It's the end of the year and let's face it, life is crazy! The holiday hustle and bustle is upon us and I'm running around like a crazy woman trying to finish Christmas shopping, make sure my kids finish the semester strong in school, get my family ready for a winter vacation, visit all of our family and try to keep my family's eating on track and as normal as possible. Thankfully, I have a weekly routine of batch cooking and that usually saves me in crunch time. I always try to make sure I've got tons of cooked veggies, meats and fresh salad ingredients on hand for anyone to grab at a moment's notice. I even made a few paleo and AIP holiday treats to have around so no one resorts to eating junk food. Don't get me wrong, we are by no means perfect. My kids want to enjoy the treats at holiday parties just as much as any other kid and I'm good with that but when they get home, I make sure they have healthy meals so blood sugar levels don't dip.
I started batch cooking in April when I started the AIP/Paleo diet. Some of you might be thinking "what do you mean by batch cooking?" I simply mean cooking several meals and snacks (possibly enough for the week) on one day. I typically meal plan on Sunday morning, grocery shop that day or Monday and spend Monday afternoon or Tuesday cooking for the week. Basically, you have 168 hours in a week and you spend 1-2 hours cooking...that's not much time at all! Batch cooking also allows you to carefully plan your meals to ensure they are healthy and saves you money from not eating out!
It can be a bit overwhelming at first so I suggest starting out with 1-2 meals and you can build from there. If you're concerned about the time it takes to make several meals at one time, think about how much time it saves you during the week, but mostly think about the value of the food you're feeding your family. You are showing them you care about their health and the food they eat. They are never too young to learn and you can even include them in the prep work. My daughter loves when I let her help in the kitchen and it encourages her to care about the quality of the food she eats. Sometimes we throw on some music and enjoy the prep work. Do what works for you!
So, what do I cook? It varies every week and I try to mix it up so we're not eating the same thing. Here's a list of some of my staples...
Roasted vegetables, I try to vary it and cook seasonably (see my recipes for options)
Marinated chicken or pork tenderloin to cook in the crock-pot to be an added protein for any meal
Seasoned and cooked ground turkey/chicken which can be tossed into mixed veggies for a breakfast hash or made into taco salad.
Seasoned meatballs (you can mix spinach or shredded sweet potato for extra veggies) and toss them with "zoodles" or gluten free pasta and marinara sauce or pesto
Homemade protein bars/muffins for easy snack/breakfast items
These are just a few options. I suggest using Pinterest to find recipes that fit your families' likes/dislikes (I finally have a Pinterest page...you can link to on my home page). I also encourage you to follow me on Instagram (link above) where I often post breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas and suggest new products I've tried. I plan to host a batch cooking classes in the New Year so subscribe to my blog so you can learn more. If you ever have any questions on batch cooking, don't hesitate to contact me, I'm always here to help. 2018 is around the corner and I encourage you to be the best YOU possible!!