Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Pick a day to be "Cook in Bulk Day"!

For those people who feel they have no option but to eat out or eat processed foods because they “don’t have time” to cook and prepare foods… re-evaluate what you are saying. I stress with everyone that you make time for things that are important in your life. If you have a boyfriend, you make time to see him. If you have a child, you make time to go to his/her soccer game. If you have a toothache, you make time to go to the dentist. If you think you are important, you will MAKE the time to dedicate to healthy eating and exercise. One of the things you must do in order to eat healthy is dedicate time for grocery shopping and food preparation.

What I personally do, and what I encourage most of my clients to do, is dedicate a few hours over the weekend to cook in bulk. I turn on the oven, wash and cut up all my veggies, throw them on a pan, and roast them under tin foil with some liquid (dash of oil, balsamic vinegar, and a little water), and cook until they are soft and browning. Since the oven is on, I usually cook up a bunch of chicken breasts for the week, and throw in a piece of fish for my dinner that night. While all of that is going on, I cook up a big batch of a whole grain (quinoa, barley, millet, bulgur, farro, etc.). After all is said and done, I portion out 3 lunches for the week with my veggies, protein, and grain. I then save enough grains and veggies to last me a 3 days for dinner, then freeze the rest so I can pull them out whenever I’m in a pinch for a quick lunch or dinner. Each day, you can flavor your meal different (add Teriyaki for Asian night, marinara for Italian night, etc.). Since there are a variety of vegetables I roast up, you can either eat a variety each day, or eat broccoli one night, roasted asparagus the next, etc.

Yes, cooking this way is a time commitment on that day. Sometimes I spend two to three hours on a Sunday doing this. Even easier, use your slow cooker to cook veggies and some chicken for the week, then you can even run out and get your errands done. But it saves me a ton of time during the week since my lunches are already made, and dinner basically just needs to be heated and seasoned. You can add beans one night, buy some greens and make a roasted vegetable salad with chicken (throw in some feta to go Greek), etc. The options are limitless! I guarantee that I am eating healthy, and I save a TON of money by not having to eat out or even buy frozen packaged meals. Once you get into this routine, there is really no going back. Furthermore, on days you bake more, you freeze more, and that holds you over on those weekends you don’t make the time to cook because you are away or have other obligations.