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Batch Cooking

Several years ago, I discovered an amazing website called Once A Month Meals. It was way back before they had the fancy new website that makes life even easier now! I am still part of their community because I find it extremely helpful in sticking to a healthier lifestyle. We all get busy with whatever we have going on, whether it is kids’ activities, work, or just extended family obligations. Eating healthy foods can sometimes be sacrificed with everything else going on. When my two older kids were at the height of their soccer days, it was hard to throw together a meal when we had to be at two different soccer practices. Discovering batch cooking is what saved the day many times over!    

If you are unfamiliar with batch cooking, it is a process of cooking or prepping many meals to freeze and take out when needed. You can just freeze your dinners or batch cook every meal. This is the easiest way to start on your meal planning journey. It only takes one to two days to get the meals completed. You can find the time to get this done. You may have to forgo some things but if your kids are older, getting them involved is a great way to spend some quality time together. Although the first few times will be time consuming, you will learn ways to cut down on how you do things.

The beauty of batch cooking is that it’s an easy way to stick to a budget and continue to eat healthy! It will be easier to pull out the healthy meals versus jumping directly to the foods you are trying to avoid. Just think of it this way: a day’s work to make sure you stay on track! This may also end up saving you the time it takes to figure out what to make every night!

There are a lot of sites out there that will tell you that you need special equipment, but all you need is freezer-safe bags or containers. The rest of the “must-haves” are not necessary and can be costly. You will learn what works best for you and your process to make things go as easy as possible on cooking day. I always find having extra bowls around is the most helpful.

If you aren’t quite ready to jump all in on the freezing portion of batch cooking, there are other ways you can ease into batch cooking. It can be something as simple as cooking double of a single meal to cooking a bigger portion of a single item. You can cook 2-3 pounds of chicken instead of just a few pieces or 4 cups of brown rice instead of just the 1 cup called for. Veggies can be cut up and used throughout the week in various meals. There are a lot of ways to ease into batch cooking and not just jumping into it whole hog like I did! I have a habit of latching onto an idea and going all in – I don’t ease into it. I jump in feet first and go all in.

It really isn’t a hard process; you just have to make the time to do it. The first step is to decide what type of batch cooker are you: whole hog or a little at a time. Step two is to find the recipes you want or join a website like Once A Month Meals to begin your journey. If you choose not to join a website, I highly recommend this time suck: Pinterest. You can find a slew of sites all ready to provide you with a ton of recipes to try. The beauty of Once A Month Meals is they do all the thinking for you, and you just execute. Step three is to just do it! Seriously, if you are determined to change your life for the better, this may be the way to go to keep you on track despite your busy lifestyle. I am always here for guidance – just ask at your next appointment. Good luck and happy cooking!!

Niki Claybrook holistic nurtitionist