This week Bosco Santimano, founder and executive director of social enterprise You Can Cook, shares his thoughts on cooking for one.

It’s been a year writing this column for the Peeblesshire News and I am grateful to all the positive feedback, comments and suggestions received during this time.

Some of you readers have been asking me to cover a wider range of topics, so going forward, I will include reviews, ideas and positive solutions to food, health and environmentally friendly products and services and any other topics that you the reader feels the need to know more about.

I will also include recipes and tips on cooking, growing and related subjects in order to raise awareness of how to live healthy lives.

This week let's talk about living on your own and the barriers and motivation required to cook a meal for yourself.

When we first started out in 2007 running our cookery projects, one of many suggestions we received was to focus on single people living on their own.

Having researched in-depth the problems and issues faced by a large proportion of the population that live on their own, we introduced an element of cooking for this very group as part of our cookery programmes across communities in Scotland.

Here are a few tips to get you started and, like everything in life, make sure to take one step at a time, otherwise you are setting yourself up to fail before you even commit yourself to cook.

Rule number one: Planning your meals is essential to stay organised and focused in order to prepare and cook your meals regularly. This will also save you time and money in the long run while not wasting any food. Think ahead before going shopping and make a list of ingredients to buy and stick to it! Don’t be tempted by offers, especially the buy one get one free, as research has shown that over 50 per cent of the items end up in the bin. Make your freezer your best friend and freeze as many leftovers to be used another time, that includes cooked and uncooked foods. Learn to cook soups as these are the easiest of dishes to do, cost only a fraction of other meals and can be done fairly quickly.

Invest in small appliances like a food processor, juicer etc. as this will shorten the preparation process and also give you various options to liven up your meals like pureed soups, fresh juices, dips and more. Don’t rule out frozen fruits and vegetables as these may be cheaper than fresh produce. Ask for smaller portions at your local supermarket meat or fish counter or, even better, buy from small local businesses as they often offer quality produce with excellent customer service and choice.

Finally, try mixing your spices and ingredients to avoid boredom. Our website contains loads of recipes and health information for anyone that wishes to explore further. Never hesitate to cut a recipe in half. Yes! it’s that easy and also ingredients can be swapped or not used entirely depending on what you are cooking.

Remember cooking should be fun.