Last October, my fiancee Nicole and I completed the Whole30 challenge to see what foods we were sensitive to and reprogram our cravings.
During the 30 days, the biggest challenge for me was creating recipes that were compliant with the rules of the diet, without spending tons of time in the kitchen. If you’re not familiar with Whole30, it’s an elimination diet that restricts five major food categories including sugar, grains, legumes, and dairy (the hardest one for me as a dairy farmer!) in order to identify and personalize a diet to your body’s specific needs.
Long story short, all the fast and easy foods were off-limits so I had to learn a new set of skills to keep myself full without spending all my time in the kitchen.
Sound familiar? You may not be doing an elimination diet but I’m sure you spend enough time in the kitchen and wish there was a way to cut back.
The problem all of us face is that eating healthy takes time. Junk food is called convenience food for a reason, and it’s because often real food meals are much more time-consuming to prepare.
But it doesn’t have to be this way!
Thankfully, a simple strategy for cooking saved me tons of time on Whole30 and can help you provide amazing healthy foods that nourish your family without being in the kitchen all the time.
It’s called batch cooking. I’m sure you’ve probably done it in some way before, but I’d like to encourage you to do more of it to save time.
Batch cooking saves time and makes healthy meals cheaper and more convenient.
Here’s how I like to think about batch cooking:
- Choose a day each week to plan your meals. It always takes time to set up for creating a recipe, including shopping for the ingredients and gathering your utensils. Batching all this into one day or evening of the week for certain items like bone broth, soups, and stews, or grass-fed meats can cut down the amount of time you take. Imagine having pre-made convenience foods available at your fingertips all week because you chose one day and planned ahead! While any day can work, many people find a weekend like Saturday works well. Choose what works for you and go for it! I found batch cooking worked best for me on Saturday afternoons for bone broth, tortillas, and homemade soup.
- Pick a recipe and double or triple it. You won’t be able to create every recipe in batch amounts, but for things like soups, stews, and chili, making a double or triple recipe can go a long way toward having a supply of ready-made meals in your freezer ready on short notice. Besides that, often the flavor is better the second time because spices have had time to mingle and mellow.
- Store in convenient containers for reheating on the go. You know how much you need for a meal, so do yourself a favor and freeze your extra batch in a container just right for your next meal. It’s best to use non-toxic containers for all food storage like glass, but if you don’t have that option be sure to let the food cool before adding to a plastic container for storage. More toxins are released when hot food is placed inside the plastic. Simply take a container out in the morning and thaw it while you’re busy during the day. It’ll be ready to heat up and serve for supper!
As I’ve mentioned before, my family has learned many real food tips and tricks due to a family member who struggles with hashimotos, a thyroid condition that is affected by food sensitivities, sleep patterns, exercise routines, and stress. As a result, tricks like batch cooking and sourcing real food that we grew on our farm has been a way to make healthy living a lifestyle for us, not just a dream.
Do you have a favorite food you like to batch cook? Do you have some time-saving tips? Let us know!
Some of the info from this post was sourced from the Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott, NTP. Highly recommended!