I’ve meal-prepped a time or two..hundred and over the years, I have found some key things that help me get the job done well and efficiently. Here is a list of favorite things that I use every single week while I’m meal-prepping. And the best part, they are all less than $40 each!
1 | VEGGIE SCRUBBER
This one is a small investment, but a mighty tool to have. Each week, half of our groceries consist of fresh produce. Even though some of it is pre-washed, I still wash everything because who knows where it’s been. This little scrub brush is great for helping me get our veggies clean and ready to be chopped and stored in the fridge. And the best part? You can rinse it after each use and even throw it in the dishwasher. I only need to replace ours every couple months.
2 | MANDOLINE SLICER
If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time chopping veggies. This mandoline slicer is the bomb because it helps me chop even faster. I mostly use it to slice vegetables, like zucchini and squash, tomatoes and even sweet potatoes. But it comes with a number of blades to accommodate for different cuts. I like this one because it’s easy to use and is attached to a container for catching your vegetables as you slice.
3 | FOOD PROCESSOR
A food processor is awesome for all kinds of things. I have used it to make dips and sauces like hummus, salsa or guacamole. I have also used it to chop things, like nuts. My favorite way to use it though, is for making my signature protein ice cream. There are a ton of food processors out there, including many big fancy ones with a lot of different attachments and capabilities. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I have kitchen appliances that are big and more complicated I am less likely to use them because I don’t want to haul out all the parts and even worse, clean them all when I’m done. I love this one because it’s great for everyday use and I can easily store it in my cabinet when I’m not using it.
4 | DIGITAL SCALE
If you are on the macro train (you count your macronutrients per meal) or do any sort of caloric measuring, this scale is a must-have. Chris and I started experimenting with counting macros in our meals back in the Fall and this guy has been a life-saver, y’all. I love it because it gives you the exact nutritional breakdown in the form of a nutrition facts label for whatever you’re measuring. And it's portable; it runs on batteries so you can take it with you wherever you go! If you’ve been worried about conquering the mountain of keeping track of your intake, this scale makes it much more accessible and actually kind of fun!
5 | PYREX
Other than spreadsheets, Pyrex is one of my guilty pleasures. I freaking love it. And I don’t think you can ever have enough of it. I love it so much because it’s affordable and it will last you wayyy longer than plastic tupperware containers. You can also use it in the fridge or the freezer and it’s microwave and dishwasher safe. Since it’s glass, it doesn’t absorb odors or stains. And it stacks easily. I could really go on forever, but you get the gist.
I love these mixing bowls because they are perfect for storing chopped veggies and already cooked dishes that I make in large batches, like rice and sweet potatoes. I also love these bowls because they are the perfect size for storing single-serving meals, like pre-made lunches. And of course, you can’t go wrong with a set like this, for all of your meal-prep needs.
6 | CAST IRON SKILLET
If you haven’t started cooking with cast iron yet, now is the time! I absolutely LOVE cooking with a cast iron skillet (I use this one) because it is so dang easy and so yummy that you feel like you’re breaking the law. What I love most about cast iron (other than it’s virtually indestructible) is that you can load it up and stick it right in the oven and it adds great flavor to your dishes. It also washes super easy with a steel wool pad for a no-fuss clean-up - be sure to only use warm water, NO SOAP!
7 | RICE COOKER
If rice is a regular part of your diet, I would recommend getting a rice cooker. A rice cooker perfectly steams rice without you needing to tend to it. It usually takes less than an hour and you can make large batches literally at the touch of a button. You can also use it to make quinoa or oatmeal and steam vegetables, too. I like this one because it’s easy to use and automatically clicks over to the warm setting when it’s done cooking. Clean up is easy, too, with the pot’s non stick surface.
8 | SLOW COOKER
And last, but definitely not least, a slow cooker. If you can only invest in one thing on this list, I would recommend getting a slow cooker (aka: a Crock Pot). With very little prep time, you can make delicious meals overnight or during the day while you’re at work. They are also a great way to make large meals - that are packed full of flavor - that you can eat on for multiple days. If you plan to cook while you sleep or while you’re away, I would suggest getting one like this that has a timer setting. The timer lets you set your desired cook time and will click over to warm once it’s done cooking, to keep your meal hot and ready-to-eat when you get home.
So there you have it, a list of all of my favorite kitchen must-haves. If you have any of these, which is your favorite and why? If not, which are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments below!