Simple Batch Cooking Meal Plan

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Health » Simple Batch Cooking Meal Plan

As a busy mom, I sometimes feel like I spend hours in the kitchen each day and that I finish cleaning up from one meal just in time to prepare the next.

I’ve learned that a little careful meal planning can greatly reduce the amount of time I spend figuring out what to cook and buy at the store. Plus, it’s saved a lot of time in the kitchen!

Here’s how I’ve started batch cooking on the weekends so I spend less time on dinner during the week. Here’s how you can do the same.

What Is Batch Cooking?

The idea of batch cooking is as simple as the name suggests: it’s just doing a week’s worth of meal prep in one go, so that serving individual meals does not take as long to prepare.

I prefer to do a big batch of meal prep on Saturdays, when the kids are happily playing in the back yard with friends and I have a few hours to spare.

In addition to saving time, I’ve found that batch cooking really increases the chances of sticking to a meal plan. You definitely won’t want to waste those healthy meals you spent time preparing!

Note: I did not include breakfast on this list, since we have a simple 4-day rotating breakfast meal plan that involves various proteins and vegetables and I make those each day.

Batch Cooking Meal Plan Menu

Batch cooking takes a little trial and error to get used to, but once you give a try, you’ll love the time you save and the simplicity. Here’s a sample meal plan to get you started!

Day 1

Lunch: Chicken salad over lettuce with carrot sticks
Dinner: Shrimp stir-fry

Day 2

Lunch: Leftover stir fry wrapped in romaine leaves
Dinner: Sliced chicken breast served with sliced peppers, onions, and baked butternut squash, reheated on a greased cookie sheet. Serve with a salad.

Day 3

Lunch: Reheat leftover chicken from last night, wrapped in romaine leaves and served with avocado and cilantro.
Dinner: Chili with sour cream and cheese (both optional) with a side salad

Day 4

Lunch: Leftover chili
Dinner: Eggplant pizza with a side salad

Day 5

Lunch: Leftover eggplant pizza or chicken salad
Dinner: Fajita salad

Day 6

Lunch: Fajita tacos (using leftover fajita meat) wrapped in romaine with avocado, salsa, cheese and sour cream
Dinner: Reheated meatballs and salad

Day 7

Lunch: Tuna salad on spinach or carrot sticks.
Dinner: Whatever is leftover!


When you’re in need of a quick snack, reach for one of these ready-to-eat nibblers:

  • Nuts
  • Deviled eggs
  • Sliced cucumber, celery sticks or carrot sticks with cream cheese or a healthy hummus
  • Tuna salad
  • Fruit

Batch Cooking Shopping List

This grocery store shopping list will give you a rough idea of what to buy for a week. Adjust as necessary. It is designed for two people, so just double (or triple or quadruple) depending on family size.


  • 2 avocados
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, kale, or other greens
  • 1 big bag spinach
  • 4 large sweet peppers, any color
  • 1-3 lb bag onions
  • Fruit, like berries or grapes
  • 2 zucchini or summer squash
  • 1 bag carrot sticks
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 butternut squash
  • Cilantro


  • 2-3 dozen eggs
  • 1 lb butter
  • 1 container (8 oz or bigger) of full-fat, plain organic yogurt (either Greek or regular)
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 1 block of your favorite cheese (this is optional on everything, so just get what you want)
  • Sour cream (optional)

(If you’re wondering where I draw the line on dairy, see this post.)


Canned Food:

  • 1 can (organic) diced tomatoes
  • 1 BIG (15 oz or bigger) can of tomato sauce
  • 1 can salmon or 2 cans tuna
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce (check ingredients, no added sugar or grains)
  • 1 jar salsa (check ingredients)



  • 1 lb frozen shrimp (or fresh, just pre-cooked)
  • 1 package bacon (optional)
  • 2 lbs ground beef or turkey
  • 5 chicken breasts or boneless thighs (any grass fed meat I can’t get from our local butcher I purchase online from trusted sources

Frozen Aisle:

  • 2 (1 lb) bags frozen broccoli

Batch Cooking: Prep Day Instructions

It will simplify your life tremendously (and make it easier to stick to a healthy eating lifestyle) if you can pre-cook your family meals in one or two big batches. I try to prep everything on Saturday so it is ready for the week, but you can do simple ingredient prep first and save meal assembly for later.

Single-Step Prep:

  1. Cover the chicken breasts in butter and spices and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cube two of them and slice three.
  2. Hard boil 6-8 eggs (per egg eater in family).
  3. Pre-cut zucchini, squash, onions, peppers, cucumbers, and other veggies. Store in separate containers or bags.
  4. Cut the butternut squash in half and discard the seeds. Cover in 1-2 tablespoons of butter and spices. Bake open side up on a cookie sheet at 325 degrees until soft (usually about 45 minutes). Store in foil for re-heating.
  5. Peel the eggplant and cut into ½ inch slices. Cook on a greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees until well browned on both sides.
  6. Make the salmon or tuna salad by mixing well-drained fish with ½ package of cream cheese and spices like dill. Store closed in fridge.

