Copy of Meal Prep Essentials

Meal Prep Essentials

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Assorted kitchen items that are used for meal prep. Items are described in more detail in the post.

All the basic tools that I use in the kitchen to streamline my food preparation! I will go over the basic items that I use to prep my food items, store prepared foods, and organize my pantry for ease of use.

Don’t stress if you don’t have all of these items! I have slowly built up my kitchen supplies over the past few years. I recommend taking note of which items you think would make the biggest impact on your food prep and save up for those first.

Also, I highly recommend saving for high quality items. If you purchase cheap items, you will spend more money in the long run replacing them. (Not to mention frustration from kitchen tools that don’t work properly!) I usually have kitchen items on my birthday and Christmas lists. They are perfect gifts so if you have a tool that you love, it might make a good gift for someone you know!

Prep Tools

Baking Sheets

I use my baking sheets every few days, mostly to roast big batches of veggies! I love these Nordic Ware commercial baking sheets. I keep two half sheets and one big sheet on hand. Make sure to keep them clean and protected by using parchment paper, foil, or silicone baking mats!

Can Opener

This seems like a pretty straightforward item to have on hand, but I have gone through my share of cheap can openers that stop working after a few months to a year. Recently we purchased this Oxo Can Opener one and I love it! I have found that Oxo products are high quality and always last longer than other brands we own.

Cast Iron Skillet

This is my husbands favorite kitchen item! Cast Iron Skillets are awesome to cook with and usually pretty cheap! They are easy to use and clean.

CrockPot

I will be honest, I have not jumped on the Instant Pot wagon. I received one for Christmas a few years ago and felt like it was taking me too long to learn how to use it easily.

I am very familiar with my CrockPot so that is my go-to! I recommend getting a larger one so you can prep big batches.

Cutting Boards

Cutting boards (I like having a few on hand so I can use one for cutting meat and another for produce without having to wash in between each use!)

High-Speed Blender

High-Speed Blender: I never realized how useful one was until I met my husband 6 years ago and started using his Blendtec. Now 6 years later, it still blends like a champ and we use it on a daily basis! My food processor recently gave up on me and I have since only used our Blendtec for chopping and pulsing foods. It is also invaluable for making smoothies, soups, and pureed food!

High Quality Knife Set

I am still searching for a well made knife set! If you have any recommendations send them my way. I am starting to save money so I can invest in a set that will last me awhile.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

I try to keep our kitchen pretty minimal, but measuring cups and spoons are a few items that I keep multiples on hand! Nothing is more frustrating that having to hunt down a measuring utensil in the middle of cooking and prepping!

I love these stainless steel measuring spoons from Target because they fit into most of my spice bottles!

Muffin Pan

I cook a lot of muffins so having a good muffin pan is a necessity! Grab some silicone liners to save yourself the hassle of scrubbing each little cup and ruining your pan. I also use my muffin pan for cooking egg cups and freezing oatmeal portions (check out my Freezer Friendly Oatmeal Recipe to see how!)

Non-Stick Skillet

I love using our cast-iron skillet, but if I want to prep something quick without much cleanup – I opt for our non-stick skillet. I prefer this for making eggs, quesadillas, and pancakes.

I discovered this non-stick skillet by T-fal two years ago and love it! I clean and dry it by hand to keep it well maintained. I also only use silicone or wood utensils.

Pots & Pans

I use a large stock pot (6qt) and two small saucepans (2qt) on a regular basis. Find a set that you love!

This Made By Design Stock Pot is what I currently use and love.

Silicone Baking Cups

If you bake muffins these silicone baking liners are an absolute must! No more batter sticking to paper liners. They are also great for holding dips and small snacks inside a lunch box container!

Silicone Baking Mats

For the cost of 2 boxes of parchment paper, you can invest in silicone baking mats that last forever! I love these for roasting veggies and baking.

Stainless Steel Cookie Scoop

This stainless steel cookie scoop is another baking must-have! I use it for scooping muffin batter, pancakes, cookies, and more!

Wooden Utensils

I prefer using wooden utensils so I don’t scratch my pots or pans. Also wooden spoons tend to break up ground meat easier when you are browning. This Oxo Good Grips Utensil Set is a great choice!


Food Storage

Mason Jars

These are one of the best investments! I started using the 4oz jars when Avery started solids and I was making my own purees.

I also recommend investing in the plastic lids. They work so much better than the metal ones that get rusty. They are also freezer-safe so perfect for making big batches and storing for later. Make sure you buy the right sized lids for your jars (regular or wide mouth). Here is a package that contains 8 of each size.

I like having a variety of jar sizes, here’s how I use a few different ones:

  • 4 ounce jars: Baby food, applesauce and pudding single servings, dressings, sides, etc.
  • 12 or 16 ounce jars: Overnight oats, sauces, juice, etc.
  • 32 ounce jars: large batches of applesauce, large batches of sauce like marinara

Pyrex Snapware Glass Containers

These are my absolute food storage containers! They are airtight, leak-proof, dishwasher, freezer, and microwave safe. You can even write on the lids with dry erase markers! I prep and store all of my meals in these because you can easily pop them in the freezer for fridge until you are ready to eat.

I purchased two sets from Costco a few years ago for a decent price. Most the ones on Amazon seem to be more expensive for some reason. Make sure you get the glass set because they also have plastic ones that look very similar.

Here’s a link to one set from Amazon.

Here’s another small set from Walmart that seems more affordable.

Take & Toss Containers

I use these Take & Toss containers for taking dry snacks on the go. They are lightweight and really cheap. I usually have a few in my diaper bag filled with trail mix, crackers, and fresh fruit.

Pantry Organization

Oxo Pop Food Storage Set

I had my eye on these containers for awhile and finally purchased a set. I love them because you can easily see what’s inside and they stack perfectly. I use a glass marker to write what the contents are (I also write the expiration date & any instructions I need on the back side!)

I love the clean uniform look they give to my pantry and can’t wait to purchase more! They are pricey so shop around and try to find somewhere that will accept a coupon.

Spice Organizers

I’ve noticed that the healthier I cook, the more variety of spices I use! I like being able to quickly access my spices without digging around in a cupboard. I use a simple tiered shelf for my smaller spice bottles and a small lazy susan for larger containers.

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