Samantha is an Ottawa-based writer who runs a crafty side hustle creating jewellery for her nature-inspired brand. When she's not killing the craft show game, she indulges in good food frequently, enjoys cuddling with her pug, and is a sucker for a good Netflix binge. Learn more about Samantha @samanthadolly on Instagram.
Maybe you’re looking to cut down on the amount of days you order in takeout, or you’re ready to hunker down on your healthy lifestyle goals. Regardless of your motives, one of the best ways to stay on track with healthy eating is to prepare and plan your meals ahead of time. To do that, you’ll need a handful of kitchen items to ensure you slay those goals and become your healthiest, best self. Here are some essentials to get you started.
1. Measuring Cups & Spoons
It might sound simple, but measuring cups are one of the most important things any gal needs to meal prep like a pro. There are a lot of options out there, but stick to something practical and to your liking.
2. Food Scale
Not sure what three ounces of chicken looks like, or how to measure it in a cup? Food scales comes in handy for exactly this reason! Invest in a small digital scale that can easily be stored in a cupboard or on your countertop. It’s great for weighing meat and other hard-to-measure ingredients.
3. Vegetable Steamer
When you’re crunched for time and can’t commit to boiling water or sautéing your vegetables, a silicone steamer comes in handy. Look for one that is microwave safe; this helps you save time and stay on track with your meal planning.
4. Non-Stick Pans
Investing in a couple non-stick frying pans will be the best decision you’ve ever made. Not only are they essential for meal prepping, they’ll save you from using a ton of fatty oils while cooking. Whether you’re frying up an egg, or sautéing some veggies — a good pan will make you feel like a master chef.
Whether you’re making your morning smoothie or blending your own hummus, a blender is essential to meal prepping. If you don’t have room (or the funds) for a big fancy one, there are single portion options available that work just as great, and help you stay on budget.
6. Food Storage Containers
Do you ever scroll through #healthyeating on Instagram and swoon over all those amazing shots of people’s prepped meals in containers? Spoiler: that could totally be you! The first step is getting yourself some good food storage containers. We recommend a glass option for microwave safe, and fresher meals.
7. Mason Jars
In addition to food storage containers, get yourself some mason jars to store your breakfast, like these overnight fridge oats! They’re super versatile and fit nicely into lunch bags and your cup holder in the car.
8. Muffin Trays
Muffin trays are another versatile item you need in your kitchen. Even if you’re not into baking, they can be used to prepare breakfast egg cups, protein balls, healthy chocolate peanut butter cups and so much more!
9. Slow Cooker
If you really want to prep like a pro, hop on the slow cooker bandwagon and discover a world of easy, delicious and healthy meals. Sometimes meal prepping can be intimidating, and we easily opt out by finding excuses like, “It takes too much time!” With a slow cooker, you can make anything from chilli to shredded buffalo chicken while you’re at work, in bed, or at the gym!
10. Bulk Pantry Food
If you’re just starting out with meal prepping, there are a couple of bulk pantry foods that will come in handy. Make sure to have plenty of grains like quinoa, couscous, and rice, which work well as a base. Canned beans and lentils are also great staples for adding protein to any dish. Lastly, get yourself some spices like pink Himalayan rock salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic powder, and any other favourites you like.
11. Vegetable Spiralizer
If you’re trying to cut carbs or eat less packaged food, try a food spiralize. Not only can you make zoodles (zucchini noodles) you can even make your own curly sweet potato fries, or just cut your favourite salad ingredients into cool stringy shapes! Opt for a small handheld gadget if you don’t have room for the full-size version.
12. Lunch Bag
Lunch bags no longer just come with your favourite cartoon character on them, although we still think it’s cool if you have a Care Bears lunch box. You can buy leather bags and even ones that look like purses. Once you’ve prepped your tasty food, storing it directly in your lunch bag will make it easier to grab in the morning, eliminating all excuses to order in for lunch.
Now that you’ve got the tools you need to meal prep like a queen, go forth and have a healthy, happy New Year!