Buy Once, Cook Once, Eat Many Times

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Since I’m still in the cutting phase, my eating has been tighter than usual and I haven’t had the extra calories to taste test multiple versions of recipes. I admit not all my recipes turn out great the first time, and I do tweak some of them before posting for you. I can’t have you eating substandard yummies! So I don’t have a new recipe for you this week.

I am still cooking up a storm though since I’ve got 35 meals and snacks to prepare for me and The Kid each week. I workout in the evenings and have all kinds of after work To Dos to get done before bed so time is really tight. There is some activity every night of the week here! I thought it might be helpful to share what I do to eat right and still get a meal on the table fast.

The Quest for Fast and Healthy Meals:

  1. Plan what you’ll eat – Write down your meals and snacks for the week. I created a spreadsheet which makes it easy since I can copy and paste favorite meals and move them around like a puzzle. If I’m eating out one night, I put down “Eating Out” for that meal so I know not to buy food for then.
  2. Total the numbers – Once your meals are planned, total up the amounts of each food item that you need. For example, 40 oz of greens, 24 oz of chicken, and so on. Again I’ve got this in my handy dandy spreadsheet.
  3. Find out what you have – Most of the time you aren’t buying everything on your list since you probably have some things in your freezer and spice cabinet leftover from before. Mark off what you already have from Step 2.
  4. Create a list of what you need – Now that you know what you have, create your list of what you need and hit the grocery store. Shop like a fiend and get it over fast!
  5. Batch cook – I cook my meats all at once if possible on Sunday night. I just throw the chicken in a glass dish and cook while I’m walking the dog or helping with homework. I also make burgers or steaks and partially cook them under the broiler.
  6. Portion and store for later – After cooking, I portion out lunch and snack amounts into plastic containers so I can just grab those all week. I put the meats I’m using for dinner into one big container together to save space in the fridge. I do store chicken and beef in separate containers though. Not sure they need to be separated but it makes me feel better. 😉

Meal Planning

Cooking in batches is a huge timesaver. If I already have my chicken in a lunch sized portion, all I need to do in the morning is add a veggie and throw it in my lunchbox. Boom! Lunch at work with hardly any effort. I also don’t end up falling prey to the cafeteria crap. Waste of money and calories there.

I only partially cook the steaks and burgers since I can finish cooking them quickly under the broiler for dinner at night. It doesn’t take long to finish cooking all the way. I do this because I found that they can get tough if you cook them completely ahead of time and microwave to reheat. Yuck!

If you’re wondering how we eat the same thing every night without getting bored, we don’t. Even though I cook a huge batch of chicken and beef, each night is a different flavor. I add BBQ sauce to the chicken and reheat under the broiler one night. I stir fry it with veggies and teriyaki sauce another night. I mix it up with red curry paste and a bit of coconut milk. Chicken with avocado and pico di gallo for a Mexican version.

I spend about an hour on Sunday cooking and batching. Since I’m just reheating during the week, it takes about 5 – 10 minutes max instead of 45 minutes every night. Some extreme “preppers” even make and freeze entire meals ahead of time. I haven’t gotten the hang of that organization yet.

Do you do a weekly food prep? What are some tips you can pass along? If you have more questions about what I do, feel free to ask.


  1. Thanks so much for the great tip. Love the steak and burger tip on not cooking them all the way thru and reheating under the broiler! Thanks again 🙂

    • Accidental Fitness Quest says

      I learned that tip the hard way and ate many tough, dry burgers and steaks before I figured it out. I actually look forward to Sundays now knowing that I get almost all my lunches and dinners cooked all at once. It’s a huge timesaver. Hope you find it useful!

  2. Hello,

    Thank you for such a wonderful post. I am a single mom of two children and I am seeking advice from other single mothers on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle when you have so little time. I really appreciate your advice and will be implementing this as well.

    • I’m a single mom too and completely understand how hard it is. I’ve had to figure out what works for me out of necessity. It just takes a little planning and practice, and then it goes smoothly most days. I spend an hour or so on Sunday getting everything mostly chopped and cooked for the week. Meals are so much easier that way. I sometimes even do things like grill 2 weeks worth of chicken at once and freeze half. The next Sunday I just take them out and thaw. It’s nice to meet you and I hope you find a lot of tips you can use here. Feel free to share any that you find with me too! I could always use help. 🙂

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