In my ideal world, I’d buy local and organic, and have tons of time to prepare delicious fresh meals for myself every day… or a personal chef. I (or my friendly chef) would consult with a dietician, and a personal trainer, in order to make the best choices for my health and the planet’s well-being. But at the moment…
I love cooking, but my priorities are elsewhere (ALBUMMMM) so I don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking and washing dishes right now. I’m also a musician, so, ahem, on a budget, plus have a really irregular schedule where I’ll be in my house for weeks at a time, but then gone for a few days. (So if I buy fresh food it usually goes off 🙁 ) Last May I did start listening to my conscience about climate change and animal welfare, so decided to go veggie as much as possible. But that has even further complexified the daily challenge of feeding myself.
So what’s a self-employed muso to do?
- I downloaded a database with the macronutrients of all foods local to me
- I designed 4 recipes that are veggie and contain my requisite 20g protein per meal
- I wrote a shopping list for these recipes, accounting for 8 portions each.
So now, every 10 days or so, I go to my local supermarket (Aldi) and buy the ingredients for all the recipes…
I spend a day batch-cooking, and cook 32-56 meals…
… and then I divide the food into individual portions and put these in the freezer. Every night I take out 2 or 3 portions to defrost, and BOOM. Next day I wake up, and restaurant Úna is open for business!
My motivation for this wacky idea was my long-term health, plus efficiency, but I’m now ADDICTED to batch-cooking. I love preparing lots of food at one time – it feels nourishing as well as hyper-efficient. I love having food available without even thinking about it. I love, but LOVE, not having to wash dishes twice a day. (I actually quite enjoy washing dishes, but not absolutely everyday!). I love the fact that I get the right amount of veggies and protein into me at every meal without having to do the mental work of macronutrient calculations. I love the lack of stress around food waste – I don’t have to worry about food going off in my fridge. The fact that I batch-cook has inspired me to start buying frozen vegetables (FYI: just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts) so I’m using a wider range of ingredients, ergo my palate is getting more variety these days than before. And guess what? An unexpected side-effect of my batch-cook-and-freezing is that it’s *shockingly* cheaper.
My latest food-shopping bill (completed while supposed to be writing a grant – oops), which provided 32 meals, came to €48.10.
Now, this bill changes a little each month (I buy fresh/frozen veg according to availability) but it’s generally around this number. €48.10 divided by the 32 meals it made, gives an average cost per meal of… bodhrán-roll, please…
€1.50 per meal. That means my total cost for eating 3 nutritionally-balanced meals a day for a week is €31.50. Pretty cool, huh??!
So if you’re interested in organizing your food in a cheaper, and/or faster way,
here are my recipes, and
here are my tips!!
Go n-éirí leat – may they bring you towards health, music, and yumminess!