Meal prep is the make-it-or-break-it of eating healthy, consistently. It is well known that prepping your food ahead of time is the key to successful dieting. After all, they do say “fail to plan means planning to fail!” While meal prep can make your dieting life easier, that doesn’t mean it’s easy itself. It can be a challenge to know how to meal prep, what to meal prep, and how to keep it fresh and interesting. These 12 must-have meal prep accessories will help you be a whiz in the kitchen, and make your meal prepping life a breeze.
The one thing we don’t want is to spend hours and hours in the kitchen during our precious weekend time just so we can eat healthy throughout the week. Having the right meal prep accessories can make your cooking game so much easier. From the right knives to the right containers, each meal prep accessory was carefully chosen to ensure the meal prep process is as smooth as possible. Let’s dive right in so you can get your meal prep started!
Meal Prep Accessories: #1 Meal Prep Containers
We absolutely have to start with the essentials. Meal prep is all about portion control and easy storage, therefore we need great containers for the food to go in. For meal prep containers, look for some that are microwave and dishwasher-safe because easy clean-up is necessary as well. You could go the plastic route if you want a one-use type of container, but that can easily be a waste. Glass meal prep containers are a great option because they reheat well, store the food well, and don’t leave weird tastes in your food once you microwave it again.
#2 Color Coded Cutting Boards
Cross-contamination is a consideration when meal prepping. You definitely don’t want to cut your veggies on the same board that you chopped up your raw chicken on. Color-coded cutting boards keep everything crystal clear, neat, and tidy. No worries about spreading bacteria or making yourself sick when you have these on hand.
Meal Prep Accessories: #3 Quality Knives
The most dangerous knife is a dull knife! Invest in a good set of knives for chopping, dicing, and slicing various ingredients. Sweet potatoes, while highly nutritious, are sometimes so hard to cut and chop. A quality knife makes the process much easier, so you’re not spending precious time trying to fight the ingredients into smaller portions. Raw chicken can also be difficult to cut, and chicken is a popular staple for meal prep, so you want to make sure your knives are up to the task.
Meal Prep Accessories: #4 A Food Scale
A food scale is useful for measuring precise portions, especially if you're following a specific diet plan. If you’ve ever “eyeballed” a portion of peanut butter, and then weighed it out in grams, you know what I’m talking about. A food scale - to weigh your portions in grams or ounces - is the most accurate way to know what you’re consuming. Unfortunately, we aren’t too good at eyeballing portion sizes. Try measuring a serving size of your favorite cereal on a food scale, and you’ll quickly see that “1 cup” is much smaller than you think.
#5 Mixing Bowls and Measuring Cups
Durable and various-sized mixing bowls are handy for combining ingredients and marinating proteins. Marinating chicken or other lean meats helps keep it flavorful, tender, as well as moist which is what you want if you’re going to be eating it all week. Measuring bowls with lids aids in keeping the meal prep process smooth and clean. Measuring cups also come in handy for portioning out rice, veggies, pasta, and other carbohydrates. Both are definitely must-have meal prep accessories.
Meal Prep Accessories: #6 Meal Prep Bags or Insulated Lunch Boxes
You’ve got the meal prep containers. Now, how do you tote them around? An insulated meal prep bag of course. These are great for carrying your prepped meals to work or on the go. A lunch bag that fits your containers is a must-have accessory because you don’t want it sliding around in your purse or backpack, and you also need to make sure it stays cool until you’re ready to eat.
Meal Prep Accessories: #7 Mason Jars
Mason jars are must-have meal prep accessories because they are so versatile. They are Ideal for storing sauces, dressings, and individual servings of salads or overnight oats. A meal-prepped breakfast of overnight oats can get you out of the door on time each morning, feeling full and energized with healthy carbs. Having a healthy breakfast to start the day can change the course of the day. Add to that the fact that you don’t actually have to spend time making the breakfast, and it’s a win-win.
#8 Silicone Baking Mats
These non-stick mats are great for baking and can be used multiple times, reducing the need for parchment paper. Not only do they reduce the amount of waste that parchment paper produces, but they also make clean-up super easy. If you’ve never tried a silicone baking mat before, you’ll be amazed at how quickly and easily they clean. One wipe with a paper towel or a quick rinse in the sink, and they are brand new again. It’s like meal prep magic.
Meal Prep Accessories: #9 Vegetable Spiralizer
Veggies are a staple throughout many meal prep recipes, and what we don’t want is to get bored with it. A spiralizer enables you to create a variety of different veggies to keep things fun and inspiring. With a vegetable spiralizer, you could make low-carb spaghetti with zucchini noodles, a bed of fresh carrots to add crunch to grilled chicken, or even finely chopped onions and radishes for perfect salads.
#10 Slow Cooker or Instant Pot or Air Fryer
If I could tell you to just get one thing off this list, one of these appliances would be it, specifically an air fryer. Meal prep is all about saving time and calories, and that’s exactly what an air fryer does. Not only is it faster than an oven, but it saves you countless calories as well. With an air fryer, you can have french fries, roasted veggies, or crispy chicken, all without the extra calories from oil. The air fryer is the meal prep game changer for sure. All of these appliances are excellent for preparing large batches of soups, veggies, or proteins with minimal effort.
Meal Prep Accessories: #11 Reusable Utensils and Straws
If you're meal prepping for on-the-go, having reusable utensils and straws helps reduce single-use plastic waste. While a plastic fork, spoon, and knife combo is definitely easy to use and convenient, it can add up and produce a lot of waste. With reusable ones, you can have cute utensils for on-the-go, that are easy to clean and save you money in the end.
Meal Prep Accessories: #12 Lunchbox Dividers
These are useful for separating different components of your meal within a single container, maintaining flavors and textures. You may get the meal prep containers that have a divider already in them, but these lunchbox dividers are still must-have meal prep accessories. Especially the ones with little lids! You never know when you’ll want sauce on the go (or several sauces), or to keep your nuts, pretzels, and fruit all separate from your protein source. They are fantastic for making little bento box lunches.
Bonus! A Labeling System
Use labels or a marker to date your meal-prepped items, ensuring you know what's fresh and can easily identify contents in the freezer or fridge. A labeling system keeps things organized so you can ensure that no food goes to waste. An organized freezer and fridge allows you to quickly see what needs to be eaten first, and what needs to be saved for later. Having a labeling system within your fridge and pantry can keep the junk out of your brain, so you can think clearly and avoid decision fatigue.
Incorporating these essential meal prep accessories into your kitchen routine will undoubtedly elevate and streamline your healthy eating journey. With the right tools at your fingertips, you can save time, reduce stress, reduce waste, and ensure that your meals are not only delicious but also nutritionally balanced. From versatile storage containers to efficient cutting tools, these must-have accessories empower you to prepare flavorful dishes with ease. Embrace the art of meal prepping, and let these tools be your trusted companions in the kitchen. Happy prepping, and here's to a future filled with mouthwatering homemade meals and a healthier, happier you!
Get started with these 26 Easy Meal Prep Chicken Ideas!