Diving into the world of meal prep can be both exciting and daunting. As you begin your journey to healthier and more efficient eating, it's essential to have the right tools on hand.
Equipping your kitchen with the proper meal prep tools will not only save you time, but also make the entire process more enjoyable.
From portion control containers to versatile cooking gadgets, there's a wide variety of meal prep tools available to fit your needs.
Whether you're a seasoned meal prep pro or just starting out, these tools can help you create delicious and nutritious meals, streamline your routine, and stay on track with your dietary goals.
By investing in a selection of reliable, and easy-to-use meal prep tools, you'll be well on your way to achieving your health and wellness goals.
In this post, you'll find informative tips, product suggestions, and helpful advice to help you decide on the best tools for your unique cooking style and meal planning needs.
Fundamental Meal Prep Tools
A good set of cutting boards is essential for meal prep. Choose boards made from various materials, such as wood, bamboo, or plastic, to serve different purposes.
For example, you can use wood or bamboo boards for cutting fruits, vegetables, and bread, while plastic boards come in handy for cutting raw meat. This helps prevent cross-contamination of bacteria.
Investing in a few high-quality knives makes meal prep easier and enjoyable. These essential knives include:
- A chef's knife: This versatile kitchen tool is perfect for chopping, slicing, and dicing.
- A paring knife: Use this small and sharp tool for precision tasks like peeling, trimming, and slicing small ingredients.
- A serrated knife: This knife is perfect for cutting bread, tomatoes, or anything else with a tough exterior and soft interior.
Mixing bowls are crucial for combining ingredients, marinating proteins, or making dressings. Opt for a set of bowls in various sizes made from materials like stainless steel, glass, or plastic.
These lightweight bowls with non-slip bottoms make it easy to mix ingredients and pour out the contents.
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Accurate measurements are key to successful meal prep.
Make sure you have a comprehensive set of measuring cups and spoons to ensure you're using the right amount of ingredients. Opt for stainless steel or plastic sets with clear markings.
Essential Cooking Equipment
Saucepans and Skillets
When it comes to meal prep, a good set of saucepans and skillets is indispensable. You'll need these to cook a variety of ingredients:
- A medium-sized saucepan for preparing sauces, soups, and grains
- A large saucepan for making bigger batches or boiling pasta
- A non-stick skillet for sautéing and frying up proteins and veggies
Having these essentials will make your meal prep process easier and more efficient.
Baking sheets are another must-have tool in your meal prep arsenal. You can use them to roast vegetables, bake proteins, and even cook entire sheet pan meals.
Opt for heavy-duty baking sheets that resist warping and have a nice even heat distribution.
A slow cooker (or a crock pot) is a fantastic investment for meal prep.
It allows you to set your meal and forget about it, freeing up your time for other tasks while your ingredients simmer to perfection.
Slow cookers are great for:
- Busy weeknights
- Batch cooking soups, stews, and chili
- Tenderizing tougher cuts of meat
Need some ideas on what to make? Be sure to check out my kid friendly crock pot meals.
Finally, a rice cooker is a valuable tool for anyone who enjoys rice-based dishes.
With a rice cooker, you can cook all kinds of grains, from rice and quinoa to couscous and oats. It ensures perfect, fluffy grains every time, without the guesswork or potential for overcooking.
Your rice cooker can also double as a steamer for vegetables, making it a versatile addition to your meal prep toolkit.
Advanced Meal Prep Tools
A food processor is a versatile kitchen gadget that can help you with many meal prep tasks.
You can effortlessly chop, slice, and shred different kinds of ingredients to save time and energy.
With a food processor at your side, you can:
- Make homemade nut butter by blending raw nuts
- Shred or grate veggies and cheese for salads and casseroles
- Create fruit purees for smoothies and desserts
A blender is perfect for making creamy soups, sauces, and smoothies. You can easily puree cooked vegetables and fruits to create smooth, nutritious dishes.
Some popular meal prep recipes using a blender include:
- Green smoothies: Combine leafy greens, fruits, and liquid
- Frozen fruits and yogurt: Blend for a tasty, healthy treat
- Soups and stews: Quickly blend cooked ingredients to achieve a smooth texture
The spiralizer is a fun and creative tool that turns your favorite veggies into noodle-like shapes. Incorporate these "noodles" into your meal prep for low-carb, gluten-free alternatives to traditional pasta.
Here are a few examples of what you can spiralize:
- Zucchini: Create zoodles for a light pasta substitute
- Carrots: Add extra crunch to a vegetable stir-fry
- Sweet potatoes: Make curly fries for a healthier alternative to deep-fried snacks
If you have a stand mixer like the KitchenAid they also have attachments you can use to turn it into a spiralizer.
An air fryer is a fantastic addition to your meal prep lineup. Using just a little bit of oil, it circulates hot air around food to achieve a crispy exterior without deep-frying.
Popular air fryer meal prep ideas include:
- Roasted vegetables: Toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper
- Chicken wings: Coat with your choice of sauce or seasoning
- Homemade fries: Slice potatoes and season with your favorite spices
Experiment with these advanced meal prep tools to make your weekly cooking routine more enjoyable and efficient.
Once you've prepped all your food, it's time to store it! Here are some of the best meal prep storage containers.
Glass containers are a great option for storing your meal preps. They're durable, eco-friendly, and free of harmful chemicals. You can safely use them in the oven, microwave, and freezer.
Since they're transparent, spotting your food becomes super easy. When preparing to meal prep, consider investing in a set of glass containers with airtight lids to keep your food fresh.
For a lighter and more portable solution, reusable bags come in handy. These eco-friendly bags are perfect for packing sandwiches, snacks, and even fruits and vegetables.
Made of food-grade materials, they're dishwasher-safe and freezer-friendly. You can find them in various sizes to suit your needs.
Plus, by using reusable bags, you're reducing single-use plastic waste.
Bento boxes are a fun and convenient way to pack your meals. Offering compartments to separate food items, they help maintain portion control and keep flavors from mixing.
Bento boxes come in a variety of materials, such as stainless steel, plastic, and bamboo.
Choose one based on your preferences and make sure to look for leak-proof models.
Bento box lunches for kids make a really great (and easy) school lunch!
Investing in Quality Kitchenware
When it comes to meal prep, having the right tools can make all the difference. Investing in quality kitchenware will not only improve your cooking experience, but also ensure that your tools last for years to come.
Firstly, consider purchasing a good set of knives. A high-quality chef's knife, paring knife and serrated bread knife can cover most of your cutting needs.
When looking for knives, consider factors such as balance, grip, and sharpness. Remember, a sharp knife is a safe knife!
Next, don't skimp on cookware.
Opt for pots and pans with even heat distribution and durable construction.
Stainless steel, cast iron, and non-stick options can all be great choices, depending on your cooking preferences.
Here are few suggestions for basic cookware to invest in:
- Stainless steel skillet: Perfect for searing, browning and deglazing.
- Non-stick frying pan: Makes cooking delicate items like eggs and fish a breeze.
- Cast iron skillet: A versatile and long-lasting tool for oven-to-table cooking.
- Heavy-duty saucepan: Ideal for sauces, soups, and boiling pasta.
Remember, when it comes to investing in quality kitchenware, you don't necessarily have to break the bank. Upgrading one item at a time can be highly beneficial.
Take your time, research your options, and don't hesitate to test different products before finding the perfect fit for your needs.