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3 Tips for Efficient Cooking and Eating

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Efficient Cooking Eating

Cooking, eating and the culinary arts are probably not the first thing you think about when you’re on a site like Asian Efficiency. We’re usually all about systems, email and well, being productive.

But eating (and cooking) is one of those things that we all have to do, and that takes up a surprising amount of time.

We’ve given it a fair amount of thought and experimentation here at Asian Efficiency. So here are 3 (of many) geeky and nerdy tips for eating and cooking more efficiently.

1. Cook in Batches

We’ve talked about batching email and batching administrative tasks before. You can do the same thing with cooking. As with everything else, cooking has an associated startup/shutdown time cost associated with it, hence why batching is incredibly efficient here.

I know, “batch together your cooking” doesn’t sound very sexy. But it does make a lot of sense – and it’s very efficient. If you prepare your food for a week or the next few days in advance, then box and fridge it, you save a lot of time.

It looks a bit like this:

Batch Cooking

With modern appliances like rice cookers, steamers and George Foreman-style grills, batch cooking is incredibly easy.

As an added bonus, it also helps you to restrict what kind of food you’ll be eating for the next few days to a preselected, rational choice.

It also kind of forces you to…

2. Eat the Same Meals

Having to work out what to eat daily takes up a lot of time. And concentration. And mental energy.

On top of that, you have to work out what ingredients you need, whether you need to make a run to the grocery store – and of course, that all takes time.

If you’re like me and live in a country where kitchen space is limited (and frowned upon), then making lots of different dishes takes up a lot of time.

Limited Kitchen Space

Yeah, they aren’t big on home-cooking in Bangkok.

The solution is to find 3-4 favorite meals, and cook and eat them and over. You can batch cook them, you know exactly what’s in them, you know exactly how to make them, and you can adjust the recipe to your liking over time.

Eating the same meals again and again also has the built-in advantage of you knowing what’s in each meal – and whether you’re getting the correct ratio of macronutrients with each meal or not.

3. Fix Your Meal Times

This is a really simple idea, and it’s interesting that most people don’t do it.

I stumbled across the idea in the fitness/exercise world, and after trying it, discovered that it was also incredibly efficient.

Say you eat 3 meals a day. What you want to do is fix your meal times – say 7am, 12pm, 7pm. And then work everything else around that. My personal meal times are 12pm and 7:30pm.

What that means is that on any given day, you know when you’re going to wake up, go to sleep, when you’re eating, and when you’re working. From an efficiency standpoint, this lets you very clearly plan your day and see how much time you can allocate to other things.

A refinement on top of this is to allocate a set length for the meal – say anywhere from 15-60 minutes.

Of course, there are other advantages to fixing our meal times. It stops us from snacking. It also stops us from using “hunger” as a judge of food intake.

Where to Go Next

With the 3 tips above, you can cut down a daily routine of 3-4 hours of cooking, cleaning and eating down to as little as 1 hour a day. That leaves you an extra 3 hours for… clearing email, reading, watching TV, spending time with loved ones, or maybe even some extra sleep.

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Posted by Dom  | October 9, 2013 at 7:37PM | Reply

Great examples of eating to live and not living to eat. I think this works some times but spontaneity and indulgence, of time as well as ingredients, are really important to refresh ones purpose of doing things. Efficiency without purpose is inhuman and can lead to lack of compassion and empathy. Balanced diet could refer not only to ingredients but also approach to food.

Posted by Rori  | October 4, 2013 at 10:59AM | Reply

I have started doing this for past few months and I can’t believe I ever used to cook one meal at a time before. It saves SO much time. When you have to cook each time you want to eat, you tend to just put quick not so healthy food on all the time. When cooking for a few days you aren’t exactly going to cook a batch of pizza and chips so like me you end up cooking lean chicken and meat, brown rice etc. Super healthy, super quick, keeps your mind clear and energy up. Shop once a week, cook once a week.

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