It is no secret that solid food preparation can make a big difference in achieving our healthy eating goals.
The problem is that preparing entire tagines, casseroles, and soups can quickly become a burden as other responsibilities take precedence.
Anna Debenham, a certified practising dietitian, calls for a change in how food prep is done. She advocates breaking down bulk cooking into individual ingredients that can be mixed and matched throughout the week.
Debenham, the creator of The Biting Truth, says that batch cooking can be overwhelming and time-consuming.
“Preparing individual ingredients takes less time and allows for more flexibility throughout the week. This leads to greater variety.”
Debenham recommends taking some time each weekend to plan your meals. Then, think about which ingredients you could prepare ahead of time to cut down on midweek chaos.
She says, “Think about what ingredients you might have trouble with midweek. Personally, I don’t mind cooking a little steak, salmon, or tofu on weeknights, but I can’t bother cooking the carbohydrate components like boiling rice or baking potatoes because it takes so much time.”
“So, if it’s clear that you will make a salmon dish on Wednesday night, you might say, “I’ll cook some rice, potatoes, or roast vegetables to go with it.”
Next week, pre-heat the oven and then search your fridge for any ingredients that can be chopped or oiled.
Debenham says that while roasting vegetables can take up to 45 minutes and are difficult to fit into a busy weeknight schedule, it is possible to do it on Sunday.
You could use onion, carrots and capsicums, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. You can caramelize them and put them in salads, sandwiches, wraps, frittatas, or on top of scrambled egg eggs. Crispbread can be topped with hummus, roast vegetables or feta (see below).
You can boil 10 minutes of eggs while the vegetables are baking to make a week of protein that you can use in many meals.
Debenham states that boiled eggs are a good snack option for morning and afternoon snacks and delicious addition to a sandwich, wrap, or salad.
Hard-boiled eggs and avocado on toast are a great breakfast option if you don’t have the time.
Tip: Cool your eggs in cold water after the timer sounds to make sure you have hard-boiled yolks that remain creamy and not crumbly.
As a source of plant protein and fibre, Quinoa is a versatile ingredient that can improve nutritional content.
However, quinoa cooking can be a time-consuming chore during the week.
Debenham advises, “Make sure you have some quinoa on hand so that you can get wholegrain carbohydrates.”
They can be time-consuming, but they are quick to reheat when you get home. You can also add it to your roast vegetables or hummus for a delicious salad or side dish.
Brown rice is nutritionally superior to white rice because it retains the germ and outer bran. It is worth preparing it ahead of time as it takes longer to cook.
Debenham suggests that rice can be frozen in portions and will keep for at least a few more days in the fridge.
You can also keep small microwavable pouches with rice and Quinoa, but they are more expensive and require more packaging.
Grilled chicken is arguably the most versatile protein you can find. It can be used as a topping for almost any meal.
Debenham suggests that you “do it really simple – pour some oil on it, season it with salt, and then sprinkle some of your favorite herbs, such as paprika or cumin, oregano, oregano.”
You can roast a few pieces in the oven, add them to a salad or wrap it, or serve it on a plate with some carbs or veggies.