Nutrition Trend: Batch Cooking
Written by Kelli Baker | Reviewed by Melissa Sirolli RDN, CDN, CNSC
In our busy, time obsessed culture we are always looking for ways to save time and cut corners. Recently batch cooking, also known as meal prep, has become a popular way to minimize time spent preparing meals throughout the week. To accomplish this, pick a single day, typically on the weekend to make large portions to store and keep for meals throughout the week. This method of meal preparation is a really great option for people that have hectic schedules due to work, kids and/or school and find themselves with limited time during the week to prepare their food. Not only is batch cooking time effective but it can also bring healthier options to your plate by planning healthier dishes and snacks ahead of time and limiting the takeout orders and grabbing of energy dense processed snacks typically characteristic of a busy lifestyle.
Benefits to Batch Cooking:
- Saves time by utilizing one day of the week and dispersing the food out to use throughout the week.
- Healthy options readily available in the kitchen for quick reheat and/or assembly.
- Helps to limit portion sizes by separating and dividing meals into single serving sizes.
- Saves money by decreasing spending on restaurants and takeout orders.
- Pick and dedicate a single day of the week and spend a couple hours cooking and prepping meals.
- Separate food into individual containers for ready to go lunches for the week or put food in larger containers and serve as desired.
- The crockpot is an amazing tool for making large portions of stews and meats that is really simple and can be kept throughout the week for reheating.
- Roasting or sautéing a large batch of vegetables can be a quick and easy way to have vegetables on hand.
- Chopping and preparing vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumber, etc. can be beneficial to have in the refrigerator for a quick salad assembly.
- Preparing grains like brown rice, quinoa or faro is simple to make and easy to store in the fridge for use throughout the week.
Batch cooking is exceptionally effective because it requires forethought, maximizes time efficiency and takes the guesswork out of what will be on the menu for the week. For someone who is looking to lose weight or just maintain a healthy lifestyle this method of preparation can be crucial for successful diet compliance. Additionally, with the busy schedules of most Americans, meal prep can be helpful in lessening the burden of cooking meals throughout the week and allowing the freedom to utilize that time elsewhere.