How do I meal prep and batch cook for a week? Most of us are very well aware of meal prep as we are getting busier with other work. Usual meal prep lightens our burden for the whole week.
Avoid drive–thru urges and packaged food cravings this week by preparing nutritious lunches ahead of time. This meal-prep technique will not only remove stress from your weekly grind, but it’s also easy on the wallet and good for the body.
Meal prep includes batch cooking or prepares meals for the whole week. When you hear this it looks tedious and time-consuming. But if you plan properly you can sit back and relax for one week without any hassle.
Meal prep and meal planning are different in nature but when you have a proper meal plan, meal prep will be on track and fuss-free. If you just want to go for the meal prep alone it is again a time saving and workload reducing process for the tiring weekdays.
The points to note while meal prep
Decide and make a plan based on your requirements. Do you want to include your favourite veggies and meats? Is the meal plan on a particular budget? What are the things and ingredients you want to add and avoid? Do the chosen recipes include any food items that may trigger an allergy? So based on these questions you may come to a conclusion about your meal plan.
When you are trying meal prep for the first time, try with lunch or dinner, the tiring meals of the day that saves so much time. If the required veggies and meat are pre-cooked, chopped then the tossing and reheating will require 20 minutes.
Don’t try to prep everything at the same time. Try to find your major time-consuming dish and try that one first. Go easy on meal prep as they may make you tired and stressed.
Batch cooking will work if you want to just want to reheat and complete your meal within a few steps. Or otherwise, meal prep some basic and your favourite ingredients then you can mix and match them according to your weekday preference.
- Make a written, ordered list of all the tasks you plan to accomplish during your meal prep session. List out what you need to cook, and look for ways to double up if possible(make something on the stove while something else is in the oven). I like to make my handwritten meal plan and recipe list with a cup of tea to enjoy the listing.
- Make a shopping list and buy anything you need.
- Prep! Then it’s just you, some groceries, and your kitchen. Start with a clean sink and dishwasher, and set out your clean containers for putting everything away. Turn on some great music and get to work! (Treat yourself to a little snack somewhere in between too!)
How do I meal prep and batch cook for a week?
My Grocery Plan
I like to buy the weekly grocery every weekend. My usual meal prep routine includes the requirements based on the meal plan:
- Planning the meal and menu for the whole week
- Grocery purchase for the whole week as per the planned menu. Most of the time it includes:
- Grains and pulses
- Rice and wheat flour
- Condiments, spices, seasoning, herbs
- Snacks for kids
Mix and match components
A pot of cooked grains, roasted vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, and chicken thighs, marinated chicken/fish or baked tofu to eat off of all week long.
- Marinated chicken
- Breaded Chicken
- Cooked pulled chicken (for salad, pizza topping)
- Pasta sauce(for Mexican and Italian recipes)
- Cooked Rajma(kidney beans), Garbanzo beans(channa)
- Boiled and mashed sweet potato
- Cooked wontons filled with chicken/tofu
- Homemade pesto sauce(replaced with almonds)
What are the staples I will choose for a week?
- Idli/Dosa Batter(Millet)-A healthy and soft breakfast option that comes with the nutrients of millets.
- Appam Batter
- Rice crepes/palaada batter
- Ginger-garlic paste
- Grated ginger cubes-for ginger tea
- Sambar for breakfast and some times lunch
Batch cooking/cooked meals to freeze includes from the list below
- Dalcha-A high protein vegetarian main course recipe goes well with ghee rice and white rice.
- Mutton kebab– A non-veg starter/appetizer made using mincemeat.
- Mushroom curry
- Kadai vegetable
- Broccoli soup-A healthy vegetarian soup made with broccoli, mushrooms, and baby corn.
- Mushroom potato soup-A healthy soup recipe with the goodness of enoki, button, and shitake mushrooms.
- Vegetarian Chili– A high protein vegetarian one-pot curry that can be served with toasted bread and rice for a complete meal.
- Wonton chicken– A wonton recipe made using chicken, ginger, and sauces to accolade in soup and fried noodles.
- Wonton apple pie
- Chicken Patties(for the burger)
- Chicken curry– An Indian style chicken curry without coconut and yogurt.
- Waffles-A healthy blend of millet, oats, and wheat flour waffles.
- Sweet potato smiley-A kid’s favorite smiley with the healthy alternative, sweet potato.
- Whole wheat yeast banana bread– An after school snack for kids with whole wheat nutrition.
- Healthy Whole Wheat Banana Bread(No egg, no oil)-One more banana bread recipe with no egg and no oil.
- French Toast ( mushroom, paneer & chocolate filling)-A simple evening snack/breakfast with mushroom and cheese. Use Chocolate if you have a sweet tooth.
Snacks to make ahead
Tangy lotus seed– A quick lotus seed snack with a tangy note to enjoy. The best alternative to regular calorie-loaded popcorn.
Mango jelly dessert without gelatin– A mango jelly recipe made using agar.
Gluten-free nut-filled protein energy bar– A gluten-free protein-rich energy bar that contains nuts, dates, and oats to enjoy.
Masala lotus seed– A masala infused crunchy lotus seed healthy snack to enjoy instead of popcorn at movie time.
Milo jelly– A jelly dessert made using agar-agar includes milo as the base ingredient.
Homemade khoya stuffed chocolate– A homemade chocolate stuffed with sweetened solid milk(khoya).
Baked wonton chips– A simple seasoned baked chips recipe made using wonton wraps.
White chocolate mango cups– A mango jelly is placed inside a white chocolate cup.
In the initial days of freezing before the pandemic, I was freezing homemade curries, soup for the tiring weekday dinners. When the pandemic arose and the restrictions were implemented and minimum outside activity was allowed, I realized I needed more space for uncooked meat, fish, fresh vegetables, and fruits.
So I stopped freezing curries and started freezing the fresh produce that is perishable.
Here is the list of fresh produce I freeze.
- Grated Ginger cubes-Remove the skin and grate the ginger. Fill the ice cube tray with grated ginger and freeze. When the cubes are ready put them in a zip lock bag and freeze again.
- Banana-Slice the banana and flash freeze them in a tray until they are hard enough. Pay attention to the pieces and make sure that they are not touching each other. Put them in a ziplock and keep them in the freezer.
- Pineapple chunks-Flash freeze and keep them in a freezer.
- Green peas-Remove the peas from the shells and freeze.
Some vegetables will lose their crispiness and become soft when you thaw them. You can add the frozen veggies in curry, soup. You will not find any difference. Wash and pat dry the vegetables before chopping. If you want to use the vegetables in different dishes and the sizes are different pack them in a separate zip lock.
- Corn-Use a knife or corn kernel remover
- Long beans
Meats/poultry and seafood
- Fish-Clean and wash it first. Marinate or keep it as it is. Portion them based on the number of family members and their likes and freeze.
- Squid-Clean and wash. Chop them into your preferred size and shapes.
- Prawns-Devein and wash and freeze.
- Salmon fish fillet-You can freeze it directly if it is already cleaned and packed.
Greens and herbs
- Blanched and pureed greens like red sorrel leaves, spinach
- Chop the herbs and freeze with water in ice cube trays
- Onion-Tomato paste for curries
- Saute onion and tomato in oil, and make a paste. Freeze in the ice cube tray for the simplified usage
Staple foods like rice, noodles, wheat flour, roasted rice flour, quinoa, taco shells, lasagna, tortilla wraps, couscous, and pulses stay in the pantry without much effort. The shelf life of these foods is longer, so we can store them in the pantry easily.
I hope this was not a tiring list of things to read.😉
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