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Over the past few weekends I tackled a humongous project, which was to re-shoot all of the food photography for my Elimination Diet Meal Plan online program! Although I hired out the photography itself, the meal planning, grocery shopping, food prep and cooking fell entirely upon me. I cooked all 80 recipes for the photo-shoot over the course of 5 days, and I dove right in with a list of 20 recipes to cook on day-one alone!
Needless to say, it was a lot of work!
However, throughout the process, there was a lot I discovered that I actually loved! Today, I’m sharing with you all that I learned through and loved about this crazy, batch cooking experience.
Spend a Few Hours Batch Cooking 1-2 Days Per Week to Avoid Cooking 5-6 Days Per Week!
Instead, I love that over these past few weeks I’ve had an endless supply of healthy food in my fridge as a reward for the time I spent cooking each weekend. By choosing one day per week to spend a few hours batch cooking, I can free up my time and energy the remainder of the week to spend doing things I enjoy!
During the time I’m devoting to meal prep, I crank up the tunes and focus on efficiency; prepping a third and fourth meal while the first two are still cooking. I’ve definitely enjoyed the benefits of having more free-time on the weekdays, simply by consolidating the amount of time I spend cooking each week!
Healthy Food in the Fridge = Healthy Food on Your Plate
Do you stray from making healthy dietary choices because you come home from work ravenous, tired, and there’s no food in your fridge? I hear you!
These past few weeks I’ve had plenty of healthy dips prepared; veggies sliced and ready to go; kale salads prepped and already dressed for lunch; soups, stews, curries and turkey burgers that simply need to be reheated for dinner; trail mix on hand as an on-the-go snack; and more! It has been AMAZING! Everything is grab-n-go ready, so I’ve been eating way more veggies instead of just grabbing a chocolate protein bar on the way out the door.
For me to make healthy choices after a busy day in my practice, especially on a Friday, it’s a MUST that my dinner requires very little effort to prepare. If I don’t have a plan for an easy meal that night, I’m tempted to pick up takeout or just to snack on pepperoni sticks instead of actually making dinner. Over the years I’ve learned how important it is for me to have leftovers ready on Friday that I can just throw in the oven or heat up on the stove as soon as I get home. Spending a few hours on the weekend batch cooking is a huge help in making sure that food is ready and waiting for me each week!
Batch Cooking and Weekly Meal Prep Saves Money
With so much delicious food ready and waiting for me in my fridge, I haven’t dined out once these past few weeks! Although I love going out for a fabulous meal, I’ve saved money because I haven’t been tempted to pick up sushi or a burrito bowl on my way home from work when I don’t feel like cooking.
How often are you grabbing food on-the-go because you haven’t packed a lunch, or don’t feel like making dinner? Think how much you could save by spending a few hours each weekend planning and batch cooking a few recipes each week!
How To Start Batch Cooking
The good news if you want to start reaping the rewards of batch cooking, is that you definitely don’t need to cook 15-20 recipes in one day for the practice to be of benefit.
Meal planning is always step number one, and I suggest that you find 4 to 6 recipes you’d like to make that will provide you with at least a few days worth of food. Plan for all meals, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. If you’re meal planning for one or two people you won’t require as much food as those with a large family, so make sure to plan according to your appetite and needs. If you require more food, doubling the batch of any recipes that are easy to freeze (ex: soups and stews) will help to save you time and energy in the long run.
Once you’ve selected a few meals, it’s time to do your grocery shopping and to set aside a few hours to get cooking! A pro tip is that it’s very helpful to choose recipes that use different cooking methods to avoid too much chaos on your stovetop. For example, you might choose to make baked sweet potatoes and chicken in the oven, a stir-fry or curry on your stovetop and a stew in your slow cooker. This way, while one meal is cooking you can easily start preparing the next!
Meal plan programs can also be a huge help, because all of the planning and grocery list preparation is done for you! Simply grocery shop once per week, cook each recipe, and say hello to plenty of big batch meals ready and waiting for you in your refrigerator!
As a naturopathic doctor I’ve designed two transformational meal plan programs to fully support you through this, including my Real Food Recharge and Elimination Diet Meal Plan online programs. There are also plenty of delicious recipes to peruse on the Healthy Life Redesign blog to get you started!
Do you do any batch cooking to simplify your meal prep each week? Let me know your tips, questions, struggles and successes in the comments below!
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