If you are new to the meal prep lifestyle, it is important to make sure you have the correct meal prep containers. But once you get into meal preparation, you’ll want to improve your game with kitchen gadgets and small gadgets that make things a little easier – and a little more exciting.
We asked two meal prep experts, Allyson Spungin, nutrition coach and certified personal trainer, and Talia Koren, meal prep expert and founder of Workweek Lunch, about the tools they swear by when preparing meals.
Cuisinart knife set
Before investing in kitchen gadgets that cost money and take up valuable space in your kitchen, make sure you are happy with the basics – good knives, cutting boards that will work for you, and a colander kit for draining and rinsing canned food, Herbs and vegetables.
Every meal prep expert we spoke to stressed the importance of good knives for meal prep. If your knives are junkies, plan on starting from scratch and investing in a simple knife set, like this colorful six-knife set from Cuisinart.
Flexible cutting boards from Dexas
Heavy plastic and wood cutting boards have their place in the kitchen, but when it comes to meal preparation, it is also worth having a set of lightweight, flexible cutting mats on hand. If you’re chopping a lot of different things at once, the ability to quickly shuffle through multiple cutting boards without stopping and washing them between cutting the tomatoes and chopping the basil is a key factor.
Prepworks steel screens
Small movements like opening, draining, and rinsing canned beans to add to a salad or grain bowl can save time and energy when you need to put lunch or dinner together quickly. Investing in a nesting screen set allows you to drain and wash more than one type of food at the same time without having to stop to wash while it is being cooked.
Etekcity food scales
If exercise or weight loss goals are driving your meal preparation, a food scale is an invaluable tool. Spungin, who supports her strength training with Meal Prep, says, “I love my electronic food scale because it helps measure the portion sizes for my weekly meals and recipes.”
Spiralizer vegetable cutter
Spungin swears by a special tool to mix up meal preparation and not make things boring, and says, “I love my vegetable spiralizer for turning zucchini, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and other root vegetables into noodle-like textures. I combine these low-carbohydrate noodles with normal noodles for more bang for your buck! ”
Trio peeler set
Vegetable peelers fall into the “basic” category, but a kit that lets you do more than remove the skin from a potato can really improve your meal prep. This set of three includes a straight peeler, a large peeler that can be used for chopping or cutting, and a julienne peeler for finer jobs.
A basic truth about meal preparation is that things can get very boring very quickly. But a microplane can add spice to boring meals – literally. Use this tool to rub lemon, lime, and orange peels to add tons of flavor to dishes, dressings, and sauces. for quickly grating hard cheese such as Parmesan over salads, soups or pasta; or for quickly grating large flavor enhancers like garlic and ginger for use in a variety of dishes.
Cuisinart mini food processor
Both Koren and Spungin recommend investing in a mini food processor to add more options to your meal prep. Spungin loves her mini food processor for homemade hummus, pesto and salsas, and Koren uses hers for sauces and spreads.
GE immersion mixer
“The hand blender is great because it takes up very little space and is perfect for making soups and sauces,” says Spungin. If your kitchen is tight, look for a hand blender with a chopper attachment that can replace a stand-alone mini food processor.
Nish salad grinder
While most meal prep experts will put you off Uni-Tasker appliances, there are times when a very specific appliance has its place in your kitchen. These are some of the best and most ingenious single-taskers we’ve found.
Simply cutting a salad can make all the difference in the world when it comes to getting your veggies in – and enjoying them! But shredding every single item can be a real chore and a real mess. This salad cutter, with which you can cut everything at once right in the bowl, solves this problem.
Goodful herb scissors
Another common problem with meal preparation and chopping is this: Chopping herbs is kind of the worst! If you’re often frustrated with chopping basil, parsley, cilantro, and other fresh herbs, but don’t want to forego the wonderful taste they add to your food, herb scissors are a lifesaver for you.
Oxo Good Grips Salad Dressing Shaker
According to the experts we spoke to, switching dressings and sauces is key to avoiding meal planning. Instead of buying expensive and often unhealthy salad dressings from the store, try making a habit of making your own. This dressing and sauce holder makes it easy by giving measurements on the outside of the bottle so you can mix the ingredients right in the container.
Baggy rack holder for food preparation
If zippered bags are your preferred food storage containers, know that filling them – especially when it comes to very liquid foods like chilli or stews – can be a real mess. These baggy holders solve that problem and allow you to create some sort of packaging assembly line that makes it easier for you to move food from the pot to the storage container.
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