The secret is out: batch cooking will save your life!
Here is what I try to do at the beginning of the week to have a lot of ready-to-eat foods to create tasty and balanced meals in a pinch.
And I don’t even have to open a single cookbook or follow any kind of recipe!
Cook once and eat all week! 🙂
Try batch cooking! Eating quick, healthy and tasty meals could not be easier once you use this simple technique, even if you’re a busy mom or entrepreneur like I am.
– Aglaée Jacob, MS, RD, author and owner of RadicataNutrition.com
Step 1: Batch cook!
Make sure you get at least 2-3 of the following ingredients within each categories to have a balance of all the ingredients you need later this week.
Protein, vegetables and carbs/tubers are the parts of your meal that take the longest to cook so batch cooking those on the weekend will make you save tons of time and energy that you can use to care for your family, run your business or simply take a break from everything. 🙂
- Protein (ingredients with a * should be organic):
- Ground beef* (grass-fed): I like making patties, sausages or meatloaves
- Chicken* (organic/pastured): whole chicken or chicken breast
- Salmon (wild-caught from Alaska): filet works well
- Eggs* (organic/pastured): hard-boiled is best
- Vegetables: Any vegetable you can think of! (ingredients with a * should be organic)
- Onions, garlic, mushroom, carrots
- Ready-to-eat salads
- Spinach*, kale*, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower
- Eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers*
- Green beans, cucumber, etc
- Carbs (ingredients with a * should be organic):
- Winter squash: butternut, acorn, pumpkin, spaghetti…
- Potatoes: regular potatoes* or sweet potatoes
- Other roots & tubers: beets, jicama, turnip, parsnip, cassava/yucca root
How to cook your ingredients: I like cooking most of these things in the oven although I will usually do a big stir-fry of onions, mushrooms, broccoli and other seasonable vegetables in a skillet and cook my beef patties in a skillet too. You can also boil your sweet potatoes, potatoes, beets and steam other veggies if your oven is getting too full with your other ingredients.
How to store your ingredients: I store everything in glass containers. Avoid plastic as much as possible as it can leak into your foods, especially if the foods id warm/hot or acidic (think tomato sauce). To be on the safe side, ditch the plastic containers and invest in your health!
* Do you need to buy organic? You don’t necessarily to buy everything organic but some foods tend to contain higher amounts of pesticide and other agricultural chemical residues. This is the case for meat, dairy products and select produce (those with a * above). I suggest you choose organic whenever possible, especially for the starred items, or that you prioritize the non-starred items that contain lower amounts of pesticide residues. Check out this free resource by the EWG to learn more.
Step 2: Mix-and-match!
Add at least one within each of the following category to add taste and balance your carbs, protein and veggies with healthy fats to get a satiating and steady source of energy for hours after your meal.
- Seasonings: Adding different seasonings to your different meals throughout the week will allow you to spice things up and feel like you’re eating a brand new dish every day.
- Unrefined salt (Himalayan salt is my favorite!)
- Black pepper, ginger, garlic, hot sauce…
- Tamari sauce, coconut aminos, balsamic vinegar…
- Spices: cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, clove…
- Herbs (fresh or dried): basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, mint…
- Healthy fats: These fats can be used to reheat your meal, be drizzled on your food or just added on the side (avocado/guacamole). Try to aim for about 1-2 tbsp (you read correctly, I said tablespoon and not teaspoon) of the fats below or 1/2 -1 whole avocado.
- Coconut oil
- Ghee or butter* (grass-fed / pastured)
- Olive oil (extra-virgin)
- Avocado or guacamole
- Optional: If you feel like you still need a bit more, add 1-2 of the followings to complete your meal.
- Fruits: any fruit in season is good or try berries for their low carb /high antioxidant content
- Nuts or nut butter: A handful of nuts or a spoonful of natural nut butter can help if you need a little extra (think almond, cashews, macadamias, hazelnuts, etc.)
- Dark chocolate: 2-3 squares (70%+ cacao) can take care of your sugar cravings after a meal
- Yogurt* (full-fat, plain and organic/grass-fed): combine with berries and 1/2-1 tsp of honey or maple syrup for a satisfying and nutritious treat
Step 3: Reheat and enjoy!
Now comes the easy and fun part!
All you need to do when it’s time to eat is to combine a few of your ingredients.
It’s like having your own healthy buffet ready just for you.
- 3-6 oz of protein
- 2 handful of veggies
- 1/2 – 1 cup of carb
- seasonings to taste
- 1-2 tbsp of healthy fats.
You can simply throw the fat in a skillet, turn on the heat and add all of your ingredients to reheat or simply put everything on a plate and microwave for a couple of minutes.
And that is all!
This is how you have a complete and balanced meal ready within less than 5 minutes!
Your no-nonsense real food RD & nutritionist,
p.s. Have you tried batch cooking before? What are your favorite combinations? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to know! 🙂
p.p.s. Don’t forget to download my free guide to make 7 quick, healthy & tasty lunches ready in less than 10 minutes and with fewer than 7 ingredients.