Batch cooking is using the most out of your set prepping times to make enough of the staples for the week, or longer if you freeze ingredients and meals. When food is prepared before the week begins, you get to mix-and-match these parts to create new and interesting meals each time. This can be used for both lunches and suppers.
The idea behind batch cooking is that it takes the same amount of time to make 1 cup of rice as it does to make 4 cups, so let’s make 4 cups and store the excess in the fridge to use throughout the week. It also creates great efficiency in the kitchen because while you have a grain, beans, or something in the oven cooking, you can be prepping another portion.
If you find yourself eating junk throughout the week because you simply do not have the time to put into creating nutritious and delicious meals, batch cooking and meal prep are for you!
The quantities you choose to make are going to depend on your personal preferences and how many people are going to be sharing the yummy bounty.
Tips To Make Your Meal Prep Day A Success
- Choose a day that works for you. Pick a day that you have extra time to put into this new skill. When you have chosen a day and it works for you, make it a priority to always batch cook on this day, because routines make new habits easier! Sunday works for me.
- Plan each prep day. Maybe the day before, choose the foods you are going to be preparing for the week – for both recipes and staples. Shop for any ingredients you need beforehand so you have everything ready when you start.
Another part of the planning process is having an understanding of what foods/recipes you are going to cook in what order.
Start longer cooking grains or beans first.
Chop up veggies for longer cooking recipes or foods. If you want to have roasted sweet potato, chop that up and have in the oven while you are working on other parts.
Make quick dressings/dips/sauces during down times.
If you can, wash dishes as you go. This can save a huge pile up at the end when you are likely tired.
- Ask for assistance. If you have people around the house, don’t be afraid to ask them to help, especially if they are going to enjoy the bounty with you!
- Set aside enough time. When you have your plan for the week, block off an amount of time to create everything you need. This step is tough because things tend to take longer than anticipated, but setting a time will make it easier to get started.
Let family and friends know about your new schedule so they can assist you any way they can, even if it means staying out of the kitchen or no phone calls in that time. This helps me a lot because I get distracted easily!
- Make sure you have all the tools necessary. It is annoying to get something started only to realize halfway through you don’t have the right tool. This goes for ingredients as well.
Your Batch Cooking Outline
- a whole grain or two
- some beans, legumes
- some tofu, tempeh, seitan, veggie burgers
- cooked veggies (roasted, grilled, steamed)
- raw veggies (chop to eat raw with a dip or to add to a dish during the week)
- sauce, dip, dressing to use on dishes or to use on its own
- a meal recipe to use throughout the week (soup, stew, a main dish)
From this basic outline you can pick and choose what you want to have on hand each week.
This technique works so well because you are going to be using your time in the kitchen as efficiently as possible. While some veggies are roasting in the oven or while you are chopping veggies, there will be grains or beans cooking on the stove. You will be overlapping times and in the end saving at least a few hours of work.
Batch cooking also works because the time you need to cook 1 cup of rice is the same needed for 4 cups. When you make more and have the excess ready in the fridge to put together during the week, well that is the magic!
When you have these elements ready to go, you can create nutritious meals really quickly, and they will all be as different and varied as you choose.
Next week I will give you a more specific look at the ingredients you can use and how to put them together for a variety of meals and snacks each day. You will get a better idea of each part of the meal prep and how it looks – the whole grains, beans, cooked veggies, etc.
Yours in plant love,