This is a special blog series from Erin Stimac, an Iron Tribe Fitness coach in Louisville, Ky. Erin swears by prepping her meals beforehand to get the most out of her workouts. Follow Erin on Instagram to see what she’s making each week!
The essential tools for meal prepping!
In part 1 we discussed what to fill your grocery cart with to get you started on your meal prepping journey. Now we’re going to dig into some of the best kitchen tools that have helped me keep things quick, easy, efficient and FUN in the kitchen.
This list of tools will make it easier to create awesome meals, snacks, and treats that help you look and feel your best!
A GOOD mini blender
I have gone through my fair share of blenders. I use them a LOT, so I think it’s worth investing in a good one. I like a blender that can handle blending up a yummy coffee in the morning (hot or cold) so my current favorite is my Ninja with the single serve cup.
There are about a million different options for “noodle makers” where you can transform many different types of veggies into pasta-like strands. There are a couple main options: handheld (best for doing one meal at a time) or a spiralizer that can quickly turn multiple veggies into noodles with a few turns of a crank.
The heavenly life-saving crock pot
Crock pots are cheap and everywhere these days. You don’t have to spend much to get a large, programmable one, but they are a MUST when it comes to meal prep because they are fail proof and easy. Most recipes that you’ll use the crock pot for you just set it and forget it! It doesn’t get much easier than that!
Again, many different varieties, but when I am in a hurry I love to throw some veggies in the microwave and in 5 minutes they are done. I simply add my fat of choice and some meat and voila! Dinner is served! There are also options for steamer baskets or stand alone steamer contraptions, but I love the microwave one because it’s so easy.
A slightly pricier kitchen contraption that is not absolutely essential but nice to have on hand is the food processor. (This one’s my favorite) Honestly, I used to use mine a lot more for things like cauliflower rice and to shred cabbage for slaw, but now I just buy the bagged rice or slaw and call it good. A food processor does save a lot of time when you need to quickly slice, shred, mash or even make your own nut butter!
Set of legit pots and pans
I have gone through my fair share of crappy pans before investing in some good ones. A NICE set of stainless pans (or a nice non stick one) will really make a big difference in your cooking. A cast iron skillet is really nice (but not essential) because you can sear meat with it and place it in the oven to finish cooking. I love having a griddle and use it frequently, especially when cooking breakfast foods for more than 2 people. Protein pancakes, eggs and even burgers are quick and easy on a great non-stick griddle.
A good knife
I would rather have one or two nice knives in my kitchen than a whole set of cheap and dull knives. Personally, I use my chopping and carving knives for most things.
Measuring cups and spoons
I would recommend two sets of each. With these I don’t think the quality matters as much as they all function for measuring!
Having a food scale can really be a beneficial kitchen tool. I am not saying you have to measure every morsel that goes into your mouth, but it helps to have an idea with how much you are eating from time to time. Especially to train yourself to gage portion sizes. Get a scale that allows you to put a plate or bowl on top and “tare” the weight to it starts at zero. It is also helpful to have the ability to measure in grams or ounces.
Mixing bowls, baking sheets and cutting boards
Same idea as with the measuring cups and spoons, I have some cheap and some nice and they all do the trick. If the baking sheets are cheap, make sure they get replaced if the coating starts to wear. My favorite cutting boards are the flexible ones that can be thrown in the dishwasher if you don’t feel like hand washing. I have designated cutting boards for chicken, beef, and vegetables.
Why used a can non-stick spray full of lots of things you don’t need when you can use a misto? This AWESOME tool can be filled with olive oil and used in place of the aerosol sprays. I LOVE mine and highly recommend! I use it when lightly roasting veggies, making eggs, or making my own sweet potato fries! You can do a light mist over the food instead of coating it in oil.