If you’re always scrambling to get lunch on the table during the week, or often find yourself resorting to junk foods, then the best option would be batch cooking. It literally simplifies your life. And also nourishes your body with nutritious foods.
Now, what is batch cooking?
Batch cooking is simply cooking large portions of different dishes, that are mixed and matched to create a variety of foods throughout the week. And it’s usually done on a Sunday; this is done to prepare for the weekend ahead.
With batch cooking, it takes just about an hour or two on the weekend to prepare meals by simply reheating or putting some finishing touch so as to be used on the weekday. And the best part is, you forget the time spent cooking on the weekend. It feels so good to have your meals ready and less worried about having crappy takeouts for dinner.
We all love to know what’s going into our food. Less salt, less pepper, less oil, it’s your choice. Or you might just want to go vegan and know the exact amount of stuff that goes into your food. This ultimately gives you the opportunity to use the best and most nutritious food items.
My Batch Cooking Method
Here is a simplified batch cooking method that saves your time on the weekdays;
- Wash and chop food items: fruits, and vegetables must be chopped. This helps to save time on the weekdays. And please, make sure vegetables are dried well so that they don’t spoil.
- Roast: roast the veggies. And all you have to do is to reheat it during the weekend.
- Cook all legumes and grains: yes, all legumes and grains must be cooked and stored well. With this, you can easily reheat during the weekend.
- Make the dressings: all dressings must be done and stored well to add some spice to your dishes.
And a here’s a “No, No”: it shouldn’t be a place or an option for excessive or disgusting leftovers. You can batch cook and still have a variety of meals to mix up and choose from.
Why bother Batch Cooking?
How it generally changes your life:
- It’s a time-saver: you’ll have more after-work hours to do the things you most love.
- It’s a money saver: you’ll be saving good cash.
- Less worrisome: no need to order for junk foods anymore.
A few guidelines
There’re no much rules when it comes to this planning and cooking method. But here are a few things you must know.
- Make sure to always pre-cook the main ingredients, especially the ones that take quite some time to cook. For example, sweet potatoes or brown rice, then dress them up with different combinations or add-ons and sauces. Now let’s make it a little bit practical, perhaps you made large batches of cauliflower, broccoli, brown rice, black beans and sweet potato, in a particular day you could add them to a curry sauce to give that Indian twist, and in another day you could mix it up with fried ginger and garlic for a Chinese kind of dish. And for the third time, you could desire to have a Mexican feel and top it with guacamole and salsa. All same main ingredients but three separate meals.
- In much the same process, you could keep the add-ons or dressing, but mix the proteins and veggies. For example, you could have a bowl of ginger and garlic a few nights in a row, and swap out the beans for broccoli.
- Cook three to four veggies. This is done to mix food and have a versatile dish.
- Make sure to have at least two plant protein alternatives. For example, quinoa and chickpeas.
Here are also some things to consider;
- Some type of veggies, like chopped scallions or broccoli can be chopped on the weekend and roasted, prepared the same time you wish to eat them. So they’re still kept in their tasty state.
- Don’t forget those heathy fats too. Nuts, healthy oils and Avocado (with its oil extracts) are to be added before eating meals
- Make your meal plan for the week: what type of meal should be home cooked? Is it dinners? Lunch? Or just everything from breakfast, lunch and dinner? You can follow the steps from the general guidelines above and mix up proteins, healthy fats and veggies. Or just lookout for specific recipes. In essence, choose what works for you, especially something that saves your time.
- Shop: Now you know what to make. This is the time to list all the food items you need. Do a quick scan around your kitchen and be aware of what you have and don’t have so as to make a good grocery list. Make sure to add veggies, dips for snacks and extra fruits on the list. When done with that, head to the grocery store on a weekend, and start shopping.I recommend you get all fresh produce from the famers market or if you wish to save more money, then buy all packaged products online.
- Prep and batch cook: now begin to have fun by tuning to your favorite podcast and start washing, cutting and cooking.
- Just dress the meal during the week: no need to start the process of washing, cutting and cleaning. Your meals are always ready and quick to prepare during the week.
- Now have fun with your spare time: spoil yourself a little and just enjoy the spare time.
Please don’t make it complicated
Always learn to keep your meal plan simple by following these few steps:
- Finding and buying few recipes
- Cook the recipes and store them
- Use non-recipe meals or Kitchen Sink meals to round up your week
- And repeat
The best of part? You’re not only cooking healthy and delicious foods, you’re also saving good cash and time. And once all your healthy storage and batch cooking is complete, you can now enjoy the spoils! Follow your menu plan, and reheat as required. This is surely the best way to manage time. Good luck!