I thought I’d start a new series of posts all packed with fun and practical things you can do at the weekend that can enhance your health and wellbeing! I just had to start with the Sunday Cook Up, something I try and do every single weekend. So what the heck is a Sunday cook up? Well it’s just about spending a bit of time on a Sunday to do some food prep so that meals for the coming week are made or at least semi prepared. I know a lot of us struggle with time to make a healthy meal during the week. Dedicating just 30 minutes to an hour on a Sunday can make your week day meals a lot less hassle and therefore healthier as the temptation to bung a ready meal in the microwave is removed.
I always start by meal planning so that I have a rough idea of what we’ll be having so I know what I need to prep. I start by looking in the kitchen to see what needs using up, then create some meal ideas from that. If I need to get anything else in, I’ll pop to the shops with a list. Then I write it all down, including a mini list of what needs to be prepared. You can find a handy free meal planning template in my freebies section, and make sure you check out my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook page on a Sunday evening as I always share it to hopefully give others some ideas.
What to cook
Sunday cook ups are great for making batches of anything that takes a little longer to make or cook. Some of my favourites include:
- Cooking up a pot of chilli
- Cooking up a curry
- Cooking up some soup
- Making bone broth
- Slow cooking a stew
- Slow cooking a cut of meat
- Roasting a tray of vegetables
- Baking some sweet potatoes
- Making up a crustless quiche
- Soaking and cooking a whole grain
- Soaking and cooking some beans
- Baking some crustless quiches
- Pre chopping veggies
- Making some nut milk
- Making some snack bars or balls
- Making up portions of trail mix in little bags for snacks
- Making some baked oats
- Bake a fruit crumble
- Make some fruit compote or stewed fruits
It’s always worth making up a big batch of whatever you make so that you get several servings out of it! Things like whole grains and beans can be added to a variety of different meals, for example quinoa porridge one morning for breakfast, quinoa salad for lunch the next day and quinoa stir fry the evening after. That way you don’t feel like you are eating the same meals over and over.
How to store it
Most things will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days so I tend to plan my meals out to use the Sunday cook up stuff, and then have a quicker easier option on a Thursday and sometimes a Friday. Other Fridays I like to take a bit of time in the kitchen creating a meal anyway. If you have lots of servings of something, pretty much anything will freeze. The only thing I haven’t tried freezing is the crustless quiches. Cooked whole grains and beans freeze really well to.
Making it work
As I said, even just setting aside 1 hour should be enough time to get a few things prepared. Sometimes it’s about planning to soak some beans or whole grains on a Saturday night (admittedly, not always that easy!) and just making sure you have a list to get what you need at the shops. If cooking more than one thing sounds like too much to start with, try just making one dish a week. I’d recommend the crustless quiches or a stew, chilli or soup to begin with.
Have you tried the Sunday cook up approach before? If not would you give this a try?
What timing! I’ve finally got into a nice habit of using Sunday’s for cooking – I hadn’t for ages but recently I found myself with the slow cooker on and got my bake on too! It was mainly to make sure I didn’t buy lunch when at the office, but I also find it really enjoyable, especially if I’ve just bought a load of goodies from the farmers market. Will be checking in on this series for sure!
I need to get a smaller slow cooker as the one I have is huge and a bit impractical! Baking is always good too!
Every Sunday I do a clean eating food prep and it helps me to stay on track during the week. At the very least I prep some snacks for 2-3 days, so I don’t grab unhealthy stuff instead. I think more and more people are doing this (my weekly clean eating prep is actually on of my most popular posts), which is great as I do think is makes such a difference.
It’s brilliant as I think it can make such a difference to how you eat for the rest of the week when you take away the excuse to just grab something on the go.
I quite enjoy cooking in an evening so don’t tend to do too much prep at the weekend.Unless it’s a slow cooker meal I’ll get everything together that morning. But I agree that it really does help when you know you’re going to be pushed for time. Then really anything you can do beforehand helps – even if it’s just chopping veggies.
Yep then I know I have a late meeting or something it’s even more useful I think :-)
Only having Sundays off I don’t tend to do much cooking other then dinner as I am enjoying having the day to myself or hanging with Dale…I do a big cook up for Dales lunches on a Monday but thats about it! Probably should do more planning though x
Pretty good if you are sorting out Dales lunches for him ;-) I think it can be a bit different when you work more flexibly, I know I am happy to make my lunches up there and then most days I’m at home.
I actually enjoy meal prep for the week on sundays! hehe. I think it’s so much fun to cook up all the goodies and then have an easy breezy week full of delicious, homemade food. Soup is definitely always on my to-make list too :)
That’s exactly it, it’s really good fun to do it and enjoyable! You’ve reminded me I need to make some cool summer soup soon :-)
I did a huge prep session every three days when I did the 21DSD, it definitely helped take the stress out of not knowing what I was going to eat! We tend to cook a big spag bog on Sunday but prefer packing lunch boxes the night before so they stay fresh
I think when you are doing a plan like that it’s a great idea to have prep sessions, really its a good habit to get into. I usually have the ingredients for a salad made up and then mix them together the night before!
I do like to have one day a week where I get organized, usually cooking a big batch of beans, a grain, some veggie burgers, some nut butter and snack bars, definitely helps save time through the week to do it all at once.
You’ve reminded me that I’ve been craving bean burgers for a while, need to make sure I make some for my next cook up!
We tend to go out on Sunday afternoon/ evening, but I do get my lunch ready when we get back. We try to cook bigger batches of things anyway, and freeze them, so we only have to make certain things every few weeks.
That’s always a good idea, I keep forgetting to label things in the freezer though! It does make it interesting a bit of a pick n mix!
I have gotten out of the habit of this – I used to chop all my veg at the start of the week – but it does make it so much easier so i want to get my sunday cook up groove on again:)
Hope you enjoy getting your groove back with it!