SCHEDULE YOUR TIME AHEAD
For meal prepping, whether that be Saturday, Sunday or Monday to kick start your week, plan on 2-3 hours of your day. And that doesn’t mean you will need all those hours. It also doesn’t mean you have to meal prep all on one day. Some people (like myself) like to batch cook on Sunday’s (during football of course) and Wednesday’s (my lightest scheduled days). That way I have multiple things in the freezer, fridge and cabinet for when I get hungry. Most importantly, make a schedule and stick to it so it becomes a habit. Write it in a planner or write it on the kitchen calendar. Schedule in the days you might get packages from Thrive, Amazon or Butcher box. For those who have farmer’s markets, schedule the days they are in your town. Whatever it may be, write it down and stick to it. It’ll make your life a whole lot easier!
PREPARE YOUR EQUIPMENT
Before I decide to bake or cook I bring out all my tools necessary. On baking days I take over the whole counter with my beaters, measuring cups, spatulas, etc. On cooking days, I pretty much shut off the kitchen to anyone nearby and bring everything out! I place the veggie and meat cutting boards on one counter. And the knives, garlic presses, mixing bowls and food processor on the other. Those 10-15 minutes of finding everything will make batch cooking easier!
WRITE OUT YOUR MEAL IDEAS, AND THINK INGREDIENTS
There are two ways to batch cook: preparing the meals or preparing the ingredients. Usually it’s great to start out with planning your meals. But keep it at a rough estimate. We all know, that our days can change drastically and our bodies can crave different foods depending on how we feel. For some, creating whole meals for the week is the best fit for them. These individuals like to know what they are having each day for each meal. For others, prepping key ingredients that can be thrown together for multiple meals works better. I tend to lean towards the latter approach because it leaves a little wiggle room. If I know I have a really busy week and can’t spend too much time batch cooking on Sunday, I will make staple ingredients that I enjoy throwing together. For example, I will make parsnip hummus, cauliflower rice, baked chicken, brussel sprouts, zucchini noodles, microwaved sweet potatoes and cooked salmon on Sundays. I can use all of these throughout my week. I could throw some cauliflower, chicken and Brussel sprouts for dinner one night. Or I could use my parsnip hummus with carrots for snack one day. It allows for more creativity throughout the week and spice’s up an AIP lifestyle. When all these ingredients are stored in the fridge it only takes a few minutes to throw them together for a great meal!
PUT THE TUNES ON!
Who doesn’t love music while they’re cooking?! It spices up your mood and gets you feeling relaxed or energized. When I batch cook, I turn up the country music, put on my fun apron, and pretend I’m Julia Childs. It really helps the “task” go quicker if you can sing and dance the entire time! If you’re more of a movie or T.V person, put on a show or movie you have already seen. (That way you can look away for a second and already know what happens.) If Sunday’s are game day for you, you can listen to the game while still paying attention to your cooking. The time in the kitchen should be productive, but also fun. The more you make the batch cooking enjoyable, the less it will feel like a chore every week. And who knows, maybe you will want to become a Julia Child’s too!
GET SAUCY WITH IT
To keep those taste buds interested, let’s spice it up a little! That cauliflower rice and roasted chicken I made prior does not have to be bland. Kick it up with some coconut milk curry. Or add in some rosemary and sage. The more flavors you add into your meal, the more you will want to eat them. During your batch cooking time, maybe take a day and experiment with some different sauces. You could use them for later weeks during the program. For instance, Thrive market may sell some AIP or Paleo friendly sauces. Whatever you decide to do, get saucy with it!
Rather than seeing batch cooking as a chore, think of it as a way to make amazing, healthy, and allergen free food for your week ahead. It gives you an avenue for creativity for your AIP lifestyle