Last week I talked about tips for batch cooking to make your plant-based and healthy-meal planning a bit smoother and easier, especially during busy weekdays. This week I want to show you exactly how to put that in action, with a sample 1-week meal plan where we batch cook grains and beans and sauces so that you don’t have to think about creating every meal from scratch.
I have colour-coded the items that you can batch cook, making enough volume for you and your family for these meals. Some you eat as single items; some are included as ingredients in recipes later in the week. There are notes below for items with *s and ^s.
|Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5||Day 6||Day 7|
|Breakfast||Oatmeal* with ground flaxseed, fruit, nuts/seeds, almond milk etc||Quinoa* with berries, flax, nuts etc||Oatmeal with ground flaxseed, fruit, nuts, almond milk etc||Quinoa with fruit, flax, nuts/seeds, etc||Chia Seed Breakfast Bowl||Savoury oatmeal with chickpeas, green onions, avocado, tomato etc||LEFTOVERS: Chia Seed Breakfast Bowl|
|Lunch||Green salad with chickpeas***, varied veggies and Berry no-oil dressing**||Whole grain wrap with chickpeas and mixed raw veg and peanut sauce||Baked sweet potato and Creamy Kale Salad with white beans***||LEFTOVERS
Broccoli-rice casserole with cheeze sauce (reheated)
Quinoa salad with spinach, avocado and a citrus dressing
|Black bean burger crumbled into a large green salad with no-oil dressing||Hummus (made with chickpeas) with veggies, in a whole grain or green wrap, or with vegetable sticks|
|Dinner||Brown rice* with lightly steamed vegetables, tofu and a peanut sauce**||Broccoli-rice casserole^ with cheeze sauce with a side baked sweet potato*/salad||Quinoa salad with spinach, avocado and a citrus dressing||Black Bean*** Burger^ (containing rice) on a whole grain bun/pita with a side salad||Brown rice* with lightly steamed vegetables, tofu/beans and a peanut sauce**||LEFTOVERS
Broccoli-rice casserole with cheeze sauce
Black Bean Burger in a whole grain pita with sweet potato
For snacks include fruit/vegetables/nuts and seeds/roasted chickpeas or hummus.
- *Make enough for the rest of the week and store in fridge, reheating when you need to
- **You will have peanut sauce left over, so plan to use it in a wrap or another stirfry later in the week
- ***You can either use canned beans (with no added sodium), or make them yourself from scratch (which is less expensive); if you are making them from scratch, cook up a big batch and keep some in the fridge to sprinkle on salads, snack on or freeze.
- ^These are things that require a bit more time but can be eaten for leftovers. Make them on days when you have some time to cook. With the burgers, keep a few in the fridge to eat as you go, and freeze the rest in individual servings so you can take them out and eat them as quick meals for future lunches and dinners. The Broccoli Rice Casserole doesn’t freeze well, so just make a ½ batch of that for 3 meals.
This is an example of what a week might look like, batch cooking a few things to see you through the week. My recommendation would be not to repeat this the following week, but to switch things up, but in a similar pattern. I originally designed this menu plan for someone who lives on their own. If you have a large family to feed, you might not want/have to eat so many leftover meals, but use your base ingredients (grains, beans etc) to make other casseroles, soups, sauces etc.
This plan is meant to give you an idea of what ACTUAL meals can look like when you are using the principles of batch cooking to organize your weekly menu. If you would like to try this one out, and you’d like the recipes, email me and I will send them to you (there are quite a few so I’m not going to post them all here).
IN YOUR PANTRY
In order to make a plan like this one work, it’s a good idea to keep certain things on hand if you can. They will be the backbone of the meals you build throughout the week. Fresh fruits and veg obviously have to be purchased on an use-as basis, but these are some things it’s a good idea to keep your pantry stocked with:
- A variety of nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia etc)
- Nut/seed butters that you love, including tahini if you like making hummus
- A variety of grains (oatmeal, quinoa, various brown and wild rice varieties, millet, barley, etc)
- A variety of beans and lentils, both canned and dried (if you are willing to cook them from scratch)
- Braggs Soy Sauce Alternative/Coconut Aminos
- Frozen vegetables such as corn, peas etc and fruit, especially berries
- Pure maple syrup
- A variety of vinegars, like apple cider, balsamic, rice wine vinegar, etc
- Good quality herbs and spices (especially turmeric, a good supply of Italian spices such as oregano, basil, paprika, etc)
- Nutritional yeast
So, put that plan into action! And if you have great ideas to share, please do so in the comments below.