Isn’t it a constant battle trying to come up with healthy meals for your family? When I get busy, I tend to grab fast food or convenience food. Sadly, it happens more often than I probably even realize! You, too? There is a simple….I mean SIMPLE way to set yourself up for success. Get batch cooking! You set your family up for a weeks worth of vibrant and nutritious meals, which frees up your time during the week…like you have any between work, sports & homework. Am I right? p.s. It’s actually a really nice way to spend your Sunday afternoon, too! Don’t tell anyone that it’s fun, otherwise they might come into the kitchen and ruin your zen. 😉 j/k
It’s Sunday morning and I’m getting ready for church, but I have a few things done already for the week. On Friday night, I soaked two cups of dried beans in water overnight and roasted some walnuts while I made my weekly Friday night pizza. On Saturday, while I was cleaning the house, I put the beans on to cook and made a vegetable stock. Both these dishes are 99% hands off and they are a great prep for Sunday’s batch cook.
I like to outline a menu, but then go to the store to see what is on sale, what produce looks good considering the season.
This week’s batch cooking menu includes a breakfast scramble. A scramble is so versatile. Start with onions, garlic and peppers. Then, you can take it in any direction by using eggs, cauliflower or tofu. Toss in some greens and finish with some fresh herbs. Quick, nutritious and filling as the kids head out for school.
Lunch is “tuna-less” tuna sandwiches. If you eat tuna, make a tuna salad, stuff it into a pita with sprouts, greens and any raw veggies you have on hand. I am making a tuna-less version this week using the chickpeas that I cooked up yesterday.
Dinner this week be a hearty salad night and a warm & comforting soup night. Later in the week as everyone tires of eating the same soup I will make “bowls”. Bowls are fast and easy. Just rummage through the refrigerator and throw leftovers in bowl and top them with a little cheese and vinaigrette. You can also cook up a quick grain to bring something fresh to the mix. Grains like millet, farro or quinoa are all fast and healthy!
Don’t forgot about a few of the other essentials: snacks, drinks and desserts. Toasted nuts and a whole fruit such as an orange or apple make a great snack. For dessert, it’s okay to keep health in mind too! Try a black beans brownies topped with pomegranate seeds. In mid-afternoon when I need something fun, I love a good cup of tea and a carrot cupcake. For drinks, make up a batch of detox water and have plenty of tea on hand.
A good evening snack is popcorn. Popcorn is a seed so it is good for you, just watch the toppings. I use 1/2 T of coconut oil to pop the seeds. For 1/4 c of popcorn, I use 1/2 T of butter, melted and top with pink salt, nutrional yeast, turmeric and cayenne pepper.
This may sound like a lot of effort, but the preplanning makes it much simpler! Your batch cooking efforts on Sunday afternoon pays off during the chaos of the week, when your family has delicious and nutritious food at their fingertips!
Example weekly batch cooking schedule:
Friday – soak dried beans, roast nuts
Saturday – cook beans in crock pot, grocery shop
Sunday – BATCH COOKING DAY
- Dice veggies for sautéing in meals (lots of onions, peppers, celery & carrots!) – use this lifesaver to make this step super quick!
- Cut up raw veggies for snacking.
- Make sandwich filling.
- Make a hearty soup like this.
- Wash greens and herbs for this yummy salad.
- Make a big dessert that will last all week!
- Detox water – here’s some great recipes.
- Brown meats (such as hamburger or a roast for the slow-cooker).
- Have one or two slow-cookers going with chicken breasts, ham, roast, etc.
- Bake 1 pound of bacon in the oven for easy breakfasts – add to a English muffin & egg bake.
- Make a big batch of rice or an alternate grain.
- Make stock (optional)
Friday – pizza and family game night
A super important staple to include in weekly batch cooking is a nice simple vinaigrette. This can go on your salad greens, top off your sandwiches or scramble, as well as the bowls you will make later in the week.
Simple Dijon no-oil vinegrette recipe
2 T Dijon Mustard
Sea salt and black pepper
1 t maple syrup
2 T apple cider vinegar
Juice from one small lemon
Fresh herbs such as dill, thyme
2 T water
Place in a glass jar and shake. Stores in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
I hope you enjoyed all of these ideas on how to do a an easy batch cook! By making the healthy essentials ahead of time, it almost makes you eat healthier throughout the week! Set yourself up for success!
Let me know how your batch cook goes! Did you try something different? We would love to hear all your ideas!
Buy a tub of hummus and cut up fresh veggies, some nice corn chips and you have a quick and healthy snack on hand for after school.
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