Now that I have a newborn, cooking is proving to be a bit more challenging, BUT definitely still doable.
It’s been a great learning experience for me, as it’s empowering me to come up with all sorts of ways to save time, be efficient, simplify things, and still create delicious, nourishing meals — which in turn I can share with my clients and you!
Here’s a few of my fave time and energy saving hacks in the kitchen:
+ Cook in Designated “Time Chunks”
This is pretty basic and goes back to meal prepping or batch cooking principles, but it’s nevertheless been useful. If I know the MLH (meat-lovin’ hubby) is going to be home to help watch the baby, or if it’s Eloise’s nap time, I’ll try and make one or two things ahead for the week that I can easily eat/use when things get busier.
+ Make Extra Large Portions // Maximize Leftovers
In line with batch cooking, if I make something, I’m going to make extra so it’s one less thing I have to cook later in the week (and more time saved overall). So if I have to roast veggies for a specific recipe I’ll add extra to toss in scrambles, salads, on toast etc. or I’ll double a sauce or soup recipe and immediately freeze half to eat later. I’ll also cook recipes I know make decent leftovers, like casseroles or oatmeal bakes.
+ Buy Convenience Items To Supplement
Newsflash — you don’t have to cook EVERYTHING by scratch or make a ton of elaborate meals. Now that I’ve been feeling up to cooking postpartum, I have only been making a few simple dishes per week, and supplementing with other ready-made, convenient items. This might look like an organic rotisserie chicken already cooked, ready-made clean sauces or condiments, quick-cooking oats (Purely Elizabeth has great take and go options), or bone broth.
+ Go With The Flow
This has been the biggest learning curve for me, as sometimes I think I’ll have two hours to get things done while Eloise naps, only to have her wake up 20 minutes later and be non-stop fussy the rest of the time. I’m learning life in general is not predictable, but especially now that I’m entirely responsible for another human being! So if I don’t end up getting everything done I was hoping to accomplish, I’ve been practicing grace for myself and learning to let it go. Yes, fueling yourself with nutrient dense food is incredibly important for your physical, mental and emotional well-being, but so is giving yourself a break and not sweating the small stuff. Do the best you can and know that it will look different every single day — and that’s totally ok!
So, hopefully you found some of these tips helpful and I (as well as other SFNSG insiders) would love to know from you any other time or energy saving hacks you use in the kitchen/while practicing healthy habits, so please leave your insights in the comments below.
And if you needed some inspiration on some delicious and nutritions make-ahead recipes, I got you covered below.
Easy and Healthy Make-Ahead Recipes To Save Time + Energy During The Week
Save yourself time and energy with this Make-Ahead Spiced Apple Pie Oat Bake. Pop it in the oven and have breakfast ready for the week. Don’t forget to drizzle it with this easy Maple Nut Cream for additional protein, fat and deliciousness.
Heat 2 tbsp of the coconut oil in a large stove top pan until melted, then spread apple slices in evenly and cook over medium high until softened and sizzling, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp cardamom, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 tsp cloves (reserving the other half of the spices for the oats). Stir to combine for 1-2 minutes, then add in 1 tbsp maple syrup and 1 tbsp lemon juice and let cook another 1-2 minutes, until caramelized and completely soft. Remove apples from heat and allow them to cool.
If using flaxseed gel as a binder (vs an egg) combine the flaxseed powder and warm water in a small bowl and stir. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes to thicken.
In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients.
In a small bowl combine all wet ingredients (including the flax gel OR egg beaten), mixing well, then stir in with the dry ingredients.
Pour half of the mixture into a 9” by 13″ inch baking pan and top with 1/2 of the apple slices.
Pour remaining oat mixture on top and layer with the other 1/2 of the apple slices.
Top with remaining 2 tbsp coconut oil (either spread out in small dollops or melted and poured on top) and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and liquid is absorbed.
While oats are baking, whisk together all ingredients for the Maple Nut Cream.
Let oat bake cool once done, then top with Maple Nut Cream. Will last in the fridge for a week.