If you want to eat clean and build your motivation to maintain and exceed your fitness goals, mastering the art of food prep is a must. Proper food prep will help you avoid bad eating habits and make incorporating a healthy diet into your routine easier than ever. Whether you work long hours or just need that extra push, food prep is simply essential.
Nowadays everybody and their mothers are getting down with meal prepping. The meal prep trend has risen dramatically in the past couple years and is growing stronger than ever! Many people that participate in this meal prep lifestyle are often identified by the phrase, meal prepster, coined from the term hipsters. Either way it’s a way of life that promotes healthy living and self-control.
If you’re serious about meal prepping,eating clean, and creating a healthier future for yourself then there are certain things that you should be equipped with. The following kitchen tools and equipment will undoubtedly make anentire meal prep process much easier in many ways. Meal prepping is an art in itself and without the proper gear then you’re essentially setting yourself up to either fail, give up or just creating a headache for yourself.
Meal prep planning requires going to the grocery store or local supermarket and purchasing the ingredients and materials needed for prepping meals. It’s not a huge surprise when we say that grocery shopping can be an unnecessary extensive ordeal if you’re unprepared. Thankfully there is an abundance of tools and smart phone apps that provides a nice helping hand in creating shopping lists, therefore reducing the time spent aimlessly wandering around searching for produce and ingredients that you might or might not need. Shopping list food apps have been around for a long time and their efficiency is often under appreciated. If you’re interested then check out our meal prepster grocery list planning app reviews page.
The following list covers basic but essential meal prep gear and tools:
Meal prep containers are absolutely essential for a healthy meal prep for several different reasons.
[list][item icon=”fa-star” ]Healthy food freshness: Meal containers help prevent food from spoiling quickly and prolongs the freshness of the food within them.[/item]
[item icon=”fa-star” ]Contaminant Prevention: Container lids conveniently seals out bad air and insect/bug contaminants and helps to preserve healthy nutrient rich meals.[/item]
[item icon=”fa-star” ]Portion control: The size of a meal prep container ensures proper portioning and food intake. 28 oz containers is a good size to hold enough food for a well balanced meal.[/item]
Investment in quality or heavy-duty meal prep containers goes a long way. Some important key features to keep in mind when purchasing prep containers include: Durability, Stack-ability, Microwave-safe, Freezer-safe, Dishwasher-safe, Reusability, Material (plastic or glass), and Size. Click here for a complete and thorough list of the various and best types of meal containers or get check out these good old reliable Pyrex containers here.
Meal Management Bags
Healthy and controlled eating can be quite difficult for most of those who have jobs. A notable point of meal prepping is to make workweeks and daily routines easier so it’s beneficial to have a way to store prepped meals in an organized and easy access manner. Buying an appropriate and affordable meal management bag or lunch bag will further enhance a healthy meal prep lifestyle. Things to note when browsing for meal prep container bags include:
- Compartment type, quantity and size
- Bag size and weight
- Freezer gel bags
- Material type
- Type of straps (hand or shoulder)
One of our favorite meal prep management bags is from 6 Pack Fitness which can be found here. There are plenty of other excellent meal bags available as well. We review the best meal prep management bags here.
Meal Planner / Grocery List
Think of meal prepping as a game plan or strategy and attaining a healthier lifestyle is the goal of the game. It can be a mental challenge and become overwhelming if you don’t jot down notes or a grocery list. You’re probably thinking how hard is it to make a simple grocery list right? What you are forgetting is how easy it is to become impulsive while you’re browsing around the grocery store. With a well planned list there can be many overlooked benefits. Benefits such as:
- Reducing or preventing impulse purchases.
- Buying unnecessary food or ingredients that end up spoiling.
- Spending less time at the store.
- Saving yourself multiple trips to the store because you forgot to buy a particular ingredient.
- Identifying and incorporating healthier foods into your diet.
- Ultimately saving money.
I’m sure there’s additional benefits that can be said but you probably get the point. With that said, thankfully there are a plethora of smartphone, tablet, and PC apps that are just waiting for you to download and utilize. Best of all is that there are so many free applications available for each platform. For the more serious meal prepsters, there are premium apps that will run you a couple of bucks or cost a monthly subscription fee.