Meal Assembly:

  1. Shrimp Stir Fry. Heat butter in a skillet and add 1 pre-cut onion and 1 pre-cut pepper, cook 2 mins. Add pre-cut zucchini or squash and cook 2 mins. Add 1 lb frozen broccoli, cook 2 mins. Add frozen shrimp and cook until veggies are tender and shrimp is heated. Add desired spices (garlic, basil, salt, pepper, etc). Right before eating, add ½ package of cream cheese and stir until melted (optional). Here is the full recipe.
  2. Chicken Salad. Use part of the cubed roasted chicken and combine following this recipe. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  3. Chili. Combine 1 pound of the ground meat with 1 can diced tomatoes, ½ can tomato sauce, 1 chopped onion, cumin, and other spices to taste. Find the recipe here.
  4. Eggplant Pizza. Top the cooked eggplant slices with a small amount of tomato sauce, spices, cheese, chopped onions, peppers, or whatever other toppings you like. Store in foil to re-heat. This is also fast to make fresh if you don’t want to make it ahead! So simple I don’t have a recipe for it!
  5. Meatballs. Roll up the meatballs using 1 pound ground meat, Parmesan, garlic, basil, or whatever you prefer. You can also try these Greek meatballs. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350, then coat in pasta sauce. Store covered in the fridge.
  6. Fajita Salad. This one you can prep right before you eat! Heat your remaining sliced chicken breast with remaining sliced onions and peppers in a greased skillet. Season with cumin and serve over greens with avocado, salsa, cheese, and sour cream (optional). Save the recipe to use again and again here.
  7. Deviled Eggs. Carefully slice the hard boil eggs lengthwise and remove the yolks. Mash the yolks with ½ an avocado and season with mustard, dill, or other spices to taste. Scoop the filling back into the eggs and top with bacon crumbles (optional). You can also follow this easy deviled eggs recipe.

Note: The above meal plan is great for any time of year, but I recommend sticking to whatever is in season whenever possible. I talk about my seasonal meal plans in this podcast.

How to Customize Your Batch Cooking Meal Plan

The sample meal plan menu above has worked great for me, but you might not be a fan of all of those options. In that case, you can always customize to create a meal plan you’re excited about! The more you enjoy the meals you’re making, the more likely you are to stick to the plan.

Here are a few other ideas for batch cooking for those busy weeknights:

  • Make use of your slow cooker or pressure cooker. You can set these up the night before, or have dinner ready super quick in the pressure cooker. Try adding this chuck roast or meatloaf to the rotation! You can also check out these freezer-friendly slow cooker recipes. (If you haven’t tried an Instant Pot yet, you should!… I give my full review here.
  • Grab a bunch of sweet potatoes. Roast them ahead of time, and then you can slice them for breakfast, stuff them with avocado, of even whip up this sweet potato casserole.
  • Grab a head of cauliflower. This is another great versatile veggie perfect for meal prepping. Pulse it into cauliflower rice, or roast it in spices ahead of time.
  • Get basil and make pesto. It only lasts a few days in the fridge, but it makes a great accompaniment to whatever you’re cooking up. This is my basil pesto recipe and I also make pesto with cilantro. Bonus, as a pesto these herbs lasts for up to two weeks without going bad, unlike fresh herbs on their own which only stay fresh a few days in the produce drawer.
  • Make (and freeze) a big batch of pasta sauce. It’s great for veggie pizzas. You can also use up some ground meat by making it into a bolognese! Get my homemade pasta sauce recipe here.
  • Got a hodgepodge of food leftover? Make burrito bowls with cauliflower rice, meat, avocado, cilantro, or whatever you have on hand.
  • Make grain-free paleo muffins! They’re great to have on hand for breakfast, as a snack, dessert, or even as a side dish. I make these grain-free apple cinnamon muffins regularly as well.

Cookbooks That Help

A good cookbook is worth its weight in gold. I use a combination of the following for batch cooking:

  • The Wellness Mama Cookbook: These are my best 30 minute, 1 pan meals!
  • Cook Once, Eat All Week: I love these recipes. It gives adaptations for grain free, gluten free, or dairy free diets and has shopping lists and step by step prep lists that my husband or kids can follow. (Have kids take the Kids Cook Real Food e-course first for knife skills, etc.) Tip: I usually double the veggies called for when I use this cookbook.
  • Real Plans: This app takes the place of my cookbooks most weeks, since it contains all of my recipes and other healthy recipes from some of the bloggers and chefs I love most.

I’ve found batch cooking to save me hours of time each week. If you’re as busy as I am (or even if you’re not but still want to save time!), I definitely recommend giving meal planning and bulk cooking a try! It can help save those busy nights where you still want to eat as a family together!

Also try my batch cooking meal plan for vacation!

Have you ever tried batch cooking? Do you know any time-saving cooking tips? Share below!


