Eating alone had never been a difficult task for me to accomplish in the past. In my single days, I’d either dial up my favorite Chinese restaurant or run out to the nearest burger joint and get myself some quick, tasty, and way too salty mouth treats. Now that I’m an adult though, I realize I need to be more responsible than that. Fiscally and physically.

So when my boyfriend ends up working night shifts for a month straight, it takes a lot of strength for me to fight that urge to pop Charlie in the car and run out to Mickey D’s. It’s just in my nature: Do I cook for one? Or do I slam down burgers for fun?

Last week was the first of my boyfriend’s month-long set of night shifts. I was okay with that because I was prepared. I had a plan and I had done my grocery shopping accordingly the weekend before. I told myself, “Suzanne, you don’t need to get fast food. Be strong. Make yourself those delicious Cooking Light dishes you planned out not just for dinner, but also for leftover lunches. Don’t you dare get in that car or I’ll make you work out extra hard this week.” (The threat of exercise is usually a pretty good deterrent to my deviant (eating) behavior.)

I did okay on my first night dining alone. On the second night, I slipped up and went to Taco Bell. However, according to my boyfriend, Taco Bell is the most healthy fast food option available, so I didn’t feel all that guilty. Plus, it got me and Charlie out of our snowbound apartment for a bit.

On the third night, I looked at my list of dinner options and inside the fridge. It all seemed like too much work for just one person.

I’ll admit I had a moment of doubt. Was I really going to get in my car for the second night in a row and eat poorly because I was being lazy? Or was I just wanting the excuse to indulge? I’m happy to say I fought the urge. I looked through my cabinets and considered the quickie alternatives:

  • PB&J: Too elementary school.
  • A bag of popcorn and a handful of chocolates: Too sad and definitely not enough food.
  • An everything bagel with a fried egg and cheese: Meh. Eggs make me gag if I’m not in the right mood.
  • Canned soup: Blegh. I hate soup.
  • Pancakes: Ding! Ding! Ding!

You’re probably thinking, “But Suzanne, pancakes aren’t healthy. They’re super carby and are just an excuse for you to eat dessert for breakfast (or dinner).” To that I say, “Nonsense!”, and here’s why:

Mrs. Butterworth's Syrup

Would you look at this label? I never thought I would see the day where I’d willingly purchase anything that heralded less calories, sugar, or fat. I must be all grown up.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I ate pancakes for dinner this week. It took me all of ten minutes to prep the dish from end to end and I felt healthy eating it. Maybe I’m just fooling myself with the super positive packaging, but I’m pretty proud of where I stand today as opposed to five years ago when I probably would’ve gotten a Milky Way, a bag of SmartFood popcorn (a large one), a 20-ounce Coke, and a bag of Haribo gummy bears and called that a dinner.

And perhaps if I were single… and perhaps if my body hadn’t decided that once I turned 30 that my fast metabolism would go away… well, just perhaps, I would’ve had all that amazing junk food as my dinner this week instead of these wonderfully light and fluffy and fruity pancakes. Who knows?