Batch Cooking Like a Badass

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A recent poll revealed that 60% of Americans say they’re stressed out daily right now, and I suspect the other 40% may be in denial. 😉 When we’re anxious, nervous, or afraid, we tend to let our healthy habits fall to the wayside, none more so than what we eat. And the best way to […]

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A recent poll revealed that 60% of Americans say they’re stressed out daily right now, and I suspect the other 40% may be in denial. 😉 When we’re anxious, nervous, or afraid, we tend to let our healthy habits fall to the wayside, none more so than what we eat. And the best way to get back on track — batch cooking.

Let’s face it, comfort food is cheap, easy and… well, comfortable. But it also doesn’t help our situation, leaving us feeling bloated, groggy, irritable and tired. So it is more important than ever that you maintain a healthy diet. 

When things are super hectic in my life, I turn to meal planning and batch cooking to help ensure I have full meals at the ready, filled with nutritious, whole foods.

It helps me stay energetic and the act of cooking and planning helps center me for the week ahead. 

Here are my simple starter tips to batch cook like a badass!

Find The Right Recipe

The key to any kind of meal prep is to create a plan that you’re excited about because then you’ll be more likely to stick to it. If you’re new to planning ahead, or you’re worried you’ll get overwhelmed, start with just one daily meal. 

If you’re always skipping breakfast, this is a great chance to make sure you start the day off on the right foot. If you don’t normally have a long lunch break, meal prep will help ensure you can push through the second half of the work day in a healthy way. If dinnertime is super chaotic in your house, knowing what you’re making in advance means more time with your family and less stress before bed.   

Think about the type of meals you enjoy making and eating to create a template for your week. 

Here’s an example of one for dinners from Wellness Mama:

1-2 stir frys

1 salad

1 slow cooker/Instant Pot or soup meal

1 fish/seafood meal

1-2 meals from a different cuisine from around the world

1-2 prepare-ahead oven meals

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Another important element of meal planning is to be aware of what ingredients you already have in your kitchen and plan dishes around those. If you want to make a dish with quinoa but you already have brown rice in your cupboard, make the swap and save your cash for the week. 

If you’re making a spaghetti sauce with lean ground sirloin, and you’re going to have extra, plan the next day’s meal using the leftovers — maybe a slow cook chili or ground sirloin tacos for lunch. 

The goal is to not waste food or pick recipes that require you to purchase a dozen new ingredients, especially now when the supermarkets are not as well-stocked. 

Stay Spicy

Learn your spice and herb staples, as they can turn any dish into a real treat! 

  • Mexican flavors: cumin, coriander, chili powder 
  • Indian flavors: curry, cumin, coriander, cardamom
  • Italian flavor: basil, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, and garlic
  • Asian flavors: five-spice, ginger, cilantro, cumin, star anise, turmeric, cinnamon
  • Middle Eatern flavors: Za’atar, paprika, black pepper

As you can see, cumin, coriander and cinnamon are extremely versatile, so take this time to experiment.

I also LOVE having a lot of fresh herbs on hand, like thyme, parsley, cilantro, tarragon. Chop those herbs up, and add them to anything to make it sing!

Be a Super Sous Chef

The goal of meal planning and prep is that you never start cooking a single meal during the week from square one. This means that whatever tasks you can do ahead of time – from washing and chopping veggies to pre-assembling meals to pop in the oven – you get them done all at once before the week starts. 

I love to put on some good music and spend a few hours on Sunday in my kitchen getting organized for the week ahead. The time you spend now will save you twice as much later, especially when you’re tired or just don’t feel up to cooking. It will help you avoid turning to junk foods or ordering out if you’ve already spent the time prepping nutritious and delicious healthy food — and your body will thank you too!

Sometimes, I just do all my chopping ahead of time, so I can cook on the fly during the week without having to make a big mess. It cuts down SO MUCH time from hunger pangs to enjoying a meal to be able to skip this step. In other weeks, I cook ingredients ahead of time and assemble my meals (after they’ve cooled!) so I can grab-n-go during a busy week. 

If you want to cook ahead of time, here are the best cooking methods:

  • Grains (quinoa and rice): boil & drain
  • Root Veggies (carrots, sweet potatoes, squash): roasted, steamed
  • Cruciferous Veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts): roasted, steamed
  • Dark Leafy Greens (kale, collards): sautéed, raw
  • Proteins (beans, tempeh, tofu, fish, chicken, beef): baked, grilled 

Plant-based ingredients can last up to 5 days in the fridge, while animal protein will stay good for 2-3 days. You can also make your dressings and sauces ahead of time too, as well as any alternative milk you need. (Here’s a recipe for my Creamy Cashew Mylk.) 

And to help ease any overwhelm you may be feeling while reading this blog, the best way to help with meal prep is to schedule the time to do it!

Time blocking is an amazing tool to help you stay on point during any workday, but it also works wonders when it comes to carving out the time to meal prep and prepare yourself to have a healthy week.

Schedule the time in your calendar to create your menu for the week, including a shopping list of ingredients. Then schedule in time to shop and prep. If it’s in your calendar you are much more likely to make it happen!

Have you tried batch cooking your meals yet? How do you meal plan for the week, and has the lockdown affected what you’ve been able to do? Let me know in the comments below! 

LOVE + batch badassery,

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I'm Moniqua, your new let's-get-real friend.

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A Real Food Devotee + Self Care Connoisseur + Jedi Mindset Master dedicated to helping you elevate your health, your life—and your career.

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