Meal prep is all the rage these days among busy families, but how do you get started? Today, let’s talk about some of my meal prep must haves for a successful prep day.
I have spent most of my adult life swearing that meal prep days are more trouble than they’re worth. As much as I enjoy cooking, I really don’t like giving up an entire day to do it. So, I refused for the longest time.
In January, I suddenly found myself in the mood to prep all of our veggies for the week after I shopped. I got in the zone, and before I knew it, I had prepped everything I needed for the week.
For the first time in months, I managed a home-cooked meal every single night. Even Tuesdays and Thursdays, which are our busiest nights of the week. It was amazing! And I wasn’t even stressed! I decided it was worth trying, so I did it again the next week, and the next.
It’s now been 6 solid weeks of meal prepping and I don’t think I’m going to stop. My biggest worry was that it didn’t really save much time, but with these tools and a little organization, it’s actually saved me time!
I want to share my secret meal prep must haves for success!
Meal prep can turn into a ton of work if you’re not careful. It’s best to approach it with a plan, which I learned after my first impromptu meal-prep day where I found myself in the kitchen for hours.
Now that I’ve done it several weeks in a row, though, I’ve figured out my system. I make a lot of the same things over and over, which really helps, too, like:
- overnight oats or chia pudding for breakfast
- chopped veggies
- salad dressing
- “Hangry Pockets”
- a whole chicken to use for lunches or quick dinners
- bone broth
- boiled eggs
- dry beans
It sounds like a lot, but with a few key tools, I’ve managed to get my time in the kitchen down to nearly nothing. Since I’m about to head in there now and prep for the week, I thought I’d share my favorite meal prep must-have tools and what I use them for!
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A Meal Plan
Having a plan and knowing what you need for the week is crucial for meal prepping. I like to write out a menu before I start prepping so I can refer to it while I’m in t
he kitchen. I use this printable menu planner, which you are welcome to grab right here!
You had to know this would be on the list, right? Instant Pots are all the rage right now, and for good reason if you ask me! I’ve had mine (and used it regularly) for years now, but my new favorite way to use it is for Meal Prep Mondays. This one gadget does the majority of my cooking during meal prep, and honestly, I think it’d be nice to have two.
I use this to prep my:
- boiled eggs (best boiled eggs ever)
- “rotisserie” chicken (I brown the skin before I cook it)
- bone broth (3 hours!)
This is honestly the gadget that had me in the kitchen on that first Monday in January. I found a bread recipe that called for a food processor and couldn’t find a way around it. Honestly, I’ve never had one before, so I figured it was time to buy one.
I sent my husband out for something simple, which he can never do. He comes back with the best one he can find at the store, and promptly started sharing all of it’s features with me while he unboxed it.
As I looked through the pamphlet, I realized how much faster this would make dinners. And then I thought…I’d have to take it apart and wash it every night if I use it like that. That’s the moment I decided to chop all of my veggies in one day, so I could wash it once and put it away for the week.
It was amazing. I chopped so many veggies, and it really did make dinner faster every night. If you don’t have a food processor yet, I’ve really loved this one so far!
Need some cauli rice? Cole slaw? Zoodles? It makes pretty quick work of it all!
Final thoughts on meal prep days and the must-have tools:
Meal prepping has been an interesting journey so far. I can’t believe how much easier it’s made my week nights, though! If I’d only realized sooner how easy it could be, I would have started ages ago! Have you jumped on the meal prep bandwagon yet? If not, why? With a few must-have tools, you can take this from an all day event to something that just takes a few hours!