Some people have referred to the lockdown as a ‘corona-coaster’ – there’s ups and downs to our moods during the pandemic. One moment you might be loving all that extra time staying at home, and the next you might face a sweeping sense of sadness. Never has good food played such an important part in keeping things positive at home.
Cooking can be part of your strategy to maintain good mental health: your efforts lead to a tangible reward, the creativity gives your brain a boost and it keeps your body nourished with everything you need to stay healthy.
Meg Bowman, a clinical nutritionist at Nourish Integrative Solutions states that “Nourishing our bodies with food is one of the most fundamental ways that our outer world (what we can see, touch, and taste) communicates with our inner world (our physical body).”
When you’re feeling proactive and energetic, it’s easy to pick a delicious recipe online and get cracking. But what about the days where you just want to tuck-in to a hearty dish without all the hassle? Batch-cooking is a brilliant way to prepare for such days, as well as saving you money and reducing food wastage.
Here’s Fooditude’s top 5 tips to batch cooking like a boss:
Choose your recipes wisely
Think about what sort of meals would hit the spot on a rainy day. The recipes you choose now should be a nice present to your future-self. Do a little research and compile a list of recipes that all share a common list of ingredients. If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, why not check out our lockdown recipes on instagram or visit BBC Good Food for a large variety of batch-cooking recipes.
Be bold when substituting ingredients
Popping down the shops to get a bunch of basil isn’t as easy as it once was – so think of the recipe ingredients as a set of guidelines rather than a stringent set of rules. If you’re out of a particular ingredient, get creative with what you could substitute it with. No tomato puree? Use ketchup. Is the honey jar empty? Just mix granulated sugar with a little water. Crispy bacon also makes for a great onion replacement! We found this wonderful article by The Guardian with some great substitute suggestions.
Pick your cooking time carefully
Batch-cooking requires your full attention, you don’t want those sausages overcooking whilst catching up with old pals on Zoom. Before you start your cooking mission – make sure you have a clear hour or two to really go for it without any pesky distractions to take away that sense of flow. Mornings are an excellent time for this – there’s no feeling like having already made yourself five future dinners by 10am!
Have a secret stash of tupperware
The case of the missing tupperware is an unsolved mystery as old as the Bermuda Triangle. Make sure you have a good amount of tupperware for batch-cooking in advance. If you’re thinking of treating the family to a curry takeout any time soon, remember to save the plastic tupperware afterwards – plus it’s the eco-friendly thing to do!
Make sure you have the space
Before you embark on your batch-cooking mission, make sure your fridge and freezer can handle it first. If things have gotten a little …crowded in your freezer drawers, use up some of those fish fingers and frozen peas beforehand. If there’s a tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream taking up precious space – it’s only common sense that you consume it straightaway.