9 Kitchen Gadgets to Meal Prep like a Pro
Have you read a million and one articles about meal prepping and still haven’t started? Well this article is for you! We’ve compiled our 9 top kitchen gadgets to help you meal prep like a pro. The good news is you may already have some of these favs ready to go in your kitchen! While no two meal prep journeys are identical, we hope this list gives you a solid foundation to get started!
1. The Basics – Good Knives, Cutting Boards, and Colander Set
This may seem like a no brainer, but honestly having a solid foundation of kitchen essentials is the #1 way to meal prep like a pro. Is it an investment? Yes! But so is your health. We’re not saying you need to go out and get the most expensive set of everything to be a successful meal prepper. Find what you like and don’t be afraid to try a few products before you commit to a full set.
For me, having a sharp set of knives has been a complete game changer when it comes to meal prepping. There is nothing worse than having a counter full of beautiful fresh produce, and finding your sharpest knife won’t hold up through the first bell pepper. I personally love the knives with grippy handles, but you do you! Find what is most comfortable for you and stock up on what you use most.
For cutting boards, find something that works for you and your space. I like the cutting boards that are dishwasher safe so I feel good about getting everything clean regardless of what I am prepping. I find that my favorite cutting boards tend to move around on me when I’m getting my prep groove on, so I stick one of my silicone baking mats under it, and voila! Get a few sizes of your favorite cutting boards to keep food safe and minimize cross contamination while prepping.
A good colander set makes washing and prepping produce more convenient. Having a set makes it easy to prep all at once! First, I like to prep my produce cleaning solution in a mixing bowl that fits my colander. Then, I’ll put my produce in the colander and nest it inside the mixing bowl to soak for a few minutes. Once I’ve given my produce a few good swirls in the solution I just pull my colander out, give my produce a rinse, and it’s ready to go!
2. Instant Pot, Crock Pot, or Sous Vide
I’ve had an instant pot for a few years now, and I must say it was not love at first sight. I was intimidated by it to say the least, and was not super keen on learning a new gadget. When I say I could not live without my instant pot now, it is really not an understatement. I use it to prep the majority of my protein for the week. The ease of having a pressure cooker and slow cooker in one is easily the most convenient option for prepping like a pro. Soups, veggies, proteins, carbs, the instant pot can do it all in a way that takes a lot of the traditional prep out of meal prepping. I highly recommend an instant pot cookbook that includes tips and tricks for delicious easy meals.
If instant pots are not your game, you can never go wrong with a classic crock pot. Crock pots are an easy, no-brainer go to kitchen gadget. A few simple ingredients, set it, and forget about it until dinner time. This is my go-to for meal prep for hosting and parties.
Sous vide is another great option for easy, flavorful meal prep. It is convenient, hands-free, and produces very flavorful proteins with consistent and even cooking. It is a great way to add some variety to your meal preps without compromising your goals!
3. Zoodle Maker
A veggie spiralizer is an amazingly easy way to boost your veggie intake during the day without having to work harder for your meal preps. It takes just a few minutes and can be added to your favorite recipes in a way that doesn’t take away from your favs!
4. Air Fryer
You can’t beat an air fryer when it comes to adding delicious crispy foods to your meals without frying. They are incredibly versatile and enable exciting textures without the added fats and oils of frying and in half the time.
5. Silicone Baking Mats and Muffin Cups
I’m not sure if there’s anything worse than meal prepping something you are incredibly excited for, and then having half of it stick to your pan or muffin cup. I received a couple of silicone baking mats as a gift, not entirely sure what to do with them. After the first time using them, I’ll never go back to baking on a naked pan. They make clean up so easy and effortless, and have really saved the integrity of my baking sheets over the long run.
6. Complete Set of Liquid and Dry Measuring Cups
Anybody else still using a mix match set of measuring cups that have mysteriously disappeared slowly over the last 10 years?Seriously, get a complete set of measuring cups – both liquid and dry – to make meal prepping a breeze. I like the sets that connect with a ring so I can put the set back together before putting them back in the drawer. This can also be helpful if you’re meal prepping with your macros in mind. Being able to measure out certain amounts of proteins, carbs, and fats and then accurately weighing those on your food scale will give you the most consistent meals for your meal prep journey.
7. Containers & Bento Boxes
I have a confession to make…I have had a lifelong distaste for reheated food. How am I a successful meal prepper then you ask? Two words – amazing containers! I figured out exactly what I liked and prep my meals in containers that make the reheating process less stressful. I like containers with separate compartments, and a venting component on the lid. Glass containers won’t stain, won’t retain any smells, and clean up like a dream. So find what you like, and get a set that fits your meal prep goals! We prep breakfast and lunch in our house, so containers that also stack well are a must!
Bento boxes are also a great solution for on the go lunch prep. They make fulfilling your food groups a breeze, and the compartments keep your food from getting soggy. It decreases the need for individual baggies, so you can also feel good about your plastic impact!
8. Mason Jars
Oh, mason jars. The unsung hero of the kitchen. What can I say about mason jars that you don’t already know? Want to make overnight oats? Mason jars. Shaking up a homemade dressing? Mason jars. Prepping veggies that stay fresh in water? Mason jars. You get the picture!
9. Casserole Dishes & Baking Sheets
Glass casserole dishes are your best friend when prepping baked meals for the week. Get a good feel for your favorite meals and get a few casserole dishes that fit those needs. An assortment of baking sheets will also help you keep organized, prep in a timely manner, and keep your foods organized as you get ready to assemble your meals for the week!
This list could go on depending on your favorite meals, food preferences, and cultural staples, but the important thing to remember is that your meal prepping journey is specific to your needs and goals. Whether that is to incorporate more produce in your diet, eat out less, or spend less money on food wasted, these kitchen essentials have been crucial for my food prep journey, and I hope they help you along yours too! If you’re looking for more in-depth food prep suggestions or recipes tailored to your needs and goals, schedule an appointment with one of our registered dietitians today!