There is no denying that making the switch to the full autoimmune protocol elimination diet is a big adjustment. No matter what, there will probably be more cooking, planning, and thinking about food than you’re used to. That being said, I often hear people voicing concerns, complaints or even excuses for “falling off of the wagon” that could all be fixed with one relatively small lifestyle adjustment…. Batch cooking.
Batch cooking is the practice of cooking large amounts of food ahead of time and storing them for later use. Most people do this at the beginning of the week or the beginning of the month. Personally, I batch cook my breakfasts and lunches and any pantry staples like bone broth or kombucha at the start of every week, pretty much without exception. I don’t know how else I would be able to have been able to succeed on this diet without adopting that practice early.
Here are five of the top complaints I hear surrounding the adjustment to the elimination phase of AIP and how batch cooking can help:
Eating This Way is Too Expensive
If you have only been eating processed foods then, yes, you may have to spend a little more, but if I can do it on a grad student budget you can do it to. Just find the highest quality food that YOU can afford and work from there. Batch cooking will help you save money because it forces you to plan ahead and have food available so that you are not running out to the store for expensive convenience foods or extra ingredients that you don’t need. Buy all of your food at one time and don’t go back to the store. Cooking your own food WILL save you money in the long run I promise.
I Don’t Have Time to Do All of This Cooking:
Cooking a lot of food at once may sound time consuming but it actually takes me just about the same amount of time to make a week’s worth of breakfast hash as it would to make one day’s worth. What takes a lot of time is having t make every single thing you eat from start to finish over and over and over again. Maximize the time you are in the kitchen by making more at once.
I’m Spending Too Much Time in the Kitchen:
If you are making breakfast from scratch every morning, making lunch every day before you go to work, preparing snacks and coming home to make dinner, you’re right you are spending too much time in the kitchen. However, if you spend an hour to an hour and half on a weekend making your breakfasts, lunches, snacks and staples ahead of time you won’t have to touch the stove until dinner during the week and you’ll be free to get back to the rest of your life.
I’m Too Hungry at Meal Times to Cook From Scratch:
Well then you are not planning ahead like you should be. I am the poster girl for the term Hangry, also known as the anger that results from getting too hungry. If I don’t plan ahead I will end up just eating whatever is closest to me. By batch cooking at a non meal time I am able to ensure that I have food readily available during the day when I get hungry. Batch cooking also forces me to plan my dinners head of time so I am never faced with looking at an empty fridge with no plan at 6pm on a week night.
I Am An Emotional Eater:
This is a struggle for many people, but part of the unhealthy nature of emotional eating is that people tend to over eat on foods high I sugar or fat that are convenient and within reach. Ensuring that you have healthy, AIP friendly foods within reach, that are easy to eat will not solve your emotional eating tendencies but give you a much healthier option. So be sure to plan ahead and always make sure you have an AIP friendly snack or meal on hand.
Eating this Way is Not Convenient:
Well, to this I say you’re right. When compared to the ability to get a full meal handed to you without every having to get out of your car, I suppose it is not convenient. However, spending your life with your body attacking itself in painful and damaging ways is also not convenient. Batch cooking does, however, make the AIP lifestyle more convenient my efficiently using your time and allowing you the convenience of ready to eat food at the times when you need it most, during the week, at work, or while you are running around all day long. The minute my feet hit the floor in the morning I have an AIP friendly breakfast waiting to be heated up and eaten… doesn’t get much more convenient than that!
Great info. I seem to eat all of my food up if it’s already made ahead. I am struggling with finding a balance with cooking ahead of time and not eating all of my week’s meals by Wednesday. I also was curious as to your top three or five tools that help speed up cooking for you. I’d love to know how I can add some to my cooking–either an item, a way of organizing recipes, a habit, a placement of things in cabinets, etc. Thank you for the post!
My number one way to maximize my time while batch cooking is actually to use my slow cooker. I make big batches of things and then can just leave it alone to cook instead of having to hover over the stove. After that a lot of it just comes down to habit and planning. I am pretty regimented in what I eat and when and I have been on AIP for so long that I have a pretty good idea of what I need to eat throughout the day to stay full. It took me a few weeks to get to that point though, at first I was really hungry a lot of the time so it took a while to figure out how much food I needed to make.
Thank you for your help! I really appreciate it! I am getting better at meal planning. I’ve been doing strict AIP for about five months now, and I am finally starting to plan things out each week. I’ve seen Instant Pots, which seem to really be convenient. I have gotten to the point that I enjoy almost every kind of ingredient–foods that I never would have liked a year ago. Rutabagas and collards, for instance. And to have it already made up and waiting for me–that makes a meal twice as delicious, I think. 🙂 Thanks.
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