Preparing food for any kind of special diet can be extremely time consuming – and, for those of us who avoid processed foods, there’s never the option of just ‘grabbing a takeaway’ or buying a ready-made meal. I think that the amount of effort (or perceived effort) that goes into preparing clean, healthy food every day can put people off this kind of diet, but it really needn’t – there are so many ways around it.
Admittedly, I can spend 3 to 4 hours in the kitchen on a Sunday, prepping for the week. But for the rest of the week, I can rustle up an entire dinner in 30 minutes or less, because all my veg is already cooked and I only have to worry about the meat.
Having been a slave to my kitchen for the past three months, here are some of my favourite tips for making food prep go a lot faster:
- Make batches of boiled eggs for a simple and filling breakfast or snack. Bonus: they’re super easy to transport. I boil six at a time to last me three mornings.
- Buy pre-chopped veg. Yes, it costs more (so I don’t often buy it), but it’s such a lifesaver when you’re short on time. Plus, I can’t lie – I love ‘spoiling’ myself with a bag of butternut chunks and saving myself the 10-minute slog of peeling, chopping and de-seeding. Same goes for green beans and that endless topping-and-tailing!
- When possible, cook different veg together. Instead of separate pots for broccoli, cauliflower, beans and carrots, toss them all into one large pot and cook them in one go (if you’re doing SCD, obviously you won’t be able to do this right at the start). Bonus: Fewer dishes!
- Choose thinner cuts of meat. Not only are they healthier, but they are much quicker to defrost and cook.
- Always make extra quantities of coconut milk and freeze the leftovers. When I need coconut milk for a meal, I often just pop the frozen chunk into the pot and it melts in minutes. Oh, and if you’re low on coconut milk, just add a bit of water to stretch it out.
- Cook as many vegetables as you can manage over the weekend. Refrigerate about three days’ worth, and then freeze the rest in batches for when you need them.
- Not in the mood to cook a big meal? Mash up two small bananas with two eggs and a sprinkling of cinnamon, and fry up some SCD pancakes in a pan coated with coconut oil. Mine always turn into a scramble but it’s just as delicious.
- Not in the mood to cook at all? Put together a plate of veg from the fridge, plus a couple of boiled eggs and some avo if you have it, and boom – a perfectly balanced meal of protein, carbs and healthy fat with zero prep. Win.
- Always cook big batches of food and freeze the leftovers. This works especially well with curries, mince, soups, etc. There’s nothing better than pulling out a pre-cooked, home-cooked meal when you don’t feel like cooking (but you do feel like a proper home-made meal).
- Use your microwave. Put your veg into a microwave-safe dish (not Tuppaware!), add a dash of water and microwave, covered, until cooked. Much easier and quicker than using the stove top – but watch out for the steam!
- Invest in good knives and vegetable peelers. This makes the world of difference when you’re preparing loads of veg. I recently bought a vegetable peeler that cost the same as a small house, but WOW has it made peeling butternuts a dream!
- When it comes to wine, choose screw caps over corks!
Please share any food prepping tips you have – I’m always looking for shortcuts.