Hello and welcome to my Tuesday Tip number six.
Today I want to talk to you about a simple way to eat homemade and healthy food with as little hassle, time and money as possible.
Batching involves meal preparation where food is cooked/prepared in batches, so you make more food at a time and less often.
Batching does involve a little bit of preparation and energy, but if you get in to the hang of batching once a week (e.g. on a Sunday morning) and batch for the week ahead, you are all set for pretty much the rest of that week, and you will have saved so much time and energy.
So on days when you just CANNOT EVEN when it comes to the kitchen, be it because you're tired or feeling particularly lazy, you're poorly, lacking energy, lacking ideas, lacking time, feeling down in the dumps etc., this really helps to get some healthy and good food in you.
It's great to batch some basics to have throughout the week and to add to salads and Buddha bowls, to make delicious combinations and fabrications.
A few good batching staples include:
Rice (basmati, whole grain, short or long grain brown rice etc.), barley, quinoa, buckwheat, bulgur. If you wanted to batch a lot of grains at once, most of them can also be frozen to be used later. You could then divide them down to 1-2 portions together in a bag/container to be frozen and thawed later.
Beans and legumes
You could always buy these in cans, but if you have the time, it’s much more economical (and in my opinion, tastier as well), if you prepare these yourself. The main thing to have in mind is that many beans and legumes need to be soaked in water overnight, but if you remember to do that before batching day, you’ll be fine to then just leave them boiling for the recommended time on batching day, while you prepare other things. These could include kidney beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils, pinto beans, soya beans. Just make sure you follow the cooking instructions. These also freeze very well and again, it’s a good idea to freeze them in individual/small portions to be taken out one at a time.
Root vegetables and other starchy vegetables
Including potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, squashes, pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower etc. These are great to batch cook (usually by roasting, but you can choose what you prefer) and then you can throw them in your salad/Buddha bowl/random combos throughout the week, without having to “lift a finger” on days when you don’t feel like cooking or doing any food prep (ok, you might have to lift one finger, but that’s about it!). These don’t necessarily freeze well, but they keep well in the fridge for several days in a sealed container.
So all these things combined, along with some seeds and nuts thrown over, and possibly a tomato or avocado cut up, you’ve got an amazing beans-grains-starchy veg-dressing-bowl combo et voila, you have a really tasty meal in your hands. It’s da bomb on days when you’re not feeling like doing any cooking (trust me, I speak from experience!).
This is also a good one to batch. If you follow the chia pudding recipe on my blog, then you could increase the measurements by 5 or 7, to make enough to last you a whole week. I tend to make for at least five days at a time and it keeps well. Just make sure that it’s in an airtight container and that you use it within five to seven days. Also, if you’re using milk that you made yourself (e.g. almond or cashew), it might keep a little shorter, more like 3-4 days. I often add a pinch of salt and a little bit of vanilla essence in the mixture as well. Yum yum. Really good for your digestion, plenty of protein, loads of good omega-3 and keeps you full for a while (well, that’s how it works for me at least).
Do you maybe already batch? What sort of food do you like to have handy?
And if you’ve never batched before, why not try it this weekend? You could start today by making a list of things you already have in the pantry and kitchen, and then a list of what you need from the store, and then decide which day this week to do your batching (best to allow for 2-3 hours at least) and get this batching show on the road.
Let me know how you get on!