School is almost in session! That time of year for many of you to shift routines again, and perhaps now is the perfect time to get in the habit of batch cooking and meal prep. Whether you want to clean up your own diet, prep for a smooth schedule transition for your family, or save time during the week, these tips can help.
What is Batch Cooking?
Batch cooking is a great time saver and helpful way to stick to your health goals. The concept is to cook enough at one time that can serve as healthy leftovers for the days and week ahead. Ideally I like to batch cook on Sundays in preparation for my work week, but depending on your schedule you can do it whenever it works best for you.
Perfect Batch Cooking Foods
Here are some great things that you can batch cook or prep in advance; some require cooking and some are raw and ready to go as is:
- slow cooker pork roast
- slow cooker BBQ pulled pork
- zucchini "zoodles" spaghetti
- grilled chicken
- grilled veggies: red onions, bell peppers, corn, sweet potatoes, roast tomatoes,
- Mexican and veggie casserole
- quinoa bowls
- black beans
- mason jar salads
- cole slaw
- yogurt and fruit parfaits
- fruit salad
- cottage cheese
- protein smoothies
- raw veggies and hummus layered in mason jars (carrots, snap peas, zucchini, etc)
- peanut butter and celery
- homemade protein or granola bars
- spinach egg frittata
- sandwich thins
- raw nuts
- raw fruits like apples, oranges, plums, watermelon ect
Turn All Your Prep Work into Fast and Healthy Meals
Now that you have all the ingredients to compile your meals for the week, begin to separate your food into single serving, or family serving containers, depending on your prep needs. Now your food is ready for you to grab and go, or simply heat and serve! No fuss, no muss.
- Breakfasts Options
- protein smoothie
- greek yogurt parfait (optional mix ins: peanut butter, granola, fresh fruit, chia seeds, nuts)
- peanut butter on a sandwich thin, with a side of raw fruit
- serving of cottage cheese with a side of fruit
- quinoa /oatmeal bowl with fruit
- wedge of spinach egg frittata with a side of fruit
- Lunch options
- mason jar salad (put dressing in the bottom, layer hearty veggies like carrots and celery first, then nuts, olives, spinach, lettuce ect... just dump it out on a plate when you are ready to eat!)
- grilled chicken with quinoa and grilled veggies
- quinoa bowl with black beans
- sandwich thin with grilled chicken and veggies on it, side of raw fruit or veggies
- Dinner Options
- chicken, onion, and bell pepper fajitas with a side of fruit salad
- pulled pork on sandwich thin with side of coleslaw and fruit
- pork roast with veggies and salad
- zucchini "zoodle" spaghetti with a side salad
- mexican and veggie casserole with a side salad
- Snack Options
- raw fruit
- raw veggies with hummus
- raw nuts
- cottage cheese with fruit
- homemade protein bar
These ideas are simply the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the options you can create for your own lifestyle. However, hopefully it helps you get in a mind set that with just a couple hours of prep each week you can always have healthy options ready to go for days on end.... even weeks on end, as many of these meals can be frozen and simply require a quick reheat! Some of my favorite places to reference healthy recipes to use are our Peel'd blog (http://www.getpeeld.com/blog-montauk/), Allrecipes.com, Pinterest, and the Gracious Pantry blog. Ultimately find what works for you and go for it!
Good luck wrapping up your summer and beginning to transition to fall!
Health is Wealth!