3 Simple Steps to Batch Cooking for Your Week
What’s the deal with batch cooking these days and why are more people doing it?
First, batch cooking can help you and your loved ones become healthier. Second, it can also save you considerable money and time. Who wouldn’t like more money in their pockets, more free time and better health and wellness? All these things are possible when you cook in bulk. In most cases, this means planning meals, then cooking and storing enough food to get you and your family through a single week.
To the batch cooking beginner this can seem like a daunting task (if not impossible).
Phrases like “stressed out,” “just eat anything” and “I don’t have any time to cook” might surround your current mental meal preparation process. That’s okay, and it’s rather common. A lot of us are pressed for time and find it difficult to plan and prepare healthy meals.
You may dream of the day when feeding your family is a simple process; and like most everyone, you don’t want to break the bank. Throw in being able to save valuable time in the process, and that would be pretty darn amazing.
I’m here to help you do that.
Below you will find a simple but proven 3-step batch cooking formula. If you are super-crazy busy, you may want to work one step per day. Once you get the routine down, you will be able to move through the entire bulk cooking formula in a single day. Let’s get started by revealing the secret formula for batch cooking success.
Step #1 – Work the Weekly Batch Cooking Formula
How many people will you be cooking for? The average American family has 3.14 members, so rather than try to divide your children into parts, let’s use 3 people in our example. You want to provide 3 healthy and nutritious meals for each person each day and you’re going to be bulk cooking for 7 days. Don’t forget snacks, 2 each day.
Planning 3 main meals for a week means 21 big meals. Two snacks each day means 14 total snacks in a week. This means the weekly batch cooking formula looks like this:
- 21 meals + 14 snacks x number of eaters
That’s it. That is the simple formula that lets you know exactly how much you need to cook and store. In a 3-person family that would mean 63 meals and 42 snacks. Tweak accordingly to account for toddlers, seniors and others who have specific eating requirements.
Next, sit down with the people you’ll be planning for and figure what type of meals you’d all like to eat next week. This is important because you don’t want to cook food no one will eat! It’s usually smart to plan on 3 to 5 different meals each week to keep the dreaded saying of “not this again” from being a constant mealtime refrain. Each major meal should contain healthy protein, some complex carbohydrates and “good fats.”
Step #2 – Go Shopping (This is the fun part!)
Yes, you’ve got full-on permission to go shopping. Before you do this, review the grocery coupons for your local and big box supermarkets (check out their apps for coupons, too). Break out the list of recipes you chose in the previous step and make your shopping list.
You’re going to be shopping for more than just food, at least in the beginning. You are going to need to store 63 meals in the example we just used. Do you have enough containers to do that? Can your containers go straight from the freezer to the oven? Do you have different sized and colored storage containers so you can tell with just a glance what type of meal or snack is inside?
You also want to make sure you have extra-large bowls, pots and pans for cooking. Purchase the largest slow cooker, Instant Pot and oil-less air fryer you can find. Batch cooking success is all about making as much as you can at one time.
Once your storage needs are fulfilled, hit the grocery store by using this information to buy all the food you will need.
Buy in bulk when you can, but don’t be misled. In some cases, larger sized containers do not reduce your cost per serving. Some big box grocery stores like Walmart and Costco will break down your price per ounce or price per serving on the signs that tell you the overall cost – this is valuable information. If your store does not provide this for you, whip out the calculator on your phone and do some math. This is the step where you save money and choose healthy, nutritious food for your family.
Step #3 – Cook and Store
Now it’s time to cook! If you’re working each of these 3 steps on different days, store your food appropriately.
Wash, prep and store produce first. Plan produce meals (like healthy salads and wraps) for the first 2 to 5 days of the week, as produce can go bad a lot quicker than other foods.
After taking care of fresh produce meals, get cooking on the largest meals of the week. If there is a meal that is going to be eaten 15 or 20 times by your family members over the next week, cook that one first. Then cook or prepare the recipe that has the next greatest number of meals, and so forth.
Store your meals and snacks and get ready to enjoy your hard work tomorrow. Many batch cookers do this on Sunday because their families begin new weeks of work and school every Monday, but this all depends on you.
BONUS Step #4 – Clean, Clean, Clean
One major benefit of batch cooking many people don’t think about is week-long cleanliness. Your kitchen stays almost perfectly clean all week long!
All you need to do is pull previously cooked meals out of the fridge or freezer and reheat them. This minimizes how much mess and disorder your kitchen sees every week. After your hard work and planning, you deserve someone else to clean the kitchen, or at the very least, have your loved ones help you.
Batch Cooking Wrap-Up
This is a simple 3-step batch cooking process that works for singles, couples and large families. Don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged with numbers, calculations and planning. Start small and plan a few meals each week to gain some confidence if it’s easier for you to start there. It can take time to make a shift feel easy, so give yourself some grace.
Get started today planning nutritious, time-saving and cost-effective meals for your family with my 15 Paleo Recipes here. You’ll be a master planner in no time, feeling good about what you’re feeding your family.
Wishing you well,
Hi! I'm Dr. Jessica
I’m Dr. Jessica Payne, Medical Intuitive, Doctor of Natural Medicine, and your go-to guide for living your life naturally…More
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