Last week Friday I received some unfabulous news, which meant I was less than excited to start typing a healthy-eating post when all I wanted to do was comfort eat.
I feel like if I show you the bottle of water and a background of fruit and veg then this scene looks a little less naughty than it actually is. Don’t worry, I’m back on the straight and narrow now thanks to finally making the effort to batch cook this week. So I thought I’d dedicate this post to what saved me from gaining a gazillion kilos this week.
Batch cooking for beginners
Batch cooking is like the saviour of all saviours when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. It is incredible the amount of time, money and energy you save by expending a little time, money and energy to batch cook. Rather than going to the shop every day or two and cooking for an hour every day because ‘fresh’ is better (I used to think this, but now I’m more realistic about life), choose a day every week (or month) and cook everything. Batch cooking is great for those homemade midweek meals. Feeling too tired to cook? Pull a pre-cooked healthy meal out of the fridge or freezer. Perfect! I know this seems like the simplest and most obvious solution ever, but it is funny the amount of people who don’t do this. And, particularly for me starting out on this healthy-eating journey a couple of years ago, I had no idea batch cooking could be a viable option.
Batch cooking salads like the spinach and avocado salad featured in my previous blog post for example, just wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t freeze well, nor would it last more than a day or two. But batch cooking cooked foods and undressed salads works! So here are two batch cooking ideas from my food experiments this week to get you started:
Baked Veg & Baked Salmon
This is the second time I’ve done this, the first time being following a recommendation from the nutritionist I worked with in Manchester, Dee at Threesixty Nutritional therapy. I’ve never baked veg en masse before then! I really love this because it lasts for the week in the fridge.
Oven: 375 degrees Fahrenheit
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
- 1x yam or sweet potato
- ½ bag of broccoli florets or ½ large broccoli on a stalk
- 2x bell peppers (your preference to colour – I used green and yellow, but next time I’d use red and yellow because they’re sweeter tasting; the green is a bit bitter!)
- 200g mushrooms
I also would love to have added courgettes, but I keep forgetting they are called ‘zucchinis’ in America and forget to update my shopping list accordingly. But why don’t you slice up two of these and throw these in there too!
Mix all your ingredients with ½ tbsp. coconut oil and seasoning of your choice. I used 1 tbsp. parsley, 1 garlic clove, and a heavy dusting of black pepper.
Cover your oven dish with foil (optional). I always do this because I often forget that I’m cooking and leave my food in the oven longer than planned. Tin foil basically saves my food from being turned to charcoal and the house from burning down! (That’s aluminum foil for you Americans.)
Altogether, the veg cost me about $7 (Sprouts), so that’s about $1-$1.40 if it lasts you between 5-7 meals.
I served the baked veg with salmon (rubbed in basil, garlic clove, red chilli flakes & black pepper) baked for 10-15 minutes in the oven at 350F. At $7.99 for two salmon steaks from Sprouts, the total meal cost including the veg is around $5 per person per meal. BARGAIN!
Chicken & Prawn Stir Fry
Check out BBC Good Food for a fabulous ‘how to make a stir fry’ demo. My ingredients included: various coloured bell peppers, sweet corn, mushrooms, onion, prawns, chicken, soy sauce, parsley, chili pepper, habanero pepper, garlic, chicken seasoning. But it varies depending on what is in my fridge at the time. You can make a stir fry with whatever veggies you like! And I cooked with Vita Coco coconut oil, as shown in the picture.