Simple Batch Cooking Meal Plan

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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. Angela Avatar

    Hi Wellness Mama!

    Thanks SO much for sticking your neck out with fabulous education and advice about healthy eating. As a holistic nutrition student in Toronto, Canada, every thing you say is ringing true as I work my way through my diploma.

    I’ve done allergy testing with a naturopath friend and eliminated all allergens, removed all dairy and grains, significantly increased the veggies and fruit and returned to eating happily raised and meat, chicken and fish. I feel just great! The occasional consumption of sugar and/or alcohol knocks me on my bum so I really avoid these the majority of the time.

    Question for you – for the doubters out there like members of my family and many of my kinesiology (physical rehab) clients – could you please point me in the direction of research articles that would provide a firm reference for my discussions?

    Many thanks!

  2. rachel Avatar

    Everything is supposed to be bad for u.
    U can look up whatever food u want and someone out there will be saying its bad for u. Some say any animal products of any kind is bad for u.
    (Jesus ate fish)
    Soy is bad. Pears have formaldehyde.
    We should only eat

  3. Subbu Avatar

    Katie, have u got any vegetarian options in the meal plan.., we are vegetarians And I know to cook only vegetarian dishes, on rare occassions we have chicken outside home. Could you some veg recipies for me please..

  4. Kara B. Avatar

    So incredibly overwhelming. I’ve recently just switched to a no processed food diet which I thought was great. However , it seems that there is always something else. Sometimes it all just seems to be a bit much. No one can believe as it is that I have never given my son sugar or anything with artificial dyes so on and so on. While I have enjoyed some your recipes and your blog is interesting… Life without grains and nuts and seeds and beans and legumes and dairy and whatever else I may have missed seems incredibly impossible for me. Especially since my husband could eat a frozen pizza every night of the week and be perfectly happy. Ugh. Sorry, but its just soooo much.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      I get it… it’s a really big switch. I promise I didn’t make it overnight, and you don’t have to do it either. Of course you will have to decide for yourself, but if you want to stay with us over here in real food land, do yourself a favor and take baby steps. Maybe just do a gluten free frozen pizza for a little while and see how you feel 😉

  5. Yoseph Avatar

    Hi katie loving your posts but im confused about a few things, since I am trying to actively remineralise my teeth should I cut out nuts, sweet potatos, and all fruits? Would bananas for example be okay?

  6. Michelle Avatar

    I am curious about the nuts. I see you recommend in the meal plans to have nuts and that they are good for a snack, however, in an earlier post on oral health you said to cut out all nuts as they are detrimental to re-mineralizing ones teeth. I have been trying to make healthier habits in my eating habits as well as my oral health. Should i be avoiding nuts?

    Is it only certain types of nuts or only in certain quantities? Just wondering…

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      Well, it’s very dependent on what you are doing. If you are not trying to actively remineralize your teeth because your oral health is good, then nuts in moderation (like for snacks and such) are fine. But they can block the absorption of minerals specifically, so avoid them when trying to absorb more minerals. Does that make sense?

  7. Gilda Avatar

    A relative forwarded your article to me and I read it with interest. However, if I were to follow your recommendation, I don’t know what the heck I’d eat. Your recipes are full of all the things that my N.D. has, with testing, eliminated from my diet. Eggs (there goes your recommended breakfast), soy, dairy (uh-oh, there goes a lot of other things you’ve suggested in your meal plans) and most types of beans are already off limits for me.

    What is left if I also take all grains out too?

      1. Aanchal Avatar

        fruits…yes… veggies.. yes, to a large extent as most of them were grown only after agriculture came into picture… but meat? no no… our bodies were never designed for eating meat. We don’t have claws, pointed canines, short intestines, more HCL levels in the stomach, and much more (like carnivores) to eat and digest meats.

        I like your article but still skeptical, as someone rightly pointed out that we don’t know what is true anymore. so trying to work out things; already being a vegetarian helps.

        keep up the good work 🙂

  8. amanda Avatar

    This was wonderful!! I am pretty terrible when it comes to cooking and meal planning. My daughter is 8 months old and will be eating table food sooner than I think and I want her to start right and eat healthy. That being said, skipping dinner during the week and grabbing a carrot is no longer an option as there is another little being to feed:) The meal plan was great especially with the grocery list. I shopped, I prepped, and we ate all week! Including lunches! That never happens in my house! I am so inspired now and feeding us doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Thank you again !

  9. Jessica Avatar

    I don’t understand why you won’t eat grains like rice, yet you’ll eat cheese, butter, and red meats.

  10. crystal clark-schrock Avatar
    crystal clark-schrock

    I have read that sprouting grains and beans take out the gluten! We use Ezekiel bread only and are vegetarians? Is this ok- if not then what other options do I have?

  11. Elizabeth Avatar

    I just really don’t know what to think. Everyone seems to say or think the information they have is gospel, I just wish everyone were on the same page and stop confusing the rest of us. What I know for a fact is that I feel tired when I wake up and stiffness in my body and it isn’t because I need a new mattress although that would probably not hurt. Seriously Katie, help me. I have shortness of breath, can’t seem to get rid of this stomach, and over weight. I just feel doctors I have seem are absolutely useless. Now I hear no grains, rice, potatoes, etc. Can you please help a sister out.

  12. Kim Avatar

    Hi I was wondering if u can give me the recipe for the blueberry muffins that u talked about at the begining.. Thanks

  13. Carrie Avatar

    This all looks good for me, however my boyfriend has high cholesterol and cannot eat eggs, or red meat, or cheeses. What is an option for people like him?

  14. ang Avatar

    What about people who are vegetarians? I’ve been one since birth, and it’s also part of my religion, so I would rather not start eating animals if possible…

  15. Mohab Selim Avatar
    Mohab Selim

    Impressive overall, but don’t yellow eggs increase LDL cholesterol?

    1. Karl Avatar

      Grains is only a small part of the problem. Egg is not a food. Egg is like eating a Fetus. Just because traditionally certain things like eggs, meat etc.. have become acceptable forms of food does not mean they are right to eat

      1. Cori Avatar

        An egg is not a fetus unless it’s fertilized. Chickens produce eggs most of the year naturally similar to women having a period to shed their unfertilized egg once a month. You don’t need a rooster around to have a hen lay eggs and a hen does not miss her unfertilized egg when it’s eaten by a human because it’s not her baby. Saying one should not eat eggs because it’s unethical is like saying a woman shouldn’t have a period.

        1. Elena Borisoff Avatar
          Elena Borisoff

          Cool comment! I always wondered about this. I do feel better when I eat eggs.

  16. Sarah Nicole Avatar
    Sarah Nicole

    I’ve recently read a few articles pertaining to Greek yogurt.. Apparently the whey acid that is left over from the process of making it is extremely toxic to the environment & manufacturers are at a loss as to what to do with it. I was just wondering if you knew anything about it. Is organic safe, or is it all one & the same??

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