Meal prepping is a great way to set yourself up for healthy eating. There are numerous ways you can carry out your meal prep with options as simple as prepping your vegetables, to cooking any number of meals for the week ahead. One thing is guaranteed though, your meal prep will be much easier with these must-have meal prep essentials.
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22 Must-Have Meal Prep Essentials To Make Your Meal Planning A Breeze
I am a self-professed meal pre queen. I love, love, love meal prep and it has certainly made my life much easier in terms of guaranteeing I eat healthy, delicious food on a daily basis. I typically spend a few hours on a Sunday prepping my breakfasts and lunches for the week ahead to set me up for success.
I’ve really honed down on my ability to batch cook multiple meals at once and I’ve come to realise that my food prep wouldn’t be as quick without a number of essential pieces of equipment to speed up the process and take my prep to the next level.
Check out my top recommendations below to smash through your meal prep in record breaking time.
Meal Prep Essentials – Weighing, Measuring & Preparation:
First on my list is my top items for weighing, measuring and preparing your food. If like me, you’re trying to watch your calorie intake or you’re just trying to be a bit more mindful of what you’re eating you will need to accurately measure your ingredients. The same goes for following specific recipes.
Therefore, in order to know exactly how much of each ingredient you include in your meals, you will need the following tools to help you weigh, measure, and prepare your food.
Digital Kitchen Scales
The biggest bonus of using digital kitchen scales like these ones is that you will know exactly how much of each ingredient you are using.
These scales will help you to keep an eye on your calorie intake and ensure you are sticking close to any recipe you’re following.
I very much prefer digital scales rather than analogue scales for a few reasons.
Digital scales are more accurate and it is clearer to see the weight of the food item you are weighing out.
You can also measure multiple ingredients at once in grams, kilograms, ounces, fluid ounces, and milliliters. Which can speed up your meal prep and also save on the washing up. Which is a massive win.
If you need to quickly measure out some liquids but you don’t want to break out the scales then you’ll need some handy measuring jugs.
Plus, the three sizes of cups can be stacked inside each other to save storage space in your kitchen. Who doesn’t love a space-saving hack like this?
Measuring spoons might not sound all that necessary. I mean you’re bound to have spoons in your kitchen drawer right?
Well, I’ll be honest, I didn’t quite get it myself until I bit the bullet and bought these measuring spoons a few years ago.
They just make life much easier for measuring out smaller amounts of spices, oils, food flavourings and baking essentials like baking powder or bicarbinate of soda.
No longer do I worry about whether I have really added 1/4 teaspoon to my recipe.
I didn’t know these were a thing until about 10 years ago. I felt like a moron as I’d been using an ACTUAL cup (you know, for tea drinking) when following American recipes.
Anyway, my idiocy aside, these measuring cups are very handy for weighing out your ingredients when you’re quickly throwing a recipe together.
They display the cup size and ml to help you serve up the perfect recipe every time.
Whether your baking, mixing or marinading you’ll need a good set of mixing bowls to create your culinary masterpiece.
You might think that 5 mixing bowls is a bit excessive but really, how many recipes do you know of that only require 1 single bowl? Not many, I can attest to that.
Don’t worry though, they can be nested together to once again save space in your kitchen.
Having multiple bowls can be a blessing when you are batch cooking multiple meals at once. If this is your plan then you’ll need these mixing bowls.
A Set Of Knives
A set of reliable, sturdy and sharp kitchen knives is a must-have staple for every kitchen.
They can be stored away in their handy block to save space in the kitchen.
I’ve tried a range of knives and honestly, I’m most impressed with this set. Surprisingly, other more expensive knife sets have snapped near the handle and lasted me less than six months.
One of the most important items in your kitchen is a set of chopping boards.
They can protect your work surfaces from getting damaged and provide a solid foundation to slice, dice and chop your ingredients.
Meal Prep Essentials – Appliances:
If you’re new to meal prepping and plan on batch cooking multiple meals at once it can sound a little overwhelming at first.
In fact, when I started meal prepping I was daunted by what seemed a gargantuan task but I quickly learned to use multiple appliances to my advantage to help me batch cook like a champion!
Regardless of the size of your kitchen you can use some or all of these nifty gadgets to sail through your meal prep in record breaking speed.
Ninja Blender & Food Processor
Whether your serving up some dips, creating delicious smoothies, making all kinds of dough or designing drool worthy desserts, the Ninja 3-in-1 can do it all.
Effortlessly chop, slice, grate, puree and mix your way to snacks and full meals.
It’s easy to use and comes with manual and automatic settings to make your meal prep a breeze.
I would be lost without this amazing piece of machinery in my kitchen!
The Instant Pot will cook a variety of meals and ingredients from chicken, fish, beef and rice in a fraction of the time it would normally take with conventional cooking.
It also combines the abilities of 7 different appliances such as pressure cooker, sauté pan, steamer, slow cooker, rice cooker, food warmer, and yoghurt maker.
This means you can clear the clutter from your counter and do it all with just one tool. Which is especially handy if you have a small kitchen.
