Batch Cooking: Part 1 of 2
We’ve all heard the 80/20 Rule, right?
Weight loss is 20% exercise and 80% food.
Sometimes, it can be hard to make sure that we’re doing our full 80% of good deeds in kitchen to match our 20% burn in the gym. Convenience food, takeout, and moving at the speed of life can make choosing our best fuel a challenge. But what if I could offer you an insurance policy for the kitchen? In a few simple steps, you can promise yourself and your family solid meals, a clean fridge and pantry, and a home cooked meal daily, even when life goes a little sideways. Some of you might even see a sizable reduction in your grocery bill. What are we talking about? Batch cooking! Ready to get down to business? Let’s go.
Part One: Making your game plan.
Step 1: Meal Planning
The first step in creating a habit is usually the hardest, and this is no exception. Meal planning is extremely personal. I find it helpful to use the Crazy Fit Mama Meal Planner. To get yours, simply subscribe to our newsletter and you’ll be able to download a copy right away. Consider your needs. What sort of food does your household enjoy? Will you use favorite recipes, try something new, or both? Have you made any dietary changes lately, or are you treating any medical conditions which require special consideration, such as diabetes or food allergy? Make a list of what you love, and make sure that every member of your household has a favorite on there somewhere. You’re planning for the long term, so mix things up a bit to prevent boredom, as boredom can lead to a call to the local Chinese place. Also, what are your time restrictions? Do you linger over breakfast, but dinner needs to be ready NOW? Is breakfast a blur, but dinner prep is a fun and family oriented end to the day? Here are some quick-start ideas to kick off your list:
Soups and chili frozen into servings
Casseroles frozen into 4 – 6 servings
Crock pot bags of meat, vegetables, and spices frozen together
Meats frozen with marinades
Spaghetti sauce/pasta sauces frozen into 4 – 6 person servings
Homemade pancake mixes, cookie dough, dry spice and sauce mixes, quick breads, etc.
Homemade frozen pizzas or pizza dough
Here are a few of my go-to recipes:
Chicken Bean & Cheese Burritos (I add a big scoop of sautéed veggies and cut the cheese in half, or omit it altogether.)
Easy Creamy Crockpot Salsa Verde Chicken (Sub coconut cream for the cream cheese and it becomes Paleo!)
Clean Egg Muffins (Add mushrooms or turkey sausage if you need a bit more substance.)
Got your plan? Let’s move on.
Step 2: Make Your Grocery List
Let me start by saying: Keep calm. Deep breath. You may be purchasing a terrifying amount of food for batch cooking. It will seem somewhat extreme at the time, but you’re not cooking for weeks, you’re cooking for months. A big batch cook should allow your family to avoid trips to the store for anything other than basics for a good long while. Don’t forget to tally up the dry ingredients, spices, freezable bags, containers, etc. that you’ll need. Finally, take into account the items you might want to accompany meals, but don’t wish to freeze. You probably don’t need to purchase these right now, but have a good idea of what you’ll be serving meals with before you create them.
Homework: Plan your meals for the next two weeks. Make your grocery list as you’re writing up your plan so you don’t forget any ingredients. Remember that many batch cooking recipes will make more than one meal’s worth. If this task seems overwhelming, just plan dinners.
Check back tomorrow (or once you’ve completed your homework) for the low-down on how to fill your freezer with healthy goodness.
Peace, Love, & Burpees,