddy. What that means is I have to somehow feed myself. Getting food to-go or going out would definitely be easier than making it myself, but what fun is that? I've cooked for myself plenty of times before. 

I was raised on healthy food and have grown to love cooking, so I challenged myself to cook all of my meals myself. I'm not talking about mac and cheese or frozen dinners—I'm talking baked chicken and veggies. I could go out to eat, but I like the idea of knowing what I'm putting into my body. Food is fuel, after all. Here's how I ate, dealt with leftovers, and made meals on the go during my 7 days of solitude:

Day 1

corn, salad
Abigail Shipps

This was the day I got home, so the only meal I made for myself was dinner. On any given travel day, I snack every few hours rather than have three full meals, so this dinner was smaller compared to the usual. I found some organic frozen veggies in the freezer to steam, and then I mixed that with some black beans, tomato, and sauteed spinach to make a veggie bowl. This was an easy and satisfying meal to make, which was convenient given my not-so-energized state after traveling and grocery shopping.

Day 2

potato, beet
Abigail Shipps

I was feeling really excited about my first full day of cooking for myself. For breakfast I made some overnight oats with this coconut milk, and then for lunch I put the remaining veggies from the previous night on top of some salad greens. For dinner (pictured above), I baked chicken with some onions and carrots along with some beets and sweet potato. I'm starting to suspect that leftovers are going to be a common occurrence—figuring out the portion size for one person is pretty difficult. 

Day 3

broccoli, kale, salad, rye
Abigail Shipps

Today was a day of revamping leftovers. I had eggs and fruit for breakfast after my workout (I've found that working out in the morning motivates me to make super healthy choices throughout the rest of my day). For lunch (pictured above), I had a kale salad with avocado, sunflower seeds, and leftover beets along with a slice of Ezekiel toast. Dinner was basically a remake of the last night's dinner: leftover chicken, sweet potato, and some sauteed veggies. 

Day 4

vegetable, tomato, salad, pepper, corn, legume, onion
Abigail Shipps

It's a sunny Saturday, which means it's time to hit up the farmer's market! After a breakfast of overnight oats (surprise, surprise), I stopped by the Peachtree Road Farmer's Market and picked up some fresh peppers and yummy artisan crackers. For lunch (pictured above), I made a Mexican-inspired bowl with salad greens, edamame, beans, corn, peppers from the market, avocado, and some salsa on top. I decided very last minute to drive up to my school to move a few things, so for a healthy on-the-go dinner, I packed an Ezekiel PB&J sandwich (made with powdered peanut butter) to go along with some sliced veggies. Sounds like a 10-year-old's school lunch, but hey, it was good.

Day 5

egg, toast, fried egg
Abigail Shipps

For breakfast (pictured above) I had some eggs with a side a fruit. I'm starting to see that I really don't change my breakfast a lot—I either have oats or eggs. I went out for lunch, which technically means I didn't make the meal myself. However, I had a delicious salad at The Blue Chair with chicken, avocado, and bleu cheese over a hefty bed of greens. Dinner (pictured above) was also at a restaurant; I got salmon on an arugula salad with brussel sprouts on the side. 

Day 6

salad, chicken, kale, broccoli
Abigail Shipps

I left school shortly after a breakfast of eggs and fruit (again). For lunch, before I had to head off to work, I put together a quick and easy wrap with loads of veggies—carrots, avocado, lettuce, cucumber, and some green peppers from the vegetable garden. Dinner (pictured above) was a bit fancy—I cooked flounder with some kale chips and a salad (ft. some more veggie garden peppers) on the side. 

Day 7

pasta, fusilli, pesto
Abigail Shipps

This is my last day of solitude, so I decided to mix things up for breakfast and whip up a shake. I combined a frozen banana, berries, Greek yogurt, powdered peanut butter, kale, and some water to make a smoothie packed with protein, healthy fats, and healthy sugars. In the spirit of leftovers and being in a rush, I made myself a salad to-go similar to my Day 4 lunch—I put salad greens, leftover edamame and beans, veggies, and salsa in a container, shook it up, and ate it at work. This night's dinner was my favorite meal I cooked for myself (pictured above): pasta with sauteed onions, zucchini, peppers, and sundried tomatoes. 

The End

Being home alone for a week (minus the day and a half I was at school) was a new experience. It gave me a new sense of independence. Being away at college gives you a sense of independence as well, but having to maintain a house, cook for yourself, run errands, and work made me feel like a real, responsible adult. I cooked for myself instead of getting takeout, which I found made me more self-reliant and forced me to be creative when it came to dealing with leftovers and figuring out what to eat. I recommend that everyone be home alone for a few days—if not, at least cook for yourself. You'll learn how to hold yourself accountable for decisions you make, and you'll be able to impress your friends with your awesome cooking skills.