You can throw in your ingredients, turn on to your preferred heat settings and leave your slow cooker to do its magic.
Now, you might be wondering why I have both a pressure cooker and a slow cooker on this list? It’s simple, I have both in my kitchen and I use both appliances quite frequently.
I find the pressure cooker is great for cooking up meats, sauteing, steaming and cooks rice to perfection. The slow cooker on the other hand is ideal for stews, casseroles and curries.
And yes, I know the pressure cooker does have a slow cooker option too, but I’m usually using both at the same time to cut down on my overall prep time so if you have the space for both I highly recommend using both.
If you don’t want to engage a large blender or food processor when you just need to quickly chop or blitz some ingredients then a hand blender could be a good option for you.
Each component can be broken down for easy storage.
Meal Prep Essentials – Cooking & Baking:
Whilst I use many appliances during my meal prep, I also engage my hob top, grill and oven to really get the most out of my time. Time is precious after all and as much as I do love cooking, I don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen.
Here’s my top recommended meal prep essentials for when you’re using your hob or oven to cook or bake up a treat!
Are you fed up with guessing whether your food is over or undercooked? Is it the right temperature? Will you give yourself food poisoning?
It’s simple and easy to use and it reads temperatures within 3 seconds from very cold to very hot: -58°F to 572°F (-50°C to 300°C).
This meat thermometer is a must-have when you’re cooking multiple meals at once.
Non Stick Saucepans
Easily boil up some potatoes or rice, cook up a variety of soups or stews, or even make up some one pot dishes with ease.
I particularly like the fact that the non-stick coating means you can use fewer oils which will help you to reduce your calorie intake.
Non Stick Frying Pans
An equally essential kitchen staple is a set of non-stick frying pans.
Again I recommend non-stick pans because you won’t need to use as much oil and food will not get stuck to the base of the pans.
I also like this set due to Tefal’s patented Thermospot technology. It lets you know when the pan has reached the optimum cooking temperature so you can lock in vitamins and flavour.
Stainless Steel Strainer
These strainers allow you to wash or rinse your ingredients such as vegetables, pasta or rice. They’re great for draining loose leaf tea and cheeky cocktails.
You can also sift powdered sugar & flour for superior baking and cooking preparation.
Whether you’re baking biscuits, cookies or brownies. Or maybe you’re roasting some vegetables or making a one-pan traybake.
Either way, you will need a set of baking trays.
There are a number of brands of baking paper to choose from but I have found Bacofoil to be the best.
Silicone Muffin Cases
When you want to make up some mouthwatering breakfast muffins, or even some tasty treats I cannot recommend these silicone muffin cases enough.
Back in the day I used to use the standard paper cases, which unsurprisingly ALWAYS stuck to my baked treats. I would spend at least a solid 15 – 20 minutes trying to peel excess paper off my muffins before I could even take the first bite.
They are a real game-changer for me. They are none stick, meaning you can easily separate the casing from your muffins or cakes.
The cases themselves are very easy to wash and are safe to use -40 to +446 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 to +230 degrees Celsius).
Meal Prep Essentials – Food Storage:
If you’re like me you may have far too many ingredients taking up space in your kitchen that could easily be stored in a better way. Also, after you’ve prepped all of your ingredients or batch cooked your meals for the week, you’ll need to store them properly.
Check out my recommendations on food storage solutions for your meal prep below.
Airtight Food Storage Container Set
Like I said, I have a lot of ingredients in my kitchen, and quite limited space.
I now combine all of my mixed nuts, flours, pasta, rice, oats, dried fruits etc into each of the containers instead of having multiple bags taking up 10 times the amount of space.
It’s also a bonus that these containers are air tight so I can be confident that my ingredients won’t spoil.
If you’re a fan of overnight oats, love making your own jam or need a good storage solution for smaller quantities of your ingredients then I suggest you invest in a set of Mason Jars.
They’re also airtight meaning your food won’t spoil and they can be stored easily in your cupboard or fridge.
Food Storage Containers
When you have back cooked or prepped your meals, you’ll need a suitable storage solution.
These food storage containers are great for storing your meals in the fridge or freezer and contain a steam vent which is great when you’re reheating your food in the microwave at home or at the office.
The clip on lids provide a leak free sealant so you can easily transport your meals to work without any concerns.
They’re also non-toxic and BPA free, so you don’t need to worry about any nasty chemicals contaminating your meals.
When not in use, these containers can be stacked neatly in your cupboards to save on space.
Silicone Food Storage Bags
They’re also great for storing liquids, sauces and leftovers. One tip though, don’t put anything too hot in them.
The handy zip lock ensures they are leak-proof and can be stored in the fridge or freezer. Laying them flat, will take up much less space than standard food storage boxes.
Set yourself up for successful healthy eating with these 22 must-have meal prep essentials. You can cut down on time by using multiple appliances at once and use these tools to batch cook multiple meals at once.
Do you agree with my must-have meal prep essentials? Would you add anything else to the list? Let me know in the comments!