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Batch cooking and planned leftovers

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A few comments I have heard lately from family and friends got me thinking about what makes it so hard to stick to a healthy eating plan.. apart from the obvious: cravings for comfort and convenience foods.

The main thing about healthy eating is to dump the junk and for me that is most or anything that comes in a package. If it needs a label to tell me what's in it and the ingredient list sounds like a science project - forget it!

The biggest change from processed food to whole foods is that you now have to do the processing yourself - washing, chopping, cooking and packaging and then there is the clean up ~sigh~ that sounds like hard work!! But, is it really??
In the time it takes to heat up a frozen dinner full of chemicals and preservatives you can saute a piece of chicken, cook some broccoli and assemble a salad, make stir fried veggies with chicken or any other protein: 10-15 mins max. Yes, there will be dishes but not a lot of plastic going in the trash :)

This isn't my first go-round on the Plan, or any plan for that matter.. I have found that planning and prepping is important - do a little work up front and then you can be lazy afterwards.
I love to cook in batches and have plenty of leftovers for the fridge or freezer - I make my own "convenience foods"

Here are few tips:
- always have a big bowl of the chopped salad on hand, leave out the items that go mushy (like the avocado and tomatoes)
- have roasted or stir fried veggies in individual portions in fridge or freezer
- soup frozen in portions
- cooked chicken in 3-4 oz portions
- broccoli cooks in 3-4 mins in the microwave or 5-8 mins on the stove
- cook a pot of rice, cool and freeze in 3/4 cup portions - ziplock sandwich bags work great for that
This way you always have a meal handy!

Here are a couple of the meals I have had in the last few days

Chicken and chopped salad

Salad topped with roasted veggies (out of the freezer) topped with manchego cheese

Now I can hear some of you say: "well.. it's easy for you, you don't have kids to feed"
True, not anymore but I used to and I used a similar principle - batch cooking and freezing, crockpot meals (dump it in the pot in morning and have dinner at night) We lived in the boonies - no no easy take out or pizza delivery! Once a week or 10 days grocery shopping only.
I used to have meals like chili, stew, enchiladas, curry, lasagna and spaghetti sauce in my freezer for a quick meal when we were busy and didn't have a lot of time to cook. Still, cooking a meal of meat, potatoes and veggies doesn't take all that long - even at high altitude (where everything takes longer to cook) a meal can be ready in about half an hour.
Ok - I did have a dishwasher in those days... the last 5 years that's been me :)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Right on! You are so very right. Yesterday I baked up three large sweet potatoes that I can easily reheat and put natural applesauce on it and a little real butter. Just wish my appetite would come back. I know it will be back.
    I love your meals they always look so appetizing. Your DH is a lucky man.
    Have a terrific day
    1500 days ago
  • IRP1114
    Great tips! You are right it is always helpful to plan and prep ahead. Even with kids! Anyone who wants to stick to any plan that is based on whole foods will benefit from having foods ready to grab and go.

    1500 days ago
    Prepping food is hard, but so is being overweight. You have to choose your hard!

    Great suggestions.
    1501 days ago
    Thank you for sharing your batch ideas.
    1501 days ago
    I didn't know about freezing rice! That is a great tip! I do like to grill on the weekend so that my meat is ready for the week.
    1501 days ago
  • SKATER787
    Batch cooking is the way to go. But
    ditch the microwave!
    ditch the microwave!

    I've been in this apartment for 4 years and I think I used the microwave once to heat some water.

    1501 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon

    This is very helpful and I am going to try to freeze some portions for those days when life gets crazy.

    My kids will not eat most of what I am eating unfortunately! It is a struggle! I make them have a taster of veg every night, it is an uphill struggle.

    I think it will be a little easier in the spring with fresh farm grown fruit and veg! They love their farm produce in the summer.

    Let's hope this last snow storm is the end of it! It was 10 C yesterday! ( well, for a few hours at least! :-))

    emoticon so much for posting this, it is going to make my life a whole lot easier! You make it sound so organized and easy! I appreciate your advice so much!
    1501 days ago
    There are no words to express how proud I am of you! You are my inspiration! You eat exactly how I want to eat! My goal is to eliminate all processed foods from my food plan! Thank you so much for sharing your journey! You rock girlfriend!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1501 days ago
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