Check out our list of our favorite Meal planner apps and software for phone, tablet, and or laptop here.
One of our favorites would definitely have to be Paprika as it has such a beautiful user interface and is just plain simple to use overall.
So you have all the ingredients needed to start meal prepping and need to portion out various quantities of ingredients for each meal. Having an accurate and precise food scale available will definitely help you weigh out individual serving sizes for your meals. Nowadays it’s much easier to measure and weigh food and liquids using programmable digital scales like the Ozeri Pro Digital Kitchen Food Scale, which we highly recommend as it’s affordable, simple, and easy to use.
Consider the following criteria when you’re in the market a new or replacement food scale:
- Available Budget
- Ease of reading the numerical values.
- Surface area size & compactness
- Ease of cleaning and storage
Measuring Cups & Spoons
Acquiring the perfect tasting meal or most healthy and nutritious meals can easily be dependent on having the appropriate measuring devices such as measuring cups and spoons. Yes eyeballing ingredient quantities can work for some people but for us normal people it’s recommended to use various measuring cup and spoon sizes to accurately measure out healthy ingredient portions especially since portion size does play a vital role in a complete and healthy meal prep. Having too much of any given ingredient can result in undesired taste and caloric intake. You can find an assortment of measuring cups and spoons that we use and recommend here.
Anybody that cooks or attempts to cook knows how important and necessary knives are. It’s pretty common sense to know that sharp knives perform much better than dull knives and so it’s highly recommended to have a quality set of sharp knives. Having ninja sharp knives allows for a finer precision cut which essentially helps with creating the perfect portion controlled meals. Lesser force is needed to cut through tougher meats, fruits, or vegetables. Overall it really does make your meals or food in general that much more appetizing and appealing.
On top of the neat and clean cuts that is achieved with sharp knives, it also makes slicing things more controlled and predictable. Whereas the rough edges or blade of a dull knife will created jagged cuts and can be much more unpredictable. Being unpredictable could definitely lead to greater risks of accidentally cutting yourself or even slicing your finger off! Okay that may have been exaggerated but it does happen… so better safe than sorry. To sum things all up, utilizing sharp knives is highly suggested to make your meal prep more efficient and enjoyable while significantly reducing any potential harm. Click here or on the knives to check out our recommended ergonomic ceramic knives that we absolutely love my Moi Chef.
What good are knives for if you don’t have a suitable cutting board to slice and dice your healthy ingredients for your meals? Having a quality solid cutting board helps protect and prevent damaging your precious countertops. On top of that, knives tend to maintain their sharpness and durability. They are also convenient for simply dicing up your vegetables, herbs, meats, and basically any type of food allowing you slide them right into your skillet or pot without making much of a mess. Make sure to consider having multiple cutting boards to be used exclusively for different types of meats and produce. That way it effectively reduces or prevents any type of cross contamination between your ingredients.
There are a couple different types of cutting boards and the most common types are plastic and wooden boards. It’s advisable to have at least a couple inexpensive plastic boards and a quality wooden board. Of course it all comes down to your own preference so it’s good to try out various types. Generally, cutting boards are not that pricey so that’s also good. You can check out all types of the best cutting boards here.
Often referred to as a crockpot and is an extremely valuable appliance to have in the kitchen. They’re excellent time-savers and perfect for set-and-forget situations. If you’re a beginner or busy person this is a must have since it enables you to basically dump all your ingredients into the pot and slowly cooks your meals to your liking while you engage in other priorities or activities. We love using it for beef stews and pot roast meals as it makes the meat and veggies come out super tender.
This slow cooking method might be new to some of you but fret, it’s extremely easy to master and create delicious dishes for your meal prep or your whole family! Make sure to read the manual thoroughly to get a good grasp on the cooking times for each type of food or ingredient. The best slow cooker for meal prepping that we’ve come to love is this 6-quart programmable Slow Cooker from Crock-Pot.