New week, great intentions to cook/eat healthy but come Wednesday things have fallen into a heap & you are back to old habits. Does this sound familiar?
I get it! For me the secret is prepping & batch cooking. We know home cooked meals are generally healthier, but things happen – you get busy, kids are hungry & you don’t have the energy. Yup, that is when things slide.
Some easy tips to set you up!
You are going to cook at home, so if you plan you are more likely to succeed. Spend some time on the weekend prepping. Do a week in advance – you can consider how busy the week will be looking, what you have in the pantry & plan accordingly. Be realistic about timeframes, it doesn’t need to be a gourmet extravaganza.
Head to the supermarket with a list! Otherwise you buy specials you don’t need, or you forget that key ingredient for your recipe. It gives you time to check what is in the pantry & freezer, create a list & to fill in the ingredient gaps. Give yourself time to checkout the weekly specials & fingers crossed, save some dosh – helping the budget out along the way!
I am a super big fan of this. It helps save money & time, what is not to love? If a recipe is easily doubled – do it & freeze one for later one. Alternatively, do a double batch & give it a twist on the second night, mince for spag bog one night but add vegies & beans with a mashed sweet potato topping for shepherd’s pie on night two. Bulk cooking allows you to buy ingredients in bulk – often making it a cheaper option so better for the budget.
Check the frozen aisle
Frozen fruit & vege are frozen pretty quick after picking, which means they are usually as good as fresh produce. Stay with me, we have all had the watery frozen vege, but the secret is how you cook them & to use appropriately. The fact is frozen broccoli will not cook up like fresh broccoli, in contrast peas will be like the fresh option. Frozen ingredients are an easy add for stews, casseroles, or curries, plus they push up that vegie intake.
Pre-prepped can be healthy
Honestly some of the pre prepared meal options at the supermarkets are not a bad choices. The fact is, you won’t always have time to cook. The nutrition panels show you salt, sugar, energy per 100g & you can make comparisons on your best options. Often you can see through the top panel to see & decide for yourself. As a nutritionist, I would let you know they usually tend to be low in vegies, so just add some extra vegies or add a side salad – easy peasey!
These are awesome for soups, stews & casseroles – which can be great for bulk cooking. It is a set & forget type of deal, so definitely a great option for the time poor.
Add lots of vegetables into your dish, any liquid from the vegetables stays with the dish as a sauce – so you are not losing any vitamins – winning! Many traditional slow cooked meals are meat based so add lots of vegetables into your dish. I also love to sneak in some beans or lentils to bulk it up & get some extra fibre.
Share the responsibility.
Get others involved. Kids may not be able to cook a whole meal from scratch but even the little ones can use cup measurements, bigger ones can peel &/or chop the vege. Anyone (big or little) can be involved in finding recipes as well & as a bonus it also sets kids up with some life skills.