How to Meal Prep and Batch Cook for Better Health
Do you struggle with finding time to cook healthy meals during the week? Are you tired of spending money on takeout or fast food because you don’t have the energy or time to cook at home?
Well, I have two words for you that will solve these problems and more:
Meal prepping and batch cooking are two techniques that can revolutionize the way you eat and save you time and money.
But what are they, and how do you get started?
What is Meal Prepping and Batch Cooking?
Meal prepping is the practice of preparing your meals ahead of time, typically for the week. You can either prepare full meals or simply chop up and portion out ingredients so that they are ready to cook.
Batch cooking is similar, but instead of prepping individual meals, you cook a large batch of one or more dishes that can be portioned out and eaten throughout the week.
Now, I know what you might be thinking. “But I don’t have time to spend an entire day cooking!” The good news is, meal prepping and batch cooking don’t have to be time-consuming or complicated.
Tips to get started with Meal Prepping and Batch Cooking
I know it might sound like a lot of work to prepare your meals for an entire week, but once you see how simple it is, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start doing it sooner. With a simple system like this, you’ll save time, energy, and money.
Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
Before you go grocery shopping, make a meal plan for the week. This will not only help you stay on track with your healthy eating goals but also ensure you have all the necessary ingredients for your meals.
Choose the Right Recipes
When it comes to batch cooking or meal prepping, it’s also important to know that not all recipes are created equal! You’ll want to make sure you choose the right recipes. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Consider the cooking method: Recipes that can be easily cooked in large batches are ideal for batch cooking. For example, stews, casseroles, and soups are perfect for batch cooking because they can be cooked in large pots and easily reheated throughout the week.
- Look for recipes with simple ingredients: Recipes with a long list of ingredients and complicated steps are not ideal for batch cooking or meal prep. Look for recipes that have simple ingredients that can be prepped in advance, and steps that can be easily repeated.
- Check the recipe for storage and reheating instructions: Not all recipes are suitable for storage and reheating. Look for recipes that include instructions on how to store and reheat the dish to ensure that it will hold up well throughout the week.
- Consider the serving size: Make sure the recipe yields enough servings to make it worth the time and effort of batch cooking or meal prepping. You don’t want to spend hours cooking a recipe only to end up with a few measly servings.
- Think about the versatility of the recipe: Choose recipes that can be easily customized or adapted to fit your dietary preferences or taste preferences. This will help ensure that you actually enjoy the meals you’ve prepped and won’t get bored of eating the same thing every day.
By keeping these factors in mind, you’ll be able to choose recipes that are well-suited for batch cooking and meal prep, and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your time and effort in the kitchen.
Invest in Storage Containers
To make meal prepping and batch cooking easier, invest in a set of reusable storage containers. Glass containers are great because they can go from the freezer to the oven or microwave. Make sure to get a variety of sizes so that you freeze future meals or portion out leftovers or a large batch recipe for the week.
Know What Foods are Best for Batch Cooking and Meal Prep
Many fruits, vegetables, and foods freeze well, making them ideal for batch cooking and meal prep. Here are some examples:
- Fruits: Berries, bananas, mangoes, and pineapple all freeze well. They can be used in smoothies, baked goods, or as a topping for yogurt or oatmeal.
- Vegetables: Many vegetables can be prepped in advance and stored in the freezer. These include broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, peas, and spinach. Roasted or grilled vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers also freeze well.
- Grains: Cooked grains such as rice, quinoa, and couscous freeze well and can be used as a base for meals throughout the week.
- Meat: Cooked meats such as chicken, beef, and pork can be portioned out and stored in the freezer. They can be used as a protein source for meals throughout the week.
- Soups and stews: These dishes are perfect for batch cooking and freezing. They can be stored in individual portions and easily reheated throughout the week. Try my 3-Ingredient Soup to Get your Veggies or my Cozy Thyme Chicken Soup
- Sauces and dressings: Homemade sauces and dressings can be stored in the freezer in small portions. They can be used to add flavor to meals throughout the week.
It’s important to note that not all fruits, vegetables, and foods freeze well. For example, cucumbers and lettuce tend to become mushy when frozen. It’s also important to properly label and date your frozen items to ensure that they stay fresh and are used within a reasonable time frame!
If you’re new to meal prepping and batch cooking, start with just a few meals or ingredients. As you get more comfortable with the process, you can increase the number of meals you prep at once.
You can also check out my article “Eating Healthy On A Budget” for more tips on how to save money when grocery shopping for your meal prep ingredients!
Why You Should Start to Meal Prep
Not only can meal prepping and batch cooking save you time and money, but it can also help you eat healthier.
When you have healthy meals ready to go, you’re less likely to opt for fast food or unhealthy snacks. Plus, when you’re in charge of the ingredients, you can ensure you’re eating nutritious foods that meet your dietary needs.
So, why not give meal prepping and batch cooking a try? It might just be the solution you’ve been looking for to eat healthier and save time and money. And who knows, you might even discover a newfound love for cooking!