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SERIES 3: ‘PRACTICAL APPLICATION’ – BULK COOKING

Cooking in batches / bulk can be a real time saver and ward off snacking just because you’re hungry but prepping food is going to take too long.

In the nutrition challenge group quite a few people posted about needing quick & easy lunch ideas or needing something readily available when you get in from work as energy and enthusiasm for cooking is low.

The solutions that work for you will depend a little on how you like to eat. Some people are happy with a light salad for lunch, others want a plate full of food. Some don’t like a big meal before bed, others like over 50% of their daily intake in one go!

Hopefully some of the suggestions below will help.

ONE POT AND THE SLOW COOKER

SLOW COOKER

Most one pot & slow cooker recipes are interchangeable. If you don’t have one, i recommend getting a slow cooker though as they make life even easier as you can switch it on and forget about whatever is coking away for a few hours. They are really inexpensive and super versatile. Pots on a hob need an eye keeping on them and are less energy efficient.

 

Slow cooked food is great for flavour – allowing the ingredients to mingle under a slow heat allows flavours to develop. I wont make a chilli any other way! They also mean you can use little to no fat in your cooking so if you need to reduce the fat in your diet this is a good way to do it, and if you don’t you can save your fat for something like cheese or peanut butter instead of being ‘hidden’ in your food.

 

Slow cooked recipes can be made in bulk and then either stored in the fridge for a few days or portioned up and put in the freezer

 

The list of slow cook recipes I like is pretty much endless but here are a few that you might like:

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slow-cooker-pulled-chicken

https://www.southernliving.com/syndication/slow-cooker-brisket-chili

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/instant-pot-coq-au-vin

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slow-cooker-vegetable-lasagne

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slow-cooker-mushroom-risotto

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slow-cooked-porridge (yes, more oats but have you tried slow cooked porridge?!?!…DO IT!)

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/one-pot-mushroom-potato-curry

BBC Good food is a great online resource for ideas!

Vegan alternatives to meat such as Quorn and tofu don’t do too well in the slow cooker but you could make a vegetable curry, for instance, and add the tofu at the end of the cooking time.

TRAY BAKES

TRAY BAKE

In the same way that slow cooker recipes are good for making in bulk, so too are tray bakes…only they take less time to cook! You can chuck everything in a deep roasting tin and shove it in the oven!

You can definitely get 3 or 4 meals out of a tray so if you are short on time and haven’t planned anything, you have a family to feed or you want dinner sorted for the next 4 days, give some of these a go. Again, what you like to eat will dictate the ones to try but generally you want foods that will take roughly the same amount of time to cook in a tray so you don’t end up with some bits that a burned and others that are raw!

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/mediterranean-chicken-tray-bake

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/mango-chicken-bean-rice-bake (swap the drumsticks for chicken breast if you want to decrease fat and calories)

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/summer-baked-plaice

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/spinach-pepper-frittata

BULK PREP

BULK COOKING

If simplicity is king then cooking component parts of a meal and keeping them in the fridge. Roast a chicken or a tray of veggies or both, cook up some rice and make sure you buy some salad bits when you next shop. A whole large chicken will do 4-5 meals and you can then use the leftovers to make an amazing stock which you can then make a soup with!

 

Pick a buddha bowl recipe you like, cook the bits that need prep in bulk and then put them together each day for a healthy tasty meal:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/michelleno/14-buddha-bowl-recipes-that-will-satisfy-every-craving

 

The possibilities are pretty much endless! Start by writing down 2 or 3 protein sources you really enjoy, a couple of carb sources and 5-6 veggies and see if you can find recipes with those ingredients! And remember…. FAIL TO PREPARE, PREPARE TO FAIL! Plan your weekly food so you have what you want to hand when you want to make and eat it!

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