Meal planning can be a great way to save time and money, while also ensuring you eat healthy meals. It’s the process of taking some time to plan out your meals for a certain period so that you don’t have to think about what to make when hunger strikes. Meal planning involves creating and following through on a meal plan as well as creating shopping lists or online grocery orders based on that plan.
Starting a meal planning routine is simple: all it takes is an understanding of what meal planning is, setting aside a little bit of time each week for it, and committing yourself to stick with the plan throughout the week.
The first step in any successful meal-planning strategy is to get all the essential tools and containers that you need to rely on consistently. From baking sheets to Tupperware, we round up all the absolute must-have items in your kitchen so that meal prep becomes simple and easy for you.
1. A Slowcooker
A slow cooker or electric pressure cooker (such as an Instant Pot) can be a real-time-saver. These appliances allow you to easily cook large batches of food and store them in the fridge so that you have food ready for an entire week. In most cases, all you have to do is dump the ingredients in, turn it on, and come back to a finished meal by the end of the day. You can make so many different meals in a slow cooker, from soups to shredded chicken.
2. Food Storage Containers
You’ll need containers to store prepped and cooked meals, so make sure to invest in a set of good-quality storage containers with lids that securely seal shut. The last thing you want to have to happen is for your meal for the day to spill out in your bag on your way to work. So don’t go cheap with food storage containers. Quality matters when it comes to this tool.
3. Baking Sheets
Baking sheets are a meal prepper’s best friend. Not only can you get the large baking sheet to make a triple batch of a recipe, but it keeps your actual role in cooking very simple. For example, if you are wanting to roast vegetables for the week, all you have to do is cut them up, spice them up, and put them on your baking sheet. This valuable kitchen tool ends up doing the rest of the work for you.
4. Mason Jars
Mason jars or other glass containers are great for prepping salads. You can layer all the ingredients like lettuce, proteins, and veggies in the jar with any dressing on top. From there, simply shake and dump the meal into a bowl or eat right outside of the jar itself. This tool gives a level of sophistication to meal prepping and makes your meals also look even more delicious from simply the presentation of it.
5. Meal Planning Apps
Let’s talk technology. If you are looking for easy ways to plan out meals for the week, then check out the range of meal-planning apps you can download on your phone. These apps, such as the Eating Enlightenment Food Journal App, make it easier than ever to plan out your meals in a matter of minutes and often even write your shopping list for you. No matter what your dietary goals or restrictions are, meal-planning apps will have recipes that suit your specific needs.
6. Great Cutting Knives
Meal preparation means that you are likely going to be doing a lot of cutting. So having a sharp knife is essential and something you’ll want to invest in. A sharp cleaver, for example, helps you tackle tedious chopping tasks more efficiently. It’s like having a secret weapon in the kitchen that enables you to chop like a pro. It will make you feel like a real badass in the kitchen and allow you to channel your inner Chef Gordon Ramsey.
Having all these tools at your disposal will make meal planning every week that much easier to do. With a few hours in the kitchen and using these essential tools, you’ll be able to have delicious meals ready to go throughout the week! These six tips are a great way to make meal prepping easy, fun, and delicious. From containers to baking sheets and knives, make sure your kitchen is ready to go with all the essentials.