Whether you’re a weekend meal prep warrior or you’re just beginning, you can up your weekend meal prep game with these 14 Meal Prep Essentials.
We believe that weekend meal preps are the ticket to eating healthy and staying sane in the kitchen during the busy work and school week. We love a good meal prep whether it’s spending half the day in the kitchen making multiple meals and stocking our freezers and/or fridge with all the delicious foods OR a simple meal prep that includes washing berries, chopping and prepping veggies and whipping up a quick egg bake or breakfast hash. So however much time you have, even if it’s just 30 minutes, you can meal prep! We promise you that spending time in the kitchen during the weekend, will make those days where you’re juggling meetings, appointments, sports practices, music class, and the list goes on, go so much smoother in the ‘healthy eating’ department.
In this post, we’re going back to the basics and sharing our 14 Meal Prep Essentials. Having a properly equipped kitchen will help to make your meal prep more productive and most importantly, more enjoyable.14 Meal Prep Essentials for the weekend #mealprep warrior or for those just getting started with meal prepping. Click To Tweet
14 Meal Prep Essentials
Glass containers with lids & reusable baggies – We recommend an assortment of sizes from 11 cups for storing a salad or soup to 4-6 cups for lunch to 1-2 cups for smaller amounts of food like sauces and dips. Here is a good set to get you started. Reusable baggies make for another slick and eco-friendly way to store food.
Mason jars & Mason jar lids – If you follow us on Instagram you may have noticed how much use we get out of good ol’ mason jars. Similar to glass containers we suggest having a variety of sizes on hand. They work great for storing dressings, sauces, marinades, smoothies, sliced veggies, fermented veggies, homemade nut, and seed butter and the list goes on. We also receive many questions regarding the lids we use — you can find those here and here.
Cast Iron Skillet – If you have one big skillet it should be a cast iron. When cared for properly they’ll last for generations and they go easily from stovetop to oven. And did we mention how great they are for searing meats and fish and making restaurant-quality fajitas at home? Here is a great set of 3 different sizes. Kitchen Shears – A good set of kitchen shears makes life a whole lot easier. They can be used to cut up a whole chicken, snip fresh herbs, cut dried fruit and open packages.
Food Scale – No more guessing if that’s a pound or a pound and a quarter of chicken thighs! A food scale takes the guesswork out of measuring when you’re preparing a new recipe and it’s also helpful for portioning recipes for lunches or the freezer. Good knives (and a hand-held knife sharpener) – Though an investment, a good set of knives with a handheld sharpener is a game changer when it comes to meal prepping. You’ll get more done in less time and be less likely to slip and cut yourself when you use the right size knife (and it’s sharp). We recommend Zwilling J.A. Henckels Cutlery like these sets here or here. And don’t forget the knife sharpener – this is the one we like.
Large rimmed baking sheet – A high-quality, heavy-duty baking sheet is a must-have for meal preps (having two is even better!). From sheet pan dinners, roasted vegetables, cookies and homemade pizza to a convenient catch-all for ingredients and spices you’ve gathered for your recipe, sheet pans are indispensable in the kitchen.
Instant Pot – We just can’t say enough about the Instant Pot when it comes to meal preps and easy weeknight dinners. With 7-in-1 functionality, you can sauté, slow cook, steam, pressure cook and more with just one appliance. We love it for making big batches of budget-friendly bone broth, a whole chicken or this easy Whole30-friendly Sweet Potato Curry and Lamb Curry.
Slow Cooker – Another workhorse and indispensable meal prep tool is a slow cooker with built-in timer. We love starting off our prep with a long-cooking, minimal-prep recipe like Slow Cooker Chile Verde, Slow Cooker Chipotle Turkey Chili or Slow Cooker Beef Stew to make the most of our time in the kitchen. Recommended slow cookers – here and here. Food Processor (with shredding/slicing blade) – What a knife can do the food processor can do better and faster especially when it has an optional shredding/slicing blade). Chop onions, carrots, and celery for your next soup or stew with just a few pulses or shred Brussels sprouts or cabbage for the perfect salad or slaw. Food processors are also great for making your own nut butter or no-bake snacks and treats like Trail Mix Energy Bites, Brownie Bites, or Key Lime Pie Energy Bars and making dips and dressings like our Homemade Paleo Ranch Dressing.
Parchment Paper – Unless you’re a fan of scrubbing pans we suggest having a roll or two of parchment paper on hand at all times. In addition to lining sheet pans, it’s also handy for lining loaf pans and baking dishes for bread, bars, and brownies to ensure easy removal.
Silicon Muffin Liners – Just like scrubbing a baking sheet, scrubbing a muffin pan is not a job you most likely look forward to. We’ve all been there…at the sink just scrubbing away! By using silicone muffin liners or a silicone pan you will never have to scrub a muffin pan again after making our Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins or Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins.Spiral cutter (different kinds) – A spiral cutter can turn a variety of vegetables into ‘noodles’ that are perfect for soups, salads and tossing with your favorite sauce. Try zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, cucumbers, butternut squash, beets, parsnips and celeriac to add more variety and nutrient dense vegetables to your diet. We recommend a countertop model like this to make quick work of the spiral cutting but a handheld device may be better for those with limited storage space or for camping or travel.
Waffle iron – Waffles often find a place in our meal preps. They make for easy breakfasts or quick snacks. You can eat them cold or pop them in the toaster to reheat and top them with nut butter, a little maple syrup or fresh fruit. Add our Protein Waffles or Grain-free Waffles to your next meal prep. Here is a waffle iron we recommend, one feature we especially are fans of this iron is that you can remove the plates for easy washing.
We hope you find this list of 14 Meal Prep Essentials helpful and a good guide as you stock your kitchen and set yourself up for weekend meal prep success! Feel free to comment below and let us know what some of your meal prep essentials are that we did not mention.
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