Cook Once, Eat for a Week
Once you are practicing the Paleo lifestyle, you may find that you are cooking a lot more than you once did. If you are not used to cooking before you went Paleo, it is high time that you should start learning to work in the kitchen. One of the helpful tips when going Paleo is to cook your own meals so that you are aware of the nutrients that you are taking in instead of the usual dining out in which you are not even sure what preservatives and chemicals they are putting in our foods. Also, the benefits of cooking your own meals is that you can save a lot on your budget compared to dining out in restaurants and fast foods. Cooking your own meals can also be a wholesome leisure activity and bonding time for you and your family or even your roommate or housemate. However, on some days, it can be very tiring for us to go cook something up in the kitchen. On some weeknights, it can be tough to cook after a long day of work, errands, and obligations.
One way to beat this problem is to cook once for the entire week. When you so much to do, but have so little time, the best way to cope with it is to set aside specific time for you to binge on your to-do tasks. This is also the same in preparing your own meals for the whole week. Even some people choose to cook once for the entire month, that’s how prepared they want to be. It really just depends on you especially your schedule and budget on which specific day will serve as your cook up day. Once you are done cooking for the whole week or month, you store them in the refrigerator to eat them up after. Basically, you are just preparing meals and then refrigerating or freezing them to use later. It’s much easier to stay true to the diet when all you have to do is come home and heat up something that you’ve already prepared. If this sounds overwhelming to you, let’s break it down in a way that seems a little less intimidating.
First, all you need to do is make a weekly plan. List down your preferred recipes, main course, side dish, and drinks for each day. If you find it quite tedious to list down different recipes for each day, you can always reuse some recipes of other days and mix them up with another recipe to add some variety to your meals. Also, if you find that some recipes are quite complicated or expensive for you to make, there is always room to improvise. Make your own twist to your own meals. Once your list is prepped up, you can finally go grocery shopping.
Go grocery shopping for everything on the list the night before you plan to cook. If possible, stick to your list and avoid grabbing goods that are not essential to your listed meals. The purpose of the list you made is to save yourself from making on-the-spot decisions in the grocery wherein you might have the tendency to grab food which you don’t even need. Shop only for ingredients that are Paleo-friendly based on your meal plan. Then on cooking day, first do any chopping or other prep for vegetables and meats. Next, start putting together the recipes you had listed down and place them in either a gallon size resealable bag to cook later or go ahead and cook them in the oven and reheat them later. If you have leftovers, you must save them to heat for the next day so as not to waste any precious food.
Basically, you can get an entire week’s worth of food prepared in three or four hours and be done cooking for the week. You just saved yourself from the trouble of deciding what to eat or where to eat for a certain meal of the day. With this kind of preparation, you are putting yourself in line with the Paleo principle. But what if that is still too much work for you? Instead, you can just try to make each time you cook stretch a little longer.
Say you find a great recipe that you love. The next time you make it, double the batch. Make the serving bigger or make some more of that recipe to get you through a longer time. Also, when you find a good recipe, make sure that the recipe is the kind that will not get spoiled that easily. Choose the recipe that can have a longer shelf life in the refrigerator. Store some of your favorite recipe in a sealed container and place it in the refrigerator. That way you can eat a meal that night and then you can have another serving of it tomorrow morning or later in the week or month.
All you have to do is put it in a container and pop it in the freezer – but make sure you label it so that you can find it again. If you do this a few times in a month, you’ll be able to get more out of the time you spend cooking in the kitchen. This would mean lesser cooking time in the kitchen but you will still get to be able to eat the same amount of food when you cook longer. Those extra meals are perfect for busy nights when cooking doesn’t seem doable, but you don’t want to grab a burger and go off of the plan. Busy days and nights would often make you feel lazy and lethargic to even cook up your own meal. It’s not your body’s fault that you feel that way when the stress and fatigue gets to you; it is a normal body reaction to feel tired and that’s why we succumb to convenience food and fast food whenever we feel hungry and tired at the same time. The best way to prevent this inevitable situation is to set a cook up day once a week for you to prepare your meals ahead of time. That way, you won’t be tempted to look at convenience food and fast foods because you already have your meals at hand.