Deep down I think most of us want to lead healthy lives, full of healthy habits, practices and rituals. In an ideal world, this would be seamlessly executed day by day without complication.
The reality is that the day to day hustle has many of us distracted from rituals such as cooking. Id say the number one excuse for not cooking enough is money. Coming in close second is time.
We like to make excuses. They protect us from taking action to find a solution around potential obstacles.
“I cant do it. I don’t have the time”
Boy I would be a rich man if I had £1 every time Ive heard that one tossed around.
In most cases you can make time for whatever is a priority. It is simply a question of what you prioritise.
Even if cooking and preparing food isn’t amongst the top priorities, you can still pull it off. You just need the right preparation tactics to help you hack your routine.
Not only will this save you money, but it will also save you some precious time.
Spend Your Time (and Money) Wisely
Some of you may not have done much meal prep before. Thats cool, its easy. The gist of it is to invest a little time when you find some, to cook and prepare meals for the coming days.
My favourite time to prepare my meals is Sunday evening. A weekend of fun has already been enjoyed and I can then spend a mellow evening in the kitchen making life easier for the week ahead.
This isn’t likely to suit everybody. The trick is to find a time that is convenient for you and make it a routine. Prepare meals that will tide you over until the next prep sesh.
Once you have invested a little time, you save a lot of time and hassle over the following days. Time saved whilst also enjoying a tasty and nutritious meal prepared by yours truly. Thats a win if you ask me.
You now have more time to socialise, catch up on your hobbies and projects, exercise more and generally enjoy yourself.
By focusing on preparing meals ahead, you can establish how far each meal will take you through the week. This gives you an idea of where you will need to cook or buy food throughout the week. You don’t have to have every meal pre-prepared, its just handy to have an odd meal to fall back on when you are too tired too cook or don’t want to fork out for takeout.
Having meals pre-prepped will save you money from buying takeouts and those little trips to the grocery store which can really add up if you go >3 times a week.
1 Chicken, 6 Meals
Im now going to show you how far you can stretch a whole chicken. The one I have used here is Free Range and weighs about 1.7 – 2Kg. It costs ~ £15. A little spenny it seems, but you get what you pay for in weight and quality.
Once you do the maths, the cost isn’t so bad:
£15/6 – You are looking at ~ £2.50 a meal for a quality source of Fats, Protein and Vitamin B-6, amongst a few others.
The meat is always the most expensive part of a meal, factor in the cost of veggies and you have a supportive, nutritious meal for no more than £4.
You don’t have to go Free Range. Your typical chicken sets you back around £7, which might seem more appealing. But, If you want superior taste and nutrition and are recovering from a health condition, I would suggest Free Range.
The easiest way to get more meat off the bone when trying to get milage out of a chicken is to boil it.
Throw in some herbs such as rosemary or thyme for some extra flavour. Don’t forget onion and garlic to add to the rich flavour of the broth that you will be enjoying later.
Onion and garlic are also prebiotics – they groom the beneficial bacteria which support your health through harnessing nutrients from your food. Garlic and thyme are also anti-microbial – they help your body resist pathogenic bacteria which can upset the balance of the microbiome. The collecton of microbes and their genetic makeup comprise the microbiome. Keeping this balanced, diverse and nourished is essential for health across the spectrum.
Fill the pot up with water and leave it to gently boil away for at least 2 hours.
After a couple of hours, remove the legs and breasts from the chicken. These should fall right off after a little gentle cooking.
Leave the rest of the chicken carcass boiling for a further 2-3 hours to get all of the vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats from the bones, ligaments, marrow, organs and other tissues – this is the good stuff!
Chop up one breast and leave the other whole. Add a little seasoning/marinade the breast and legs and cook them further. I like to add a few spices to the mix here.
Jerk Chicken Legs:
- 1/2 Lime
- Pinch Salt + Pepper
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Tsp Ginger
- 1/2 Onion, Diced
- 1 Tsp Ground Rosemary
- 1 Tsp Honey
- 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
- 3/4 Tsp Paprika
- 1 Tbsp All Spice
For the chopped Breast meat I use this Mexi spice mix:
- 1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Clove Garlic
- Pinch of Salt + Pepper
- 1 Tsp Cumin
- 1/4 Lime
- Chopped Cilantro
For the whole breast:
- Pinch of Salt and Pepper
- Drizzle of Lemon
After having been boiled, the meat is partially cooked so you now need to cook it further.
You can either Grill it, or Wrap it up in some tin foil with some coconut oil and cook it in the oven.
These take about 20 – 30 minutes to seal the deal. Check that the meat is fully cooked through before hanging up the oven gloves.
You now have 2 x Chicken Legs and 2 x Chicken breasts cooked. You can wrap these in tin foil and put them in the fridge to be used with your meals later.
After a good 4 hours of boiling, you can now salvage the rest of the meat from the chicken, including the organs. Separate the bones out of the equation and prepare the leftover meat with some seasoning of your choice – jerk it, again or hit it with some Mexi Spice or use a different mix, maybe a little Turmeric. Cook it further on the grill or with tin foil in the oven.
The remaining element left in the pot should be a rich, oily broth which can be consumed alone or used as a base for soups and stews. This goes on to form an additional 3-4 meals – spare change from our 6 main meals.
I like to have a bowl of broth for breakfast, especially on a cold morning. Call me crazy, but it does the job.
Once you have finished with everything, you should have something that looks a little like this…