Nail Your Meal Prep With IKEA
The concept of batch cooking isn't very sexy but it is very cost-efficient and very sustainable. Planning your meals out carefully (and only buying the exact amount of ingredients that you need when you do go to the shop) can significantly reduce your food waste.
Getting into a meal routine is a great way to save yourself some dosh as well as ensure that you’re feeding yourself (and your family) with genuinely delicious and nutritious meals wherever you are, at home or out about, and not just slap-dash supermarket sandwiches.
If you’re the sort of person that would typically cook more than you need and then force yourself to eat far too much dinner, we’ve got some good news for you. Cooking more than you need is actually a pretty great way to save yourself time and money while also helping to save the planet. Just as long as you’re not eating it all at once. Though we'd much prefer you do that rather than creating heaps of food waste. When we throw out leftover food, we're not only wasting all the energy and resources that have been used to make it but a good deal of that surplus food is being sent to landfills where it produces the greenhouse gas methane. Meal prepping can help reduce the risk of that happening.
You can (and should) use batch-cooking to simplify your meal planning and get yourself back into a proper lunchtime routine. Divide your big pot of food into storage containers, label and date each one, then freeze for later. It honestly couldn’t be simpler to meal prep.
Here’s all you need to do: grab yourself a load of IKEA 365+ food containers and set yourself aside some time in the week to cook your meals for the week in bulk. We’re recommending IKEA’s containers because they’re super durable and will stand up to the test of time. The snap-and-lock lid also prevents leakage in your rucksack and protects the contents from frost damage, making it ideal for both transporting food and storing leftovers in the freezer. Again, an excellent way to reduce your food waste and be a little kinder to the planet.
They’ve got a load of different food containers, from plastic to glass and circular to rectangular, all specially designed for different meal prep purposes. The glass containers, for example, are made of oven-proof glass which means you can throw your pre-cooked meal-prepped food straight into the oven from the fridge to warm up.
Even the plastic containers are a step above; excellent for storing chopped vegetables and fruit separately so you can cobble them together for a quick salad while avoiding the hazard of salad sogginess. The circular containers are equally great for things like soups, ramen broths, and overnight oats – basically anything quick and liquidy that you can microwave. Because you know what's sustainable? Not buying a plastic packaged meal for your breakfast and lunch every day.
As for what you should be cooking, here's a few of our recipes that are perfect for cooking a large batch of...
This recipe for Seema's Dhal is a guaranteed hit and is perfect for scaling up to make enough portions to last you a lifetime. Or a week. Either way, it’s delicious. And sustainable.
Pearl Barley Super Salad
A lovely fresh fruity salad. Meal-prep doesn't get much better. Mango and mint are a match made in heaven and combine delightfully in this deliciously healthy and simple salad.
Roasted Pepper & Chorizo Orzo
Chorizo, red peppers and basil come together here to create an absolute worldie of an orzo dish. Great for meal-prep and guaranteed to have your colleagues very, very jealous.
The Ultimate Lasagne
We’ve really perfected our lasagne recipe over the years. The secret ingredient? Milk. It tenderises the meat, to leave you with the most tender ragù. Use a deep dish for lots of layers. And try not to scoff it all in one go, yeah?
A mild, creamy Punjabi curry for all you cheese lovers. Fried paneer, sweet peas and all the spices. Ditch your plastic-packed takeaway and make this on a Sunday evening instead. It's far more sustainable and you’ll thank yourself at lunchtime on Tuesday when you can tuck into this muttar paneer all over again.