Web Exclusive - Ask Amy

Next fall I’m moving to a new city to dance, and I’ll be living completely on my own for the first time. What are some cheap, healthy meals that serve one person? —Savannah

Cooking on a budget is easier than you might think. Meat can sometimes be costly, but there are plenty of less expensive protein options, like beans or tofu, that can serve as great substitutes a few nights a week. Tofu vegetable stir-fry over brown rice is one of my fast, budget-friendly favorites. Pasta is another cheap and easy option that presents endless possibilities—try this great recipe with white beans and kale. Preparing meals to scale and freezing the leftovers, as opposed to decreasing measurements to serve one, can help save time—it doesn’t take any longer to cook, but you now have three or four dinners ready to go.

If you want to keep cooking to a minimum, try buying a whole rotisserie chicken, usually between five and seven dollars. You can easily get three to four meals out of it: sliced chicken with roasted potatoes and green beans one night, an entrée-sized chicken salad the next, chicken burritos another day, a chicken sandwich for lunch and so on.

Here’s a tip for grocery shopping on a budget: the more work required of you, the less expensive the item. For instance, consider buying bone-in chicken breasts, which are generally a few dollars cheaper than boneless, skinless ones. Pre-washed, bagged salad lettuce is another example—you can save a lot of money by buying a head of lettuce and washing it yourself! The same holds true for breakfast: A carton of eggs or large container of oatmeal goes a lot farther and costs several dollars less than a box of cereal—you just need to spend a little extra time cooking.

Latest Posts


The author, Lucy Van Cleef, dancing Balanchine's Serenade at Los Angeles Ballet. Reed Hutchinson, Courtesy Los Angeles Ballet

My 12-Year Journey to a Bachelor’s Degree While Dancing Professionally

If you'd have told me in 2009 that it would take 12 years to earn my bachelor's degree, I never would have believed you. Back then, I was a dancer in my early 20s and in my second year with Los Angeles Ballet. I was used to the straightforward demands of the professional ballet world. I knew that hard work and willpower were the currency you paid in the studio, and that the thrill of live performance made all that investment worth it. What I didn't know then is how life's twists and turns aren't always so straightforward. In hindsight, I can see how my winding road to higher education has strengthened me—and my relationship with the ballet world—more than I ever could have imagined.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
New York City Ballet principal and Dance Against Cancer Co-Founder Daniel Ulbricht in New York City's Columbus Circle. Travis Magee, Courtesy DAC.

Dance Against Cancer Is Back With a Starry Outdoor Gala—and It Will Also Be Livestreamed

The annual Dance Against Cancer gala is back in full force this year, bringing major dance stars together on Monday, June 21, to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Held in Lincoln Center's outdoor Damrosch Park, it will be New York City's largest in-person ticketed event since the onset of the pandemic. And for the first time, this year's gala will also be livestreamed by Nel Shelby Productions for international audiences. The evening's finale—a tribute to first responders, medical professionals, educators, mentors and other heroes who have lost their lives to cancer or are battling it—stars special guest Kevin Boseman, a former dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Martha Graham Dance Company, a cancer survivor, and the brother of the late actor Chadwick Boseman.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Margo Moritz, Courtesy Alonzo King LINES Ballet

How Adult Students Can Prep for a Safe Return to the Studio

After a year (or more) of virtual classes, it's finally time to unplug and head back to the studio.

Exciting? Absolutely. A little scary? Definitely.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks