Are you wonder how to get started with batch cooking? Batch cooking is one of the EASIEST ways to begin meal planning without getting too complicated. It gives you flexible options and saves so much time. With batch cooking, it is easy to shop from a master grocery list, focus on sale items, or shop seasonally – whatever your style is! This post will walk you through batch cooking for beginners.
Batch cooking is perfect for busy moms who want to eat healthier and have quick and easy meals that are family friendly.
The awesome thing is that the more you batch cook, the easier it becomes over time. You’ll see ways to save even more time! Plus it will save you from running out for takeout or fast food!
Batch cooking makes it easier to eat healthy because you can simply stick to a shopping list and then have the good foods you want to eat on hand so that when you are hungry you naturally reach for the good stuff that you’ve already prepared rather than junk!
Make sure to Pin this Post for Later!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate or referral links. To learn more click here.
What is batch cooking?
Basically batch cooking is prepping a bunch of food so that when you go to make meals it’s easier. You can do this in a few ways:
- Chopping fresh veggies that can be added to salads and main dishes, or used for healthy snacks.
- Making freezer meals – complete recipe frozen to be put in slow cooker later
- Making meat packs – pre-marinated/seasoned packs of meat and then freezing
- Making double of dishes and freezing extras – think spaghetti sauce, taco meat, casseroles etc.
- Baking potatoes and veggies in the oven – great for easy meals, adding to buddha/taco bowls, or quick side dishes
- Making large portions and eating leftovers, or utilizing for later meals
The beauty of batch cooking is that it makes eating healthy easier! When you have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go, you are much more likely to actually eat healthy during the week rather than order takeout.
Batch Cooking for Beginners
When I started focusing on including more nourishing real foods in my meal plan, I realized that making my own homemade versions was way healthier than store bought versions.
Making things in big batches saves so much time in the kitchen because it takes the same amount of time to make a double or triple batch of soup, spaghetti sauce, or rice/quinoa as it does to make just one batch. So think about that next time you are cooking!
Bone broth, and sauerkraut, two very nourishing foods, are also very inexpensive. Another very nourishing and inexpensive food is black beans. Soaking the beans overnight before cooking and then cooking in bone broth makes them even more nutritious.
These foods become the components you build your meals around.
You can add bone broth whenever liquid is needed in a recipe, or as the base for quick and easy soups. Serve some sauerkraut on the side with lunch and dinner. The black beans can be served on the side, in buddha/taco bowls, in soups/stews, in quesadillas, or as a main dish.
All these ingredients can be made in big batches and frozen for when needed. Just make sure to freeze in portion sized containers so it’s easier to take out just what you need!
So focusing meals around these foods not only boosts nutrients, but also saves money.
You can build pretty easy clean eating meals around:
-Rice, quinoa or potatoes
-And a meat
So the goal of your batch cooking session is to get these components chopped, prepped and ready so that when you are ready to eat you can just toss them all together (in different ways, so it’s never boring) and heat if needed.
Batch Cooking for the Week
Lots of people batch cook on one day every week for a few hours. Saturday or Sunday afternoons are great for batch cooking. Pick a day where you can block out a couple of hours and commit to it weekly. It will be life changing!
Because I have 4 kids and how much I can get done is soooo unpredictable, I tend to spread my batch cooking out over a few days.
So don’t feel like you can’t start batch cooking just because you have NO time or are constantly distracted by kids!
You can! You just need to get creative with how you organize your time!
So here are 2 different ways you can batch cook depending on how much time you have:
The One Day Healthy Batch Cooking Plan
This method is for when you know you will have NO time to cook during the week and you can carve out a few hours on the weekend, or at night, to power through the prep.
This plan took me took me exactly 1 ½ hrs. And is EASY. Here is a short video that you can check out that shows you the basic process.
Batch Cooking Steps for Beginners
Here’s what I prepped in this order:
#1 – Start by cooking 4 chicken breast on stove top grill – I saved even more time because I had seasoned and marinated this chicken and frozen the week before! So all I had to do was defrost and pop on the grill!
#2 – Boiled a dozen eggs – these make awesome snacks, breakfast on the go, or added protein for taco/buddha bowls.
#3 – Pop a cut spaghetti squash covered with sea salt and olive oil in the oven at 400 degrees for 1 hour.
(Note: I didn’t do this during this session, but it would be a great idea to toss in some sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, or veggies for roasting too while you have to oven going! Don’t be afraid to use all you kitchen tools to the fullest!)
#4 – Start making pancakes – I made these with gf flour and add hemp seeds and flax seeds for a boost. Also no added sugar to the pancakes. I use these for wraps (with peanut butter and banana!) and for breakfast topped with raw honey.
