Tips for Saving Time on AIP

How to save time on the autoimmune protocol, because no one wants to be chained to the stove three times a day. 

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When you're doing a healthy, healing diet it really does feel as if you're cooking, then clearing up and then cooking again for the next meal. It's like you're either spending ages deciding what to have for dinner, shopping for dinner or you're in the kitchen cooking it. 

Luckily, there are lots of ways you grab some precious time back for yourself and shave off the hours spent cooking and food prepping. I've done it, so I know. Have a go at these and let me know how you get on. 

Batch cook
It's an oldie, but it's a goldie. Batch cooking will save you time in more ways than one. And all you need to do, is chop a bit of extra veg and cook a portion or three more than you would have and then eat it up during the week. You don't need to think about what to eat, because it's waiting for you in the fridge or freezer and you won't need to chop, peel and sizzle every day. And it doesn't really take you more time to cook 6 portions of beef hash than it takes to cook 3. All you need to do is make extra food in advance. Some people set aside time on a quiet day, like a Sunday, to get ahead for the week. I just do it as I go along, cooking more than I know I'll eat. It works. 

Make a shopping list and meal plan
Essential, if you don't want to be wandering to the fridge and gawping inside it, wondering what the heck you're going to eat for dinner. I'll never get those hours back of meandering around the supermarket, trying to piece together ingredients to make a meal as I went round. Do a bit of forward planning - it doesn't take long. Make your meal plan and shopping list at the same time, as you go. Then, when you've been shopping, make a list of all the meals you'll be cooking in the week. I use a small A4 blackboard and chalk it all up. As I cook, I cross it off the list and then choose something else the following day. It's like you're ordering off a menu every day. Except you have to cook it yourself. Again, batch cook. 

Use your freezer
Your freezer is your best friend for time saving! Again, batch cook your favourite dishes and then portion them up and store in the freezer. I use these glass containers. What then happens is that you have a supply of healthy, AIP compliant ready meals in the freezer to defrost and reheat whenever you're ready. They last long in there too - and you'd be surprised about what you can actually freeze. This community ebook might be useful for you, for inspiration. 

Get creative with leftovers
I love leftovers. They're really my favourite meal of the week, and not only because they take literally 5 minutes to get on the table. Keep everything. A couple of broccoli florets? A leftover baked sweet potato? Some radishes you sliced but didn't eat? Store it in the fridge and you have instant food to reheat and serve in a hash or stir-fry, or do what I do and just take them all out of the fridge in their little bowls and containers and put them on the table and let everyone help themselves. Jazz it up if you need to with some salad leaves and some leftover meat or fish. Love your leftovers. They'll save you money, waste and - the big one - loads of time. 

Pre-prep your veg
Yes, you can buy pre-prepped veg, meats and fish. But have you seen the prices? Most often, a bag of chopped sweet potato can end up costing much more than the equivalent of a whole sweet potato you can chop yourself. Find some time on a quiet day, put your favourite music on, settle down at the chopping board, the spiraliser, whatever - and chop away. Store in the fridge until needed in the week. Again, these glass containers are the ones I use. You'll save so much time because you won't need to do all the work in the week, when your time is tighter. 

Choose quicker meals
It's a no brainer that you'll save time on your busy days by cooking meals that will be on the table quicker rather than keeping an eye on a stew or curry that takes 40 minutes to get going. Think seafood, fish, chicken, pork steaks, beef burgers and meatballs. 

Enlist help
If you live with others, delegate jobs to them, to help you out a bit in the week. Get them to help you chop and prep at the weekend for the week. Or ask for suggestions for your meal plan, so you don't have to do all the thinking. When my kids were younger I gave them the job of setting the table and then clearing away the plates after dinner. Now they're older, I ask them to help me chop or stir while I get on with another step of the cooking. It might not sound much, but it really does help and makes mealtimes feel a lot less rushed and stressful. 

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