Incorporating plant-based foods into your diet is easy, as long as you put in some time to prepare. If you make — a pot of soup, a batch of beans, a batch of grains, some hummus, a casserole and wash, dry and store your greens — throwing together balanced plant-based meals throughout the week will take all of 10 minutes or less.
Plan on spending an hour at the grocery store, 20 minutes putting your groceries away and 2-3 hours cooking.
Batch cooking really does make the difference between nutrient-dense meals and grabbing take out. Follow these tips to help get you started and make the most out of your batch cooking experience:
1. Get your kitchen ready.
Before you go grocery shopping, do a kitchen clean out. Get into your pantries, refrigerator and freezer and toss out any old food — food you thought you might eat but still haven't — and anything that has ingredients that you can't pronounce. Arrange and organize whatever is left in a way that makes sense to you.
This will make putting away your new groceries not only easier, but much more satisfying. Plus, you will have lots more fridge space to store all the yummy food that you will be batch cooking.
2. Stock up on good quality food storage containers.
There's nothing like making a bunch of food and then having nothing to store it in. Before you start cooking make sure you have enough containers to store everything you will be making. Glass is best for this job because plastic can leach into your food.
3. Make grocery shopping an art form.
If recipes are your creation, then groceries are your medium.
Make this part of your healthy eating process and don't think of the grocery store as a chore. Give yourself plenty of time, make a clear and easy to read list, bring your reusable grocery bags and enjoy the process. When we're rushed we tend to forget things, buy the wrong things and get fed up. This will all reflect in your cooking, so take the time from the beginning to carefully gather up everything you need.
4. Make it a group effort.
If you can't imagine spending three hours in the kitchen, invite a friend and make it a group effort. You can split the cost of groceries and it will cut your cooking time in half. Make sure your friend brings their own containers to pack up their portions of food when you're done.
Before you start cooking, throw on some tunes and pep yourselves up by reminding each other that this is an investment in you and your family's health, and that you are saving time and money by doing this. Your time in the kitchen will fly by and when you're done both if you will have healthy meals for the entire week, ready to go.