It’s no secret, we lead busy lives. As the world speeds up, one of the first things to suffer is our self-care. Often busy weeks mean making unhealthy choices, like skipping meals, or grabbing something quick to eat while on the go.
Eating well is a habit you build your life around. It doesn’t just happen, it takes intention and advanced planning, which means it takes time.
But you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen each night just to eat well.
Plan for Healthy Eating
When starting a new healthy eating regime, it’s important to start slow and set realistic expectations.
Look at your schedule and decide what is realistic for you to do. When you’re starting a new routine, you may need to plan to eat out for some meals, or have convenient options on hand.
It takes momentum to really get in the swing of meal prep and planning. When you enter a busy week with the intention of being prepared and cooking regularly, things can snowball in a positive way, or quickly become out of control.
What keeps it all together is forethought and advanced planning. Your meal plan is part of your overall strategy which includes other areas of your life.
Think about it – a meal plan is made up of tiny habits that you take throughout the week. It might mean getting up earlier to make breakfast, shopping at a new grocery store to get your ingredients, or breaking the habit of swinging by the drive thru on your way home from work.
Sticking to your plan will take some discipline, so be gentle with yourself while you get your new habits set up.
Ultimately, your meal plan sets you up for success so you have a solid foundation to build from. One thing that will keep your plan intact throughout the busy workweek is planning to batch cook your meals so you can spend less time in the kitchen.
What is Batch Cooking?
Time management experts recommend batching like tasks together so you can do similar things all at once. For example, washing laundry and changing the bedding are two tasks that can be batched together to save time.
Batch cooking is a similar idea because it has you cooking for a few condensed hours on one day, as opposed to throughout the week. The time this saves in clean up alone (because you’re only making one mess to clean) is a game changer.
There are three different methods of batch cooking:
- Batch cooking staple ingredients
- Batch cooking large meals
- Batching freezer meals
Each method has different benefits. If you’re planning to be away or you know you have a busy week coming up, batching for the freezer is a good option. On the other hand, if you’re looking to have multiple meals ready for the week (a great option if you have picky eaters at home) cooking large meals in advance can help.
If you’re reading this and you’re one of the people who can’t stand the idea of leftovers, you’re in luck. Single ingredient batch cooking has you making a large quantity of one item and then repurposing it throughout the week to create different meals.
Cook Once, Eat Twice
The best time to cook is when you can set aside the time. Not when you’re staring into the fridge at 6 pm and you’re hungry and tired from a long day at work.
Batch cooking means you cook once in a large quantity, giving you food for days (or weeks) to come. One pot meals like chili, soups, and stews can be made ahead of time and frozen for a few weeks at a time.
You can even batch prepare snacks – energy bites, guacamole, hummus, and homemade muffins are great snacks that can be frozen for later.
Start with a meal plan and organize your week around cooking in batches. A few hours in the kitchen on the weekend can mean you’re only cooking once during the week. Doesn’t that sound like a more relaxing evening?
Batch Cooking will:
- Save you time in the kitchen. Keep your schedule efficient by allowing you to focus on one task at a time.
- Reduce kitchen clean up (cook once, clean once!).
- Allow you more free time in the evenings (reheat and eat, instead of cooking from scratch).
- Save you in a pinch— this is a guarantee! Nothing blows your meal plan faster than a time-strapped empty stomach.
Meal Prep That Works for You and Your Schedule
Many of us are working long hours and, let’s face it, we have other things we love to do besides spend our time in the kitchen. It’s time to make your meals work for you. This chart gives a simple example of how you can cook one healthy ingredient in a large quantity and use it to create meals for the week. Try it with your favourites.
Not all recipes work well for batch cooking. Some are best to eat the day you make them. Others don’t freeze and reheat well.
All the recipes in the Everyday Eats Cookbook are designed for batch cooking. The recipes throughout the book use similar ingredients so it’s easy to batch them together and work them into your meal plan.
Get your copy of the Everyday Eats Cookbook today to save time in the kitchen and fuel your family with meals that are healthy and satisfying.