Some of the arguments for not enjoying a healthy diet are that it’s less convenient, more expensive and takes up too much time. The answer to these excuses? Buying in bulk, batch cooking and freezing or storing for later!
Simply double the quantities of any recipes your family loves and before you know it, you have a freezer full of healthy, homemade ‘convenience’ food that cost very little to make – so no more excuses for expensive fast food or takeaway pizzas.
Mandy Sacher, Paediatric Nutritionist, mother-of-two and Wholesome Child author, shares three simple and delicious recipes that are packed full of nutrients and are perfect for making now and eating later.
Bulk cooking basics
Many recipes (including the recipes in the Wholesome Child Nutrition Guide and Cookbook) are suitable for freezing, so double – or even triple – the ingredient quantities and freeze the extra portions.
The best way to bulk cook is to choose two recipes on a weekly basis to double batch, for example tuna lasagne and spaghetti bolognaise. If you do this every week for a couple of weeks, the freezer will begin to fill with wholesome emergency back-up plans for when cooking is not an option.
Try to use similar ingredients in each cook-up session, for instance asparagus tart, veggie muffins and spinach and cheese slice for one; salmon rissoles, fish nuggets and fish curry for another and then black bean brownies, choc chia bliss balls, almond ganache cake and healthy chocolate spread.
Beef and veggie meatballs is the most popular recipe on my website and it’s easy to see why, since it’s such a versatile dish. These meatballs are what I like to call a multitasking meal – they can be served with mashed sweet potato or rice for dinner, sent to school the next day in a thermos or placed in a bento style lunch box with veggies and some homemade tomato sauce. Meatballs are a fantastic way to get children to eat vegetables they might normally refuse and these ones contain carrot, zucchini, onion and an apple for added sweetness. This recipe makes 35 meatballs – double the quantities and you will have 70 meatballs to freeze for future meals!
Homemade pizza bases
Many parents rely on store-bought pizza bases as a quick and reliable dinner that they know their children will enjoy. However, these are often loaded with sodium, hidden sugar and preservatives. For a healthy, gluten-free and cheap alternative that will get some veggies into even the fussiest of eaters, try doubling or even tripling the ingredients for this delicious Cheesy Cauliflower Pizza Base and then freeze once baked so you have an easy dinner ready to go whenever you need it. Make your life even easier by keeping a bag of grated mozzarella in the freezer as well – that way you always have it on standby.
A really great one to make in bulk that doesn’t involve any cooking and keeps for ages is homemade trail mix. I recommend using a selection of unsalted nuts and seeds (like flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and chia seeds) including a handful of raisins or goji berries, puffed quinoa, shredded coconut and even some lightly salted popcorn. My kids love helping me in the kitchen to create their own combinations, but here are four different recipes to inspire you. Store in an airtight container or mason jar for up to three weeks or in the fridge for up to two months.
To learn more about Mandy Sacher please visit the Wholesome Child website. Her book “Wholesome Child: A Complete Nutrition Guide and Cookbook” is available to purchase online and through iTunes, and you can connect with Mandy on Instagram and Facebook.