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Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


137 responses to “Simple Batch Cooking Meal Plan”

  1. Alicia Avatar

    Hi Katie! I am days away from having my 3rd little one & trying to come up with some ideas to make all the meal prep flow better! Thank you for taking the time to post this article — really ALL of what you post!!! You are my “go to” from remedies, inductions, food – all of it! Thank you for the well thought out research, planning and creativity. I am appalled by most of the comments under this post & just thought I would “de-lurk” 🙂 and tell you how much I really appreciate what you do and how kindly you respond!!! Thanks again!

  2. adisra Avatar

    Hi Wellness Mama:)

    I’m so ready to adopt the meal plans but I’m wondering how my 14 month old will do with the foods, the stir fries etc. Any advice for a FTM of a toddler?:) I’m always wondering if she will eat a new meal, and if not, what will she eat? The picky eaters post seems like it would work well with an older child.

    Thank you so much in advance.

  3. priya Avatar

    hi, your article seems interesting and worth believing but it could practically be impossible to follow this for the people of different country with varied culture and food habits. I am an Indian and in India flat bread(commonly called as Roti) or rice is the staple food, and so any recipe(veg/non-veg) for lunch/dinner definitely includes either of the two grains- wheat and rice. I am a vegetarian working woman and the recipes u mentioned in your meal plan doesn’t really suit us because we are from a different country with different tastes, tradition, culture and eating habits. so, it would be really helpful if u could post or mail me some healthy meal plans(preferably veg) practically possible to follow in Indian diet would be great. TIA 🙂

  4. Elena Borisoff Avatar
    Elena Borisoff

    I really liked your article on grains on how they create inflammation in the body. I have heard this idea before and would like to try 30 or 90 days grain free and see how I feel. I’m slightly confused though because I noticed a lot of your recipes include dairy and I have also heard that daily is very inflammatory and acidic to the body. I’m wondering where you drew the line here between saying no to eating grains but saying yes to dairy?

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      I do use raw dairy in moderation, but in most recipes it is optional. Dairy is certainly a question food. Some people seem to do ok with it and others don’t. I feel ok consuming it because I’ve had food intolerance tests and dairy was ok for me (and my hubby and kids) but many people do avoid it.

      1. sara Avatar

        What is involved in food intollerance testing for a whole family? What practitioner does that and how? Thanks!
        Also, is it ok to cook raw dairy? I see that many of your recipes involve heating the dairy. We get raw dairy and i make alot of my own products but wouldnt cooking with them (like in eggplant parmesan) render that dairy not “raw”. Just wondering. Thanks!

  5. sivana Avatar

    thanks you so much, love this information, I am slightly embarrassed I have had bad gas and bloating this week, I eat healthy, I eat a lot of garlic with kale, would this be the culprit. also love bread, what type of bread can I eat,? is Ezekiel okay? sincerely silvana

  6. bryan Avatar

    I also have high cholesterol along with ‘recently being diagnosed as pre diabetic.. I was told to limit my meat intake and saturated fat.. I understand what your relating and di agree with you.. 2 years before my diagnosis I was a bodybuilder loooking healthy and eating as well. So me this was a shocking revelation. Not the high cholesterol so much but, me being diabetic.. how would you respond to me wanting to cut the grains and go meats, veggies and fats..

  7. Helen Sharkey Avatar
    Helen Sharkey

    Greetings from Ireland,
    Re. Dairy products consumption: I can’t take any form of dairy so can you please recommend some alternatives for all the dairy products you recommend using in your recipes.
    Many thanks
    Helen Sharkey

  8. Vicki Avatar

    I want to begin to go grain-free but have one question. I have consuming flax meal for many years and believe the lignans and omega 3s are good for one’s system. I know it is a grain. How can I continue to consume this? Would flaxseed oil have the same benefits without the downside of grain? Also is fruit bad. I didn’t see any in your recipes?

  9. Susan Avatar

    I’m interested in a better way of life for myself.
    Information about where to buy the whole grains to make my own flours, etc.
    To do the baking my mamaw did when I was a little child.
    To find the products necessary to make my own food without the preservatives that are killing me.

  10. Kristine McClain Avatar
    Kristine McClain

    Dear Wellness Mama, Your articles have changed my life. I was diagnosed with RA over a year ago. I have used your articles on health. I cook with coconut oil, drink almond milk. Put lemon juice in my water,and many more things. I move around so much better now because of it. You are all about what is good for you. I need to say that any milk product is bad for you. Cows milk is a major inflammatory, I can tell when something has had milk put in it,my joints hurt terribly. Some of your grain free recipes you tell people to add cream cheese for flavor and creamyness. Eating any kind of milk based product is just as bad as eating any of the grains you have suggested… So please warn people of the health risks of milk also. Thank you.

  11. Marie Avatar

    Wellnessmama, is everything you use full fat? (Like the cream cheese and the sour cream) And does it all have to be organic?

  12. Sherry Smith Avatar
    Sherry Smith

    Hi Katie,

    Love this site!
    My biggest problem is that I have to eat a low-salt diet, and my doctor suggested pastas, as they have no sodium.
    Would a whole-wheat pasta be all right to eat? Unfortunately, pasta is one of the few no-sodium foods out there. I’m also considering buying the “Veggetti” and making spaghetti out of zucchini. That looks like it could be promising.

    Thank you!

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