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Become a Bulk Cooking Pro in 5 Steps

Do you get tired of having to prep and cook food every single day? Are you running low on time to prepare fresh home-made meals? Does stress cause you to turn to unhealthy foods for dinner? Skip the restaurant foods and meal delivery, which can look healthy, but are usually full of hidden ingredients. Become a bulk cooking pro! Bulk cooking can free up your time, and you'll still have a healthy meal every night of the week.

While bulk or batch cooking will take a little bit of time and preparation at least one or two days a week, it will save you hours in the long run. You'll get really efficient with some practice, especially after finding your go-to meals. Plus, if you have a stressful or busy day, you won't give in to ordering takeout or settling for something unhealthy - all your foods are prepped and ready to heat and enjoy! Keep in mind that most foods will be safe to eat if they're under refrigeration for 3-5 days, so if you'd like to stretch those meals out for a full week, you can bulk cook on a second day during the week or freeze a few and thaw them as needed.

 5 Steps to Get Started:

1. Dig out those plastic containers or buy new ones to get started. The size should be large enough to hold a portion of protein and two cups of vegetables (about a 3 cup or 820 mL size). Look for plastic containers with a snowflake symbol on them which means they are suitable for using in the freezer. Glass containers work best when you reheat in the microwave or oven. Large containers can be used to store batches of raw chopped vegetables for salads and snacks, or to cook fresh anytime you want them.

2. Take some time to go through your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator. Take note of what you'll need for the week. Write down your meal plan and your grocery list - what meats and vegetables would you like to eat each day? If you like variety, list several options. If you don't mind eating the same thing a few times a week, your list won't be overwhelming. Don't forget lettuce for salads, oil, vinegar, mustard, and other condiments and seasonings that you'll need.

3. Go shopping, or have the food delivered to save time. Stay away from the inside aisles of the store as much as possible to avoid impulse buys. Most of the items on your list will be found in the perimeter of the grocery store. Here are some examples of how much you will need to bulk cook 5 meals:

Protein: If you will be cooking 6-ounce portions of protein for 5 meals, you will need about 2 pounds (32 ounces). You can buy a variety that will add up to that amount. Any meat you don't cook for the week can be frozen and used next time.

Vegetables: Bags of frozen vegetables can help you portion by looking at the nutrition fact label. The label will tell you how many cups are in a bag. If you prefer fresh vegetables, you will want to use a food scale. One cup of vegetables weighs on average about 90 grams, but the weight can vary depending on the vegetable. To cook 5 dinners, you'll need 10 cups of vegetables, or around 2 pounds total. Weigh them on the grocery store scale. You'll still need vegetables for other meals, so make sure you buy enough for the week. For a vegetable weight and measurement guide, talk to your ITG Coach.

4. Time to prep and cook!

Proteins: Brush your proteins with olive oil (or use an olive oil spray to control fat) and sprinkle generously with sea salt, pepper, and any of your favorite herbs and seasonings. If you'll be cooking chicken, beef, and pork at one time, make sure to use separate sheet trays in the oven. You don't want to cross-contaminate or undercook anything. Use a food thermometer to make sure your proteins are cooked properly. Alternatively, use your air fryer to cook in batches (this method may take a little longer if the unit is small, but cook times can be shorter) or saute them in a pan if you prefer to cut your proteins into strips or bite-sized pieces.

Vegetables: Clean and chop, then toss them in olive oil and seasonings. Cook in the oven, air fryer, or on the stove. Roasting vegetables in the oven is a simple way to cook a lot at once. Place vegetables in a single layer and bake to your desired doneness. Refrigerate some raw vegetables in a separate container to use on salads or for quick snacking. If you use frozen vegetables, note how many cups you are placing on a baking sheet by using the nutrition fact label. After cooking, you'll be able to divide the sheet into 2 cup portions.

5. Place your cooked protein and 2 cups of vegetables in each plastic or glass container. Refrigerate 3-5 meals. If you make extra meals you can freeze them (the day before eating, move them to the fridge to thaw). Microwave for 2.5-3 minutes or until hot. Add salad on the side with your healthy dressing for a filling, home-cooked meal.


What a time saver! Once you get started with bulk cooking, you'll soon become an expert in the process. Save your weekly shopping lists and meal plans so that you can reuse them. Don't forget to add a little variety here and there so you don't get bored eating the same thing every week. Most importantly, enjoy delicious, healthy dishes that will keep you on track and save you lots of time throughout your week!


By ITG Coach Joseph Packo

ITG Diet Headquarters


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