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!

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. Paul H. Avatar

    I know this is an old post, but maybe you’ll still see my comment.
    I love the meal plan, but my biggest concern is the number of calories. I’m a 25-yo who strength trains and exercises regularly, so I need a good amount of calories to keep myself fueled. Any suggestions on how to increase caloric intake while still following healthy dietary guidelines? Should I just increase the amount of food in these recipes?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      Yep… just eat more or add more healthy fats as they are more calorie dense

  2. Mina Avatar

    I think this meal plan is really healthy and delicious at the same time. A happy and fun way to live healthier.

  3. Pracchi Avatar

    Hi read your article how grains are causing damage to our body. I’m a vegetarian, i simply can’t stand the smell of meat, chicken or fish also allergic to egg. What suggestion you have for me. It would be a great help

  4. Jaci Mercadante Avatar
    Jaci Mercadante

    I am trying to resort to new eating habits! I am pretty sure it is, but just wanted to make sure that this is all gluten free?

  5. sondra persaud Avatar
    sondra persaud

    I agree about the grains to some extent..but when I looked at your sample menu..don’t like it at all, meat and dairy, canned products..and plus you also have the nuts you say are not good for you. grains are bad if eaten in abundance..eating a bit of it daily won’t cause any harm…along with wide variety of fresh veggies & fruits. I visited a remote village in india where rice and lentils and whole wheat bread are a staple..and I notice bright eyes, and good teeth, really white compared to mine..and they never visited a dentist or have toothpaste to use..they use salt and bark of the neem tree. I noticed a few cavities..I was blown away and ashamed..My teeth was in bad shape…and these people can only afford to eat a little at a time…not over weight and have an abundance of energy comparing to others.

  6. Maxine Avatar

    Thank you for this!! I have Grave’s disease and have made a decision to cut out grains to see if that will help. I LOVE my bread so I will miss it terribly! Thank you for posting an alternative menu which will make the transition much easier for me.

  7. Jue Avatar

    I thought your piece was wonderful. I may not agree with everything 100%,, but I know the facts and media out their are mixing some of the facts up for us. I’m definitely going to take some of you considerations to heart. Thanks.

  8. Christopher Dunning Avatar
    Christopher Dunning

    This is an interesting article, but can you explain a bit more about what you mean by this: “human brain function and physical ability peaked just prior to the agricultural revolution”?

    I can understand the peaking of physical ability (partly because more physical activity was necessary for survival pre-ag revolution), but what does it mean that human brain function peaked prior to ag. revolution? How do we know this?

    And doesn’t it seem that our current (last 100 years), apparent acceleration in scientific discovery and development is indicative of high brain function?

    1. Marc Montti Avatar
      Marc Montti

      perspective broadening-

      modern school system fallacies-

      1. classes structure – a strict time scheduled v.s. a scheduled structured around the students needs and desires to explore on by the pull of curiosity…)

      2. prevalence of right handedness (stimulating dominant left hemisphere growth)…

      3. left hemisphere dominant culture. what does this mean for creativity and emotional well being

      (IQ)Intellectual V.S (EQ) Emotional –

      1. -how is EQ important for living a full-filling life from a psychological viewpoint? what does it mean to live a fulfilling life?
      2. -does western lifestyle have an impact on EQ? {work, social group expectations, environmental stress-ors, societal expectation(conformity)}

      without a strong balance within the personal self the majority of society will tend to mold easily to external forces…. observe a (foundational strong) home schooled person falling into an encounter with a bully type (dominant) person V.S> the person that was public schooled….Google some study results please?

      we appear smarter than ever, however psychologically how healthy is our country as a whole? “the pharmaceutical/psychological health industry says it all…(big pharma is a bit of a monster in seeking new patients. Nevertheless, the “DSM” (containing psychological Definitions) raises questions that hold strong ties into the wellbeing of the whole society…overall moral (on a sub-conscious level) is Terrible, to say the least!

  9. Janis Tipping Avatar
    Janis Tipping

    Also noticed we are using butter not oil to cook with, this is ridiculous please people do your research and take what is said with a grain of salt it is very misleading!!!

