I’ve got 10 rock solid tips to help you meal prep for the week like a pro, and I’m not talking about lame ideas like make a shopping list and don’t stress out. These are actionable ideas that will help you out with your meal prep lifestyle. From showing you the must-have kitchen tools, to pantry staples, you are going to walk away feeling more confident about your cooking skills and more determined to stay on your healthy meal prep lifestyle.
Kitchen Tools To Help You Meal Prep Like An Iron Chef
A chef is only as good as his tools, and these are my must-have tools to navigate the kitchen and rock your meal prep recipes like a boss. All of these kitchen tools can be found on Amazon.
Large cast iron pan: If it was good enough for grandma, it’s good enough for you. You can cook everything but eggs in your cast iron pan. Nothing distributes heat quite like it, and nothing sears meat the way cast iron does.
Large non-stick pan: Do you see where I am going, bigger is better! You can always add less ingredients to a pan, but you can’t increase its surface area. You are going to need non-stick pan to cook seafood, veggies, and anything you don’t feel like busting out your cast iron pan for.
Cutting boards: You will need two cutting boards for all of that meal prep you are going to do. A large wooden board will handle everything except raw meat and protein, which have bacteria that can breed in the wood and cause contamination. A large surface area will prevent you from chasing veggies on the floor. Trust me, I’ve been there. A plastic cutting board should have rubber around the edges so it does not slide around when being used to prep for recipes.
8 inch chefs knife: 99% of the chopping you will do for meal prep can be done with a good chefs knife. I have ones that cost $15 and one that cost over $200. You can choose either one and don’t bother buying any other knife besides a pairing knife.
Microplane Zester: Fans of the FlavCity YouTube channel do not call me obsessed with zest for no reason, or #ObZest. I love how you can zest fresh lemon, orange, or lime over the top of any dish and totally transform the flavor and add a subtle pop of acid. The microplane is also my favorite way to grate parmesan and pecorino romano cheese as it creates this snow shower that is so darn beautiful.
Lemon & Lime Juicer: Once you have zested the citrus, you are most likely going to squeeze some juice into something. Instead of using your hands and feeling the burn on that fresh paper cut, you can use a citrus juicer that can squeeze way more juice out than your hands can. Trust me.
Half sheet tray: People always ask me how my sheet trays stay so clean. It’s because I buy news ones as soon as the old ones get nasty. They are cheap, durable, and a meal prep essential for all veggies and chicken you will be cooking in the oven.
Splatter Guard: Sometimes the clean up process takes more time than the actual cooking! Make sure that never happens again by using this guard to cover the pan while you are cooking something because it blocks the oil from going all over the place.
Probe Thermometer: Never overcook another piece of chicken or meat by using this digital probe thermometer that stays inside the meat while its baking in the oven. It has an alarm that tells you when it has reached the desired cooking temperature.
Glass meal prep containers: More on this later, but glass is the only way to go.
Make Meal Prep Easy By Using The Same Ingredients For Different Meals
Plan to make meal prep recipes that use many of the same ingredients. That way you are not buying one-off ingredients that you will never use again. Some of my favorite ingredients to use are kale, chicken thighs, cauliflower, shirataki noodles, and green beans.
Check out this meal prep recipe featuring 10 fresh ingredients that makes 5 different meals. It’s amazing how you can make breakfast, lunch, and dinner with ease.
What’s In Your Pantry?
Having a stocked pantry is the key to adding flavor and creating various types of meal prep recipes at a moment’s notice. When you have a fully loaded pantry, you can literally make any meal you want, and these items will last you a long time. Make sure you have a variety of spices on hand. My favorites are smoked paprika, cumin, ancho child powder, turmeric, and coriander. Try to buy spices from a spice shop or the bulk section of Whole Foods – the ones at the grocery store have been sitting on the shelves for gosh knows how long – and ground spices start to lose their flavor after 3 months.
Make sure to always cook with kosher salt and finish with Maldonado or flaky sea salt if desired. Carry different vinegars like balsamic, red wine, and rice wine vinegar. Cooking and finishing oils are a must. Carry olive oil, avocado oil, and grape seed oil for cooking with heat, and use extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over a finished dish.
Carry condiments in your pantry like low sodium soy sauce, toasted sesame oil (store in fridge), hot sauce, agave nectar, honey, and coconut milk. Also carry grains on hand like rice, quinoa, millet, hemp hearts, and beans.
What To Store In My Freezer For Meal Prep?
It’s important to have a stocked freezer when making meal prep recipes. Even though I almost always use fresh veggies, there are ones that taste equally good frozen and are quite handy when the fresh ones are out of season. Frozen corn, peas, edamame, carrots, and cooked brown rice are my favorites. Frozen and cooked brown rice is a game changer. It comes in handy when you want to make a meal prep recipe quickly, but don’t have time to boil the rice.
Costco Is Your Best Friend
This may seem obvious, but stock up on non-perishable items at Costco like nut butters, nuts, almond flour, coconut milk, and cooking oils. You will be using lots of those items to meal prep, so why not save some money?
Why I Love Glass Meal Prep Containers
Glass meal prep containers are much safer than plastic ones and perfect for warming in the oven or microwave. I don’t care what they say about plastic meal prep containers being safe for the microwave. That is total garbage. The chemicals from the plastic are not safe for the food. End of story.
How Long Can I Store Meal Prep?
Most meal prep recipes can be stored in the fridge for 5 days or frozen for 2-3 months. Make sure to keep sauces and dressings separate from protein and salads, and only dress them right before you want to enjoy them. Some meal prep items like cauliflower rice and salads don’t freeze well and get soggy when defrosted.
What Is The Best Way To Reheat Meal Prep?
The best way to reheat meal prep is in a 350 degree F oven for 7-10 minutes. If using the microwave, place a wet paper towel over the container and make sure not to overheat as the food can dry out. You can also use the hot logic mini. It’s a great way to reheat meals at work or school.
Snack Recipes For Meal Prep
Between lunch and dinner is when most people ruin their diet and eat bad food, which is why snack meal prep is a must. Having healthy snacks will keep you on your dietary goals and get you though the roughest part of the day.
Try some of my favorite snack meal prep recipes:
- Low carb cauliflower tots
- Dessi’s sugar free keto biscotti
- Whole wheat pizza balls
- Grain free everything crackers
- Keto bagels
How Do I Calculate Macros?
I hope you found these meal prep tips useful and will equip you to be better in the kitchen. Now I think you are ready to make some of my favorite meal prep recipes:
- Roasted chicken salad with cloud bread
- Low carb burrito bowl
- Moroccan chicken stew with cauliflower rice
- Breakfast meal prep
- Six ingredient chicken curry