Automatic (Healthy) Eating // Tip 5

>> Friday, December 6, 2013

Planning is a big part of eating well. Even a little thought ahead of time can make a big difference. Today's tip is all about the prep-work. Maybe meal-planning is fun for you -- imagining all the delicious, healthy foods you'll eat in a week. Or shopping for deals. But if you don't love cooking, or sometimes even if you do, the execution of this plan can be difficult.

If you're catching up:

// TIP 5: Prep/Make Ahead + Store

Too often, making meals becomes an afterthought because life gets, well, so busy. Whether you work full-time (or super full-time!), stay home, or something in-between, there's really no perfect situation. Eating well and enjoying meals made with whole foods takes a little bit of work.

So, treat cooking like a job. Give it a time slot -- even if only an hour -- on a certain day. Create a To-Do list, just as you would at work. Have goals. Continually try to make your process more efficient. Seek out information to broaden your understanding of (simple) cooking methods and (easy) recipes.

How to start?

// 20 Prep/Make-Ahead Ideas:

It's really up to preference and intent for use. You can try freezer cooking for an entire month if you like. Top considerations include freezer space (we have a dedicated upright in the basement) and reheating methods.

Here are some tips + recipes:

Otherwise, I try to make sure I keep things fresh by using air-tight containers.
  • For dry goods, like oatmeal, energy chunks, flour mixes, etc., I like using OXO Good Grips containers in various sizes.
  • For storage of produce, I have a set of Rubbermaid Produce Saver containers. They each feature a vent and crisp tray circulate air and keep items fresher, longer.
  • I also use large Wide-Mouthed Ball Jars for storage of lots of ingredients and even soups and stews, applesauce, etc. (including freezing -- here's how).
  • In the refrigerator, I often use gallon Zip-Lock bags, though I'm trying to quit that habit because of the waste involved. 
As for my specific method, I usually do my "cooking job" on Sunday afternoons. I always make a crock pot soup and some sort of side bread, that way dinner is prepared for the night and lunch the next day. The rest sort of depends on my mood and whatever ingredients are in the CSA share or grocery store that week.

What's your prep/storage method? Do you agree with making cooking a side-gig for better success?
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