Nutrition Coach's Top Tips For Batch Cooking This Autumn
Now Autumn is here, making a hearty meal for the colder months that you look forward to eating all day is a winner! If you are looking at saving time, money and maximising nutrition then batch cooking could be for you. Batch cooking is a great tool if like me you are very busy and still want a healthy meal at the end of the day.
Batch cooking doesn’t always have to be a full tupperware affair and take you hours on a Sunday. It can be as simple as making double portions. You don’t need to plan every meal either, you can start just by doing the work week to reduce some stress.
Before you come up with new meal options for your batch cooking, have a look at what you have in the fridge left over and need eating up first. For example, if you have a load of vegetables can you make a homemade vegetable soup? Then have a look at what is in the freezer. Do you have already prepared meals you can pull out or ingredients you can use? Lastly as they normally have a longer sell by date, what is in the cupboards you can use?
I should have made this number 1! To maximise your batch cooking make sure you have enough containers to store your meals in: you can get glass or plastic lock containers or zip lock bags for things like sauces. My best tip is to label: you can either write on food labels or use a marker pen. There is nothing worse than taking something out of the freezer, getting all excited and realising it’s something else when it defrosts, trust me I have done it!
One way you can both eat more sustainably and maximise varying your nutrition is to eat seasonally. It will also help to mix up your meal planning to prevent boredom. Some fruit and vegetables in season for Autumn include apples, pumpkin (obviously), potatoes and parsnips.
Just start by trying one new recipe per month, fortnight or week whatever stage you are at with your batch cooking. Dig out the recipe books or we have a free recipe swap group to help too! You can either try a whole recipe or if you have for example carrots left over in the fridge or a can of kidney beans in the cupboard, see what recipes you can make with them.
This is SUCH a good tip and maybe should be higher up the list …. This is a follow up point from number 1! Don’t over complicate, double up the recipe, so if the recipe serves 4, make 8 portions and store the remainder in the fridge or freezer for a later date.
This really is a great tip! Whether you are a family or living on your own, a single serving can be great for reheated lunch portions or a quick win meal to just pull out when you are in a rush.
This may be the last tip but it is very important! Knowing how long foods can be kept and stored and heated for is really important when batch cooking to avoid any food poisoning. Additionally, knowing how long foods can last can help you to not waste food. Here is a handy A-Z guide for food storage and whether foods can be frozen.
Written by Performance For All - find us on Instagram @wearepfa
Researched and written by Jade Mottley - Sport Scientist and MSc Human Nutrition student (Head Coach at Performance For All)