Have you every heard of batch cooking?
It’s just a way of meal prepping your foods to not only save time throughout the week, but it helps you stay on-track with eating healthy.
The method of batch cooking that I am chatting about today is what I primarily use for dinners [but, you can use it for breakfast, lunch, + snacks!].
I have been consistently batch cooking my meals for about a year + a half now. I don’t think I will every go back!
In today’s post, I am breaking down for you:
- How I used to plan + prep my dinners
- My method of batch cooking
- Tips for batch cooking effectively
HOW I USED TO PLAN + PREP MY DINNERS
For many years I had a simple routine that I used every week to try to cook healthy dinners often. It’s no secret. So many people try to attack healthy eating using this method.
This is what I did:
First, I would make a list of healthy dinners for each day of the week:
- Monday- Sausage + peppers
- Tuesday– Salmon + rice
- Wednesday– Chicken + sweet potatoes
- Thursday– Homemade pizza
- Friday– Eggs + bacon
- Saturday– Go out to eat
- Sunday– Burgers + salad
Next, I would make a list of what I needed: Then, I would head to the store + spend a good 40 minutes getting my ingredients together [+ moseying around because my husband + I loveeee to check out new foods at the food store!].
Then, I would do my best to stick to my meal plan: In the mornings I would defrost whatever meat I needed [… if one of us remembered]. Like anyone else, I would be shottttt by the time I got home from work. About 75% of the time we stuck to cooking the planned dinner. Sometimes, we would just order in or default to breakfast for dinner.
We would eat healthy dinners most days of the week. But, I didn’t enjoy it much. It felt like such a chore after a long day + I was always feeling defeated if I couldn’t follow through. Worst of all, I felt like we threw so much food away because it would go bad.
I realized I needed to find a way to make cooking healthy dinners realistic. For me, that meant it had to save me time + less thinking had to be involved. I eventually came up with the idea to start batch cooking once we had a baby + time was superrrrrrrr limited.
Let’s dive into my new + improved process: batch cooking!
- Related: 17 Ways to Eat Healthy On a Budget
Batch cooking is just a stem off of meal prepping. It means to make large amounts of meals at one time in order to free up time later in the week.
I knew that I didn’t want to do a classic “meal prep” + have the same dinner all week long. To us, that’s super boring. We LOVE food + enjoying a few different types a week!
So, I decided that I didn’t mind cooking 3-4 times a week. I just wanted to free up a couple days + use that time to either relax with my family or catch up on other tasks.
MY BATCH COOKING SCHEDULE:
- Sunday + Tuesday: Meal #1
- Monday + Wednesday: Meal #2
- Thursday: Meal #3 [usually breakfast food!]
- Friday: Go out to eat/order in
- Saturday: Meal #3 or out with family/friends
HOW I PLAN + COOK:
Every Sunday morning before I food shop I sit down + plan my meals out according to this schedule. So, I choose 2-3 dinners, depending on our plan for Saturday.
I complete a focused grocery list [download yours HERE] + I head off to the store + grab all the ingredients I need.
Then, I only cook on: Sunday, Monday, Thursday, + possibly Saturday.
Note: Thursday’s + Saturdays we often make breakfast: eggs, bacon, + toast. It takes maybe 5 minutes to throw together. So, I don’t mind that I don’t batch cook those meals [no one wants two day old cooked eggs!]. To me, if it takes less than 10 minutes for the entire process I don’t consider it time-consuming cooking.
- Related: 12 Healthy Food Shopping Tips
WHY IT WORKS FOR ME:
Batch cooking works for me because it frees up time for me to spend with my family or catching up on other tasks.
Not having to cook 3 days out of the week also allows me to get back to my love for cooking because it feels less like a chore.
I feel like I am so much more mentally sane knowing that a few days a week I am just grabbing pre-made, healthy meals out of the fridge + am heating them up!
Also, I didn’t realize how freeing it would be only have to choose 2-3 meals a week, as opposed to 5-6. Decision fatigue is a real thing!
- Related: 9 Things I Do To Eat Healthy Every Week
TIPS FOR BATCH COOKING EFFECTIVELY
- Set aside time to meal plan the same time every week.
- Use a meal planner to plan all your meals or create a meal menu to display your dinners on your fridge.
- Keep a list of dinners you love so choosing meals is faster [I keep mine in my iPhone + have a Pinterest board of recipes I love].
- Use a focused grocery list so you organize everything you need quickly.
- Be flexible. Combine your days according to your schedule. Every week doesn’t have to look the same!
- Choose the batch cooking timeline that works for you. You can even combine 2 more days than I did + have 3-4 meals a week if that helps you out more.
- Have a busy week coming up? Make extra leftovers the weeks following up + freeze them!
- Always have a plan B for days when things just don’t work out. For us? That means having breakfast for dinner or Trades Joe’s pre-made meals/side dishes.
READY TO START BATCH COOKING?
Click HERE for access to my free resource library with tons of printables to help you get on-track with healthy eating habits!