Are you overworked and pressed for time? Do you want to eat well, but aren't sure what that really looks like? Or, maybe the idea of making dinner after a 10-hour day leads you straight to take-out?
If you answered yes to any of the above or if you simply want to find a sustainable way to eat and live – batch cooking is for you.
It allows you to eat well and reach your health goals by assembling meals when you're pressed for time.
So, rather than placing that order on Deliveroo or grabbing lunch out every day, try preparing whole foods in bulk a few times a week. It’ll make mealtime incredibly easy, taking the guesswork out of “what’s for dinner?”
It’ll also improve your food environment and help you build healthier habits; habits that often appear to be decisions we’re making daily. But more than 40% of our daily decisions aren’t actual decisions – they’re habits (Duhigg, 2012).
Forty percent – that’s a lot of opportunities to change!
And, when it comes to changing your diet, your food environment is a great place to start. You see, what and how you eat often comes down to habit and environment. As simple as it sounds, if you change your food environment, your habits will shift and your intake will change. Think about it – if crisps and cookies are around you’re more likely to eat them. If you have fresh fruit, nut butter and yogurt in your fridge you’ve already increased your chance of eating well. The same goes for meals.
We've all been there – when you’ve reached decision fatigue, your willpower is low and you’re most susceptible to making poor decisions, having prepared food on hand will help.
Here’s what it looks like
Step 1: batch cook 1-2 x wk for an hour or two [think a few complex carbs, 1-2 proteins, some vegetables and maybe a sauce or two]
Step 2: assemble meals [grab and go breakfasts, packable lunches, assembled dinners]
Step 3: enjoy balanced, homemade meals in no time [we’re talking 5-10 min]
Repeat to instill new behaviors and shift your diet. It can all start with one habit change, like having breakfast or packing lunch. And batch cooking will help you succeed. It’ll also reduce your food waste and lower your food costs.
Here’s a sample dinner menu
As you can see, most of the cooked items [couscous, chicken, meatballs, zucchini] are re-purposed. Even the tomato sauce used Friday comes from Thursday’s shakshuka dish. And since it’s all prepared ahead of time, dinner can be plated in < 10 minutes. All it takes is a little planning and some creativity. Proof, once again, that batch cooking is a lifesaver during the week.
About the Author
Kelly Powers, MA, RD is a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s Degree in Food Studies. She takes a holistic approach to nutrition and health, helping her clients implement sustainable behavior change to improve their life and relationship with food. Kelly is a recipe developer with a food blog which highlights real food, simple recipes and her life in Rome and San Francisco.
Learn more about Kelly and her services here –
Facebook: Kelly Powers – Registered Dietitian
Duhigg, C. (2012). The power of habit. Random House: New York, NY.