Nothing makes us feel more on top of our game than when we set aside the time to prep enough batches of dinners, lunches and snacks to keep our families well fed and eating healthy for the weeks ahead. By cooking more than one family portion at a time and using my Ultimate Batch Cooking Set to pop the leftovers in the freezer, you can ensure that there will be a delicious home-cooked meal on the table every night of the week. Adapting your family meal prep to include your baby is easy and won’t take any extra effort in the kitchen, as long as you are cooking from scratch and making sure to leave out any salt or sugar in the baby’s portion. Here I give you some of my best advice to help make meal prep easier in your home, but if you're looking for even more information have a look on our 9 Top Tips for Batch Cooking!
Set aside the time
You can save so much time in the kitchen when your meals are planned in advance, so to help you out our Mummy Cooks Weekly Meal Planner is available to download for free once you sign up to our Mummy Cooks Club! Once you have your plan, prepping ahead of time is not as big of a task as it may seem. The key is finding a block of time, typically about 2-3 hours, that you can dedicate to cooking whatever you’ll be needing for the week ahead. For some, this may be a leisurely Saturday afternoon, or for others it could be a Sunday family night activity as a way to gear up for the week ahead. Once you’ve taken the time and have everything cooked, all there’s left to do is defrost, reheat, serve, and relax!
Batch cooking in particular is one of the best ways to stay organised, save time and always enjoy a healthy meal. By whipping up big batches of food in one go, you can freeze whatever you don’t need that day to allow for healthy, speedy midweek meals. Personally, I love sauces and always make sure I have a big batch ready to go in the freezer. Sauces are so easy to make and are extremely handy when it comes to meal prep given their versatility. You can easily take the leftovers of a Bolognese sauce for example and use it in another recipe such as a Lasagne, and there’s another meal sorted! Find loads of great batch cooking recipes in my Baby and Family Recipe Book.
A great sauce to have ready to go is my homemade Tomato Sauce, which can easily be used in a range of delicious recipes. It works great as a base on a pizza, mixed in with pasta, poured over a gorgeous Chicken Parmigiana or simply as a side dip for some chopped veggies. Having a reliable recipe that is versatile makes planning dinners and lunches so much easier. Next time you need to batch cook, why don’t you ask your child what their favourite sauces are so you can make sure they’re added to the list for the week.
Cutting down the prep time
Sometimes cooking in large quantities does mean you’re going to have to chop around 2-3 times as many vegetables as you normally would. However, this is where food processors come in handy. By pulsing the veggies, you’ll save huge amounts of time and effort in the kitchen. I find food processors are especially useful for picky-eaters, as sometimes merely seeing large chunks of veg in their lunch or dinner can be enough to put them off straight away. With the help of a food processor, the veg can be cut down to a size that can easily be hidden in a meal, that way they are getting all the nutrients they need without knowing.