      1. Janis Tipping Avatar
        Janis Tipping

        To cook with oil is way healthier, whats with all the dairy it has been proven over and over that is isn’t the healthiest choice, the only one that is OK to maybe use occasionally is goat milk butter, but for cooking grape seed oil and for non-heated dishes cold pressed olive oil is a much better choice.

        1. Wellness Mama Avatar
          Wellness Mama

          I”d really love to see any science backing that up. Oils oxidize more easily and aren’t as stable for cooking. Saturated fats (from good sources) are absolutely essential, as the majority of the fats in our bodies are composed of these types of fats…

        2. Fisha Avatar

          You sound as if health is very important to you. That is commendable. I challenge you to read studies by Dr. Westin Price. Or Google the Westin Price Foundation. The CEO, or head of the foundation has a book out, I can’t remember the name, but it talks in length about raw dairy, meats and grains. Wellness mama is correct about the grains. The evidence supporting a raw diet is very compelling in this book. The first 1/4 or so of the book is literature. The last 3/4 are recipes. That follow the literature, they speak about soaking and fermenting your grains, nuts and legumes. There is evidence that animal fat is essential for brain function. This book is also at Marlean’s Deli. As for oils mama is correct. They have low burning points and can become rancid quickly. Have you ever opened up a box of grains, like chips,crackers or cookies and noticed even though the expiration date is in the future, your item has gone rancid? A lot of peoples sense of smell and taste have been hindered by many pollutants and they can not detect when a product has gone rancid. The book a Prescription for natural healing, by Phylis A Balch, is like the Naturopathy Bible. This is a great reference guide to almost any food, or vitamin, and includes disease. Eating rancid food is carcinogenic. You are correct that first press/cold pressed olive oils are good for you. They just cannot hold up to heat. Oils that are heated up actually undergo a genetic mutation. The Greek and or Mediterranean diets use uncooked oils. I advise expanding you health search as it sounds like you really care.

  10. Janis Tipping Avatar
    Janis Tipping

    How is eating eggs and dairy everyday better? They are both very bad for you (grains and dairy) and neither should be eaten in excess everyday, makes me question the validity of this article…

    1. Elisa Avatar

      I’m not sure where you got the information that eggs are bad for you. That is a very very old assumption, from the 80s, when all fat was demonized. Organic free-range eggs are great for your health, they contain lecithin, good quality protein and vitamins.

  11. Deborah Showalter Avatar
    Deborah Showalter

    Thanks for sharing all of this information! I am just at the beginning of figuring out how to change my diet for the purpose of tooth remineralization. It’s challenging as I also have 4 young kids, holidays are coming up, etc. I’ve been reading Ramiel Nagel’s book about Curing Tooth Decay. He recommends several meals a week (or even daily?) of organ meat…liver, etc. I haven’t looked through all of your meal plans, but so far I haven’t seen you including this. Do you think it is necessary?

    1. Shelly Avatar

      Have you tried a good calcium supplement? I was worried about that as well but couldn’t bring myself to eating organ meats. I took calcium supplement and everything was good when I went to the dentist.

  12. kara Avatar

    I see you use dairy, what do you say to the people that have done extensive research on dairy and say that casein is slowly killing us, too? forksoverknives

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      From my research, there is a tremendous difference between most conventional dairy and the occasional raw milk, cheese or cream.

      1. Janis Tipping Avatar
        Janis Tipping

        Occasional? You have people eating dairy every meal by the looks of it,and nothing is mentioned about raw let alone “occasional” and no form of dairy is healthy in any respects do your homework!

        1. Della Nicholls Avatar
          Della Nicholls

          whoa, what a bitchy comment. These are obviously ideas not a complete diet and you have to use commonsense. I think Mama has put together a pretty good balance and not so restrictive that I won’t have any choices.

        2. Venus L Avatar

          Actually, it’s been shown that different genetic groups respond differently to dairy, and some groups (ie, Northern Europe) do thrive on it. Especially fermented dairy such as kefir can be an incredibly healing and nutritive food. Kefir actually healed my allergies. Every body responds differently, so take your own advice and do your homework! ( That said, everyone responds differently to the paleo diet too. I, for one, don’t thrive on a meat-heavy plan, and my body LOVES legumes like lentils and beans despite all the paleo propaganda… Body is wisest!! no book, article, or blog)

  13. Tina Avatar

    Pre-cooking and reheating sounds practical but what about the nutrients? Especially cutting and preparing vegetables in advance and having them in the fridge for days must influence their nutritional benefit – shouldn’t food be prepared as fresh as possible? Do you mean “freezing” the prepared chili, chicken etc..?

