Eating healthy takes some effort, there’s no doubt about it. Let’s face it, some days we’re excited and motivated to make a tasty, healthy meal, and other days it’s hard to find the time and energy to do so. It can be tempting to grab something more convenient, with much less nutritional value.
What if we chose one weekend out of the month to shop for healthy ingredients and cook them up in some big batch cooking? At my house we call it Big Batch Weekend. We devote a few hours to meal preparation so that meals become healthier and more convenient throughout the month. It means making a big batch (or batches) and freezing them in meal-size portions so that we can pull out easy, ready to reheat lunches and dinners. It takes the thinking out of making healthy choices when you need a convenient ready-made meal.
How about making a big batch of healthy soup, stew, or a casserole for convenient freezing and reheating? Not only will it be a time-saver, but it’s more economical as well. Here are some ideas for big batch cooking and freezing:
Spaghetti or rice dishes
Lasagna (with meat or vegetables)
Chili (lean beef or chicken)
Here are some tips to remember as you start implementing your regular Big Batch Weekends:
• Choose recipes that are conducive to cooking in large quantity and freezing.
• Have the right containers on hand that are appropriate for the meal size you’ll want later.
• Use containers or bags that are easy to label. Write the date on your frozen food portion. You’ll want to reheat most foods by the third or fourth month at the latest.
• Rotate the placement of foods in the freezer so that you’re eating the oldest ones first. First in, first out.
• Always cool foods properly before freezing to help retain flavor and discourage growth of bacteria. Never leave prepared food at room temperature for longer than two hours.When you defrost, do not leave food at room temperature. This encourages bacteria growth and uneven thawing. Instead, defrost on a tray in the refrigerator or in a microwave on a low power setting.
Here’s hoping this information is helpful in making eating healthy a little easier!
Do you have a favourite recipe for Big Batch Cooking?