Batch Cooking on the Mediterranean Diet
Batch cooking is a great habit to get into, especially if you want to incorporate a Mediterranean-style diet but feel you don’t have as much time to cook as you want. With batch cooking, you cook up larger amounts of food than you need for one meal and save the leftovers.
The end result? A freezer well stocked with homemade items you can pull out for healthy, easy-to-serve meals later when time is short. You can more easily stick to your Mediterranean diet even when you’re busy because you don’t have to rely on prepackaged foods and eating out to save time.
Depending on your style, you can tackle batch cooking in any of a few ways:
Take a day to cook many items. Get together three to five recipes, such as soups, stews, chilis, lasagnes, or casseroles. Clear off your calendar for the day and cook, cook, cook. Package your meals in freezer-friendly containers, date them, and place in the freezer for later use. Note that this strategy does take a lot of time and energy during your cooking day.
Spend a day prepping some of your go-to foods. Instead of cooking several complete recipes at one time, you can get the base ingredients for later meals ready so you don’t have to worry about them later. For example, you can precook beans, sauces, or whole grains such as rice or barley. For example, make large pots of brown rice and quinoa every Monday and then use them up during the week with various meals.
Make extra when cooking freezer-friendly meals. You can then pack them, date them, and tuck them away in the freezer. For example, if you’re grilling chicken, fill up that grill!
Make more than you need and let it cool; slice the extras up and put them in individual storage containers. The next time you want to add grilled chicken to salads, burritos, sandwiches, or steamed veggies, you have the hardest part out of the way.
No matter what approach you use, make sure to package your meals in a way that works best for you. If you’re single, use single-serving containers so that you don’t have to warm up an entire lasagne. If you’re cooking for a larger family, you can go ahead and freeze the complete meal.
Keep a list on the outside of your freezer of the foods/meals you have stashed and dates you stored them. This way, you don’t forget about the food you have (even if it gets hidden).