Making meals from scratch is a big part of following the anti-inflammatory way of eating. So, shying away from the kitchen isn’t an option. But there are several things you can do to make cooking every day more doable.
Implementing a weekly planning strategy will save you time and money and at the end of the day reduce your stress, making it more feasible to enjoy home-cooked meals on regular basis. Here’s how to turn it into reality.
Plan-Ahead and Batch Tasks
Thinking and prepping ahead is the secret to simplified meals. Spending just a bit of time early in the week sorting out your game plan will make your week run smoothly. Try these tips:
- Limit shopping trips to twice a week. Pick up self-stable items and the fresh ingredients to be used within 3 to 4 days during the first trip. Reserve the second trip the fresh items you plan to use at the end of the week.
- Plan your kitchen time around your calendar and to suit your schedule.
- Schedule at least one (or two) prep power hour(s) per week to batch and streamline line tasks. For example:
- Maximize your cutting board’s use while it’s on the counter and cut up fruit and vegetables in advance.
- Make snacks and salad dressings ahead (see recipes below).
- Cook big batches of grains, chicken, and boiled eggs, and even toast nuts, in advance, to bulk up meals and jumpstart prep during the week (see recipes below).
- Double recipes like soups to serve as leftovers or meatballs or beans to use as the basis for a different meal the next day (check out recipes in meal plan).
- Store assembled snack and meal components together and grab-and-go items in portable containers.
Buying wholesome ingredients for meals doesn’t have to bust your budget. Here’s how to save money and reduce waste:
- Select grocery store brands
- Purchase produce that’s in season.
- Use coupons when available.
- Cross-utilize both fresh ingredients and pantry items throughout the week.
- Checking your pantry and fridge before shopping and restocking. Make substitutions with ingredients you have on hand.
You don’t know need to know a lot of different techniques and have a bunch of fancy cooking equipment to prepare tasty and satisfying meals at home. Start by learning these basic techniques and consider buying some of these tools if you don’t own them.
- Graters and Zesters
- Measuring cups
- Food processor
- Cutting boards
- Measuring spoons
- Half sheet pans (18-by-13)
- Knives (assorted sizes)
- Mixing bowls
- Large Nonstick or Cast Iron Skillet
- Oven mitts
- Slow Cooker
Here’s a selection of batch-cooked staples that form the foundation for a variety of dishes in our 4-week meal plan. These recipes are easy to prepare in advance, don’t require much effort, and shave lots of time off meal prep later in the week. Reference each meal plan to determine the exact amount to make each week.