Meal Prep for Beginners is by far my MOST popular and visited post on my blog, so I thought that I should do a follow up post in regards to the basic necessary items to make you a lean mean meal prepping machine!
If you haven't joined the Meal Prep Band Wagon, no worries, I lay the How-To out in this post and you can check out my category of Meal Prep Page for ideas and other simple how-to's of cooking food in bulk. If I can do it, you can too! (Because believe me, I am no gourmet chef!)
Now, this is a comprehensive list, you may not need ALL the items, or you may find that you need more depending on your Meal Prep Style and nutritional needs. As always, do what works best for you!
Meal Prep Basics - What You Need to Get Preppin'
A Plan - Seriously, write down WHAT you plan to prep, it's easy to forget when you're cooking five
things at once.
You can either plan:
- Specific Meals : include all items necessary to cook for that meal plus sides
- Meat, Veggies, Grains you plan to cook
(I do this method, then once the food is cooked, I make meal ideas for the week)
Tupperware Containers are going to be your new best friend
Select tupperware that is BPA Free or if you're fancy, use glass
Have MATCHING sizes/brands so your containers can easily stack or even interlock
My top choices are:
MealPrepster Containers - they come in THREE sizes and are durable and perfect for prepping
Rubbermaid - they have interlocking lids, stack nicely, and have an array of sizes
Betty Crocker - can be found at Dollar Tree, come in convenient sizes and stack well
Bebox* - Created by my friend Jenna they are COLLAPSIBLE and CUSTOMIZABLE containers
Isolator Fitness - these came with my Isobag, but I use them for their stackability
MealPreppies - Perfect for portioning out your Prepped Meals in ONE container!
*Go to www.mybebox.com and enter your email for a sweet discount! You won't be sorry!*
Supplies - this is an extensive list of ALL I have on hand, I do not use all items weekly
- Applesauce (No Sugar Added) - can be used for overnight oats, chicken, pork dishes, baking
- Baking Powder (make sure your brand is gluten free)
- Baking Soda
- Bread Crumbs (Gillian's is my favorite brand, or make your own used crushed corn/rice cereal)
- Beans (any variety if you can tolerate them, quick way to add in extra protein)
- Canola Oil Spray
- Canned Beets (No Salt Added)
- Canned Pineapple (No Sugar Added)
- Chicken Broth/Chicken Stock (make sure your brand is gluten free) for soups
- Cocoa Powder (Hershey's is my go to brand)
- Coconut Oil (not necessary, but I use it for Avocado Pudding and baking)
- Corn Starch (thickening agent)
- Chia Seeds
- Crushed Tomatoes (No Salt Added)
- Diced Tomatoes (No Salt Added)
- Gluten Free Old Fashioned Oats
- Gluten Free Pasta (although I never eat it, good to have on hand)
- Lemon Juice
- Lime Juice
- Marinades: I always have at least 3-4 varieties in my fridge and a back stock in my pantry
- Nuts (almonds, plain, unsalted)
- Nut Butters (Almond, Cashew, Peanut, Sunflower)
- Nutritional Yeast Flakes (cheese alternative)
- Olive Oil (Extra Virgin)
- Pumpkin Puree
- Powdered Peanut Butter
- Spices, Herbs, Seasonings: Basil Leaves, Cinnamon Powder, Chili Powder, Cumin, Garlic Powder, Garlic
Salt, Italian Herbed Seasoning, Oregano, Onion Powder, Lemon Pepper, Salt, Pepper, Taco
Seasoning(Homemade), McCormic Brand No Salt Added, and Mrs. Dash Salt Free, are my top choices
This is a limited list of options, and depending on your preferences may be much longer
- Rice Varieties (Brown, Basmati, Jasmine, Wild, Blends)
- Tomato Paste
- Tomato Sauce (Your favorite jar kind)
- Taco Shells
Based on your nutritional needs and palate preferences, you may add more items to this list, such as other canned fruits/vegetables, additional spices, grains, and flours!
Cookware - base your amount of pots/pans on how much food you will need to prep at once
Non-stick pots, pans, skillets are the BEST and ensure your food won't stick/burn and are easier to clean
- Aluminum Foil (line your broil pans,baking sheets/pans for no dishes cooking!)
- Broiler Pan
- Baking Sheet/Cookie Sheet (great for bulk roasting/cooking veggies and chicken)
- Baking Pans (at least ONE large size 9x13)
- Casserole Dish only IF you plan on making casseroles/bakes/enchiladas/lasagna
- Crockpot (set it and forget it recipes are the best)
- Grill Pan (invest in a nice Cephlon one, it will last a long time and is worth it, believe me)
- Mixing Bowls (at least one LARGE one, excellent for bulk cooking frozen veggies)
- Pots (have at least one medium and one large sized pot for bulk cooking grains/soups)
- Parchment Paper (for when baking things like Quinoa Crust Pizza)
- Quick N Sharp Knife Sharpener - if you like to keep your blades sharp, this is great!
- Skillets (medium and large size are necessary for bulk cooking any meats/veggies)
- Tongs (prevent burning yourself while flipping chicken/veggies)
- Cooling "Station"
Clear off counter space, the table, your window sill, WHEREVER you can allow the food to cool while
you continue to cook, food must cool before storing in tupperware to prevent condensation!
- Kitchen Scissors (makes cutting chicken/meat a lot easier than using a knife and is safer)
- Oven Mitts with thumbs (you don't want to burn yourself, it's easier to grab with thumbs!)
- Timer (use your phone/microwave/oven/actual timer, but you WILL need more than one when
cooking multiple items at different rates)
With THIS list of items to have on hand and my Meal Prep for Beginner's post, you can now enter the wondrous world of Meal Prep! On your marks, get set, PREP!