#4 – While the pancakes are cooking I start the rice cooker with 2 cups of quinoa and appropriate amount of water.
Never made quinoa in the rice cooker? It’s so EASY, do it just like you do rice! This is the programmable rice cooker I use. You can set it to come on whenever you like!
#5 – Once the pancakes are done, start chopping veggies! I chopped 4 cucumbers, a couple of onions and bell peppers, carrot sticks, and also shredded cheese.
#6 – I had started some black beans in the morning in the slow cooker, so once those were done I put into containers.
#7 – Once the chicken is cooked, cool it and then slice. Put into containers.
#8 – I made some lunch bowls with the chicken, spaghetti squash and veggies. I also added store bought hummus and a egg. For one of the lunch bowls, I used quinoa instead of spaghetti squash.
Everything else goes into containers for later. Also I filled containers with sunflower seeds for easy snacks for my purse.
#9 – Last I made a few wraps/burritos for my kids with beans, cheese and chicken.
And that’s it!
I used the onion and bell pepper to make quick fajitas for dinner the next night. All I had to do was cook the veggies and add the cooked chicken. Super fast and little effort for a easy weeknight dinner.
The quinoa was the base for taco/buddha bowls one night and used for breakfast cereal mixed with banana, cinnamon and honey!
The leftover spaghetti squash was made into patties that were added to the bowls for dinner.
You can also make this even easier by skipping cooking the chicken and just buying a store bought rotisserie chicken and pulling the meat! Then use the bones to make bone broth! (see below for more details!)
Did this last all week? No, but it did make it easier for me to pull together quick lunches and stress free dinners on my super busy days.
Need this to last all week? Double or triple the portions mentioned above based on your family size.
The Slow and Easy Batch Cook Method
This is a batch cooking plan for when you have NO time, energy or patience for a one day prep session. It uses slightly different ingredients than the plan above. With this plan most of the prep is done while making dinner!
By doing a little each day, it puts less stress on you, but still preps what you need to make easy meals the rest of the week.
Day 1 –
- Cook whole chicken (or 2!) either in oven, or slow cooker, OR buy a rotisserie chicken at the grocery to save a TON of time.
- Chop fresh veggies and make sauerkraut
- Eat chicken for dinner with a quick salad
- Remove remaining meat from chicken and start broth
- Soak black beans for next day
Wondering how to make bone broth? Here’s my easy method!
Day 2 –
- In the morning take the bones out of the crock pot. Leave enough broth to cook the beans and save the rest in jars or ice cube trays for later.
- Add beans to the crock pot and set appropriate time.
- That night have beans for dinner. Save the rest for in storage containers.
- Cook a big batch of rice/quinoa for dinner and save rest for later in week.
- Boil eggs while rice/quinoa cooks.
Day 3 –
- Bake potatoes for dinner with leftover chicken. Bake extra potatoes for quick and easy sides or homemade hash browns.
- Chop and bake additional veggies for sides and save rest for later in the week.
This gives you ALOT of different components you can now make easy meals with! And without the stress of a BIG prep day.
Even if you just do a little meal prep it makes a big difference in your week ahead!! What do you think? I would love to get your feedback in the comments below! Is batch cooking prep something you do or think could make your life easier?? Do you have a meal plan for this week? What are you cooking??
Tools You Need for Easy Batch Cooking
These are the kitchen tools and containers I use to make batch cooking easier!
This programmable rice cooker makes it easy to prep big batches of healthy grains like quinoa!
The slow cooker is my favorite kitchen appliance for batch cooking! This one on Amazon has a 24 hour digital timer perfect for making bone broth!
To make chopping easier, get an extra large bamboo cutting board like this one.
Best Containers for Batch Cooking
When it comes to food storage containers there are LOTS of options.
More Healthy Eating from Birth Eat Love
Our goal here is to help make healthy eating easier for busy Moms during pregnancy, postpartum and breastfeeding. Check out some our best resources here:
Pregnant? These are some posts you should check out!
- Healthy Pregnancy Dinner Recipes (Superfood Edition)
- Amazingly Healthy Snacks for Pregnancy to Try Right Now
- 15 Date Recipes for Pregnancy
Breastfeeding? Check out these posts!
- 9 Healthy Soup Recipes for Breastfeeding Moms
- 11 Foods that Increase Milk Supply (QUICKLY)
- Healing Freezer Meals for Postpartum and Breastfeeding
Make sure to sign up for our email list below to receive healthy eating tips and resources delivered to your inbox! Plus get your FREE copy of our Ultimate Grocery Shopping list with the best food to eat during pregnancy and while breastfeeding!
Stop stressing about what to eat!
Sign up to get your Ultimate Grocery List! Featuring the BEST foods to support Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Make eating healthy easier and save time with this easy printable list.