  14. Lea Avatar

    Hmm interesting.. You make a strong point against eating the grains, and then you promote chicken salads, shrimp and other meats. Chicken IS fed on grains, shrimp eats all kinds of plankton, parasites, and red meat is not even worth discussing (there is enough information on the essence of their diet all over the internet) and the quality of processed meat found in the markets is below all standards of healthy living.
    As much as I understand (and approve) the idea of removing grains from daily healthy diet, I find your message is incomplete.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I also promote 100% grassfed beef, pastured poultry, and wild caught seafood. I agree that most supermarket meats are terrible, and I speak about protein sources in other article, but don’t go into the specifics in every recipe or meal plan that I write…

      1. Tiffany Avatar

        I have a quick question/something that I haven’t really seen on your blog (but I am new). I totally support you on doing what is healthy for your family, and I appreciate all the work you have done to be knowledgeable, but have you thought much about your lifestyle and the environment? While MOST of your ideas/practices/norms are eco-friendly, such as removing paper products, using organic produce, and making your own cleaning and hygiene products, some of your suggestions aren’t so friendly. While compared to the typical American, I would take hundred’s more like you, you advocate things like wild caught seafood. Having taken many classes in animal biology, ecology, marine biology, bioethics, I know a few things about the environment and how awful we are to it. While I’m a total omnivore and love my meat, wild caught fish is a serious concern to our marine ecosystem. There are SERIOUS problems of over-fishing, and one of the ways we have tried to combat such a terrible problem (not only to fish but also to the entire marine ecosystem that we rely heavily on) is farming of fish in freshwater lakes. I just wanted to know more of an environmentalist side of what you do to make sure your methods aren’t only friendly to your body, but also friendly to God’s creation? Thanks for your time, and I really do support most of what you advocate!

  15. Gabriele Hawthorne Avatar
    Gabriele Hawthorne

    We had this stir fry for dinner and is awesome my husband and the nineteen year old loved it the twins are still getting used to it.

  16. Raechelle Avatar

    I’m just wondering…and maybe you’ve mentioned this but I missed it; is quinoa a no-no if one is avoiding grains?
    Also, would sweet potato be a no no if doing this eating plan?
    Thank you!

  17. Kat Lipski Avatar
    Kat Lipski

    What would you suggest a vegan do, instead of always substituting a soy product?  

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I don’t like “can’t” when it comes to food, but there are definitely better choices 🙂 That being said, rice or potatoes would be preferable to gluten containing grains…

      1. Dan Mason Avatar
        Dan Mason

        Thanks for the replies mama. I’ve looked into this Leangains Protocol thing and the top google pages come to Martin  Berkhan’s blog. There’s tons of stuff to get thru but so far when finding pages on his actual meals, he eats a TON of total crap. Grains (potatoes), cakes, seems mad on cakes and much more. I definitely subscribe to the whole IF thing, sounds fine. But some of the  bad foods he eats…am I missing something here?

        1. Wellness Mama Avatar
          Wellness Mama

          When I’m training, I stick with the general carb and protein ratios but get the carbs from sweet potatoes, fruit, almond flour baked good, etc. He doesn’t focus on the health aspects of what he is eating but just the general macronutrient content and I think it can be even more effective if you actually eat healthy foods with the same ratios.

          1. Dan Mason Avatar
            Dan Mason

             I’ve decided I’m going to go paleo, just purchased Nikki Young’s Paleo Cookbook and will try my best to stick to it, but realistically I will prob still eat the odd peanut, drink alcohol (once a week), and cheat with bad stuff maybe once or twice a week. That alone should see a massive difference in me for sure. I mean sugar is like heroin for me, u can’t just STOP! lol

      2. Mary Avatar

        Sweet potatoes, although they have more (natural) sugar in them, are way better for people than white potatoes, due to their high fiber content.

        Brown rice or whole-wheat pasta are also better for people due to a much higher fiber content.

        Having said all of the above, I wouldn’t cut such carbohydrates out of one’s diet.

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