I have found an easy way for making sure I have healthy, convenient meals available every day of the week and you can too by following my bulk cook strategy. All you need to do is to cook a number of meals at once two days a week. Try to space your cooking days about three days apart. Sundays and Wednesdays are my personal favorites. It is a very simple plan to follow that will save you time and money. It has the main benefit of making any diet plan you are on easier to follow.
Here is how you do it. The aim is to cook 2-4 different meals (3-4 servings each) at once.Then pick a different choice of meals on your next cook day for variety. Come up with a list of recipes and a shopping list in advance.
Here is an example of one of my cook days. While I have potatoes boiling on the stove (for mashed potatoes), I have chicken breasts baking in the oven. At the same time, I’m also cutting vegetables for a pre-made salad, while I also mix up a couple cans of tuna into tuna salad for sandwiches. Or I may prep some beef stew for the slow cooker or put together a casserole.
I recommend buying a set of containers (preferably glass) to portion your meals in. I eat quite a few meals per day so I make quite a bit of food at once. Just make sure you are set for three days worth. Have a mix of quick foods on hand as well, e.g. cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, grab and go snacks to supplement your cooked meals. Be sure to only make as much as you can eat in the next few days. Maybe just a couple different meals at a time. Find a balance that works for you.
There are many benefits to preparing your meals this way…
- It saves you time. You will spend approximately 1 hour per session. This includes cooking, portioning your meals, and cleaning up afterward.
- It saves you money. You can buy bulk packages. It saves you from having to eat out or grab something on the fly.
- You can take premade meals to work or on outings.
- You control the portion sizes. It is easy to avoid overeating when your portions are already made out in advance and it saves you from ordering food while you are hungry. That is when your eyes are bigger than your stomach.
- Cooking in bulk gives you complete control over the ingredients in your food. You consistently get quality nutrients in just the right amount.
- The benefit of being able to plan ahead instead of winging it while you are hungry, You just eat what you made. This makes it much easier to stick to a diet plan.
The only downside to this strategy is that you are eating the same thing for 2-3 days and the meals are not made fresh. So it may not work for everyone. Some meals keep better for a few days than others.
A few examples I have found work well are casseroles, stews or chili, slow cooker meals, chicken breasts (shredded, with rice, on salad, in a sandwich, on its own), grilled fish with rice and cooked vegetables.
This is a strategy you can easily incorporate or modify to fit your own needs. If you have been looking for a way to make convenient affordable meals with little investment of time, I recommend giving it a shot.
- Eat before you package your meals so you don’t make your portions out while hungry.
- Weigh your food out with a kitchen scale if you really want to dial it in.