Build the meal system that works for you!
Join New York Times bestselling author and creative force behind Fed and Fit Cassy Joy Garcia as she breaks down the mindset behind her Cook Once philosophy. Cassy shares her experience in meal prep and parenting to give listeners actionable tips they can incorporate into their busy lives to ensure their families are fed, fit, and satisfied.
Start prepping today!
Cassy’s key to balancing your home life, work life, and putting food on the table is having a system while understanding you might not always be perfect. Relying on a system throughout the week can help you keep the chaos of everyday life in check. Although you can always leave it up to chance, you might feel more relaxed and in control if you have a plan to lean on.
Instapots can be great tools to get healthy and satisfying meals on the table. For proteins, prep things that you can reuse throughout the week in different meals, such as shredded chicken or pork, to mix into a casserole, tacos, salads, etc. If you kids love tacos, always has shells on-hand for an improvised taco night, and keep a bowl in her fridge of loose vegetables so you can minimize food waste.
The Cook Once method is a way of combining batch-cook principles with meal prep. In the world of batch cooking, people will choose one or two things to eat and make it in large enough quantities to eat all week. Meal preppers plan out their five breakfasts, lunches, and dinners ahead of time and repeat every single day. What Cassy found is that people who don’t like leftovers or don’t want to eat the same thing all week are left out of both of those worlds.
With Cook Once, Cassy takes the time-saving and budget-saving elements of both methods, and allows room for some fresh meals along the way. You’ll prep anywhere from one to three components of your meal ahead of time. For example, Cassy will often prepare five pounds of raw shredded chicken breast, five pounds of broccoli, and a bunch of sweet potatoes at the beginning of the week. Then she’ll take those components, cook what’s necessary, and mix and match them throughout the week to create different meals.
Young children often go through phases where they will only eat one thing one week, and then cannot stand it the next. So Cassy’s worked very hard to cultivate a “no pressure” approach to food around the dinner table. If her kids decide they don’t want something, she doesn’t push it, and instead saves it for another day when they like it again. This approach has helped her raise very confident and curious eaters.
She’s also found that when her daughters are involved in the dinner process they are far more likely to want to eat it. They love slaw, so one way she introduces new foods is by including it in small amounts in slaw for them to try. That way it’s in something they’re familiar with, and by letting them help prepare it they become very curious and invested in trying it.
If you’re not confident in the kitchen or unsure where to begin, Cassy recommends starting with what feels the easiest to you. Start with ingredients that are familiar, like ground beef.
Try simple dishes you really love. As your confidence grows, branch out to something new. If you mess it up, it’s okay because mistakes happen and you’re learning. Set yourself up for success by starting small and working your way up. If you don’t cook at all, start with one home-cooked meal a week.
For Cassy, she incorporates a protein, a starch, and a vegetable in every meal and outlines different approaches to mixing and matching them in all her books.
Listen now and start building a dinner system that works for you.
Cassy Joy Garcia, a New York Times bestselling author of Cook Once Dinner Fix, Cook Once Eat All Week, and Fed and Fit as well as the creative force behind the popular food blog Fed + Fit. Eager to share her healthy living secrets with the world, she started Fed + Fit in 2011. She lives in San Antonio, TX with her husband and two children.