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Top 5 Kitchen Gadgets for Effortless Meal Prep

Ready to take your Meal Prep to a new level?

Ready to simplify your life when it comes to food? Today, we will explore the top five kitchen gadgets that will not only save you time but also make meal prep a breeze. These are my holy grail products that, even when getting rid of about 90% of my belongings and moving multiple states away, were included in my essentials.

As a note: The content of this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet, exercise, medication, or other health-related routines.

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1. Instant Pot with Air Fryer

The Instant Pot takes the top spot here. I hesitated to buy this for a couple of years because I am a bargain shopper. I finally decided the benefits were worth it and the only regret I had was not buying it sooner. This all-in-one appliance is a game-changer for busy individuals seeking convenience without sacrificing nutrition. 

Whether pressure cooking, slow cooking, dehydrating, air frying, or even making yogurt, it does it all. From perfectly cooked grains to savory stews, it’s a time-saving genius.

When looking specifically at meal prep, I use my instant pot to make larger batches of grains and beans that I can portion out throughout the week. I also use it for hard-boiling my eggs, making homemade bone broth, and larger batches of stews or soups that I can then freeze for later. The air fry option is also great for reheating roasted vegetables.

Pros and Cons

  • Versatility
  • Time savings
  • Replaces multiple appliances
  • Updated model has a more space-saving design
  • Higher price tag

2. Ninja Blender/Food Processor

This is another all-in-one tool that gets used daily in my kitchen. I burned through multiple cheap blenders in my early to mid-twenties. And, when I say burned, I mean I have literally had multiple blenders catch fire while I was using them. Needless to say, I needed something a little more reliable and came across the Ninja Blender. Since getting my Ninja, I can honestly say there have been zero fires in my kitchen…from blenders.

Multiple attachments let you dice, grate, slice, shred, and puree food for meal prep. The Ninja also has settings for smoothies, frozen drinks, dough, and even thicker consistency items like acai bowls, nut butter, and ice cream. The nutrient extraction cup is the perfect size for personal smoothies and comes with a lid you can throw right on the cup as a grab-and-go if you are running out the door. The auto-iq technology also allows you to click a button and walk away. It turns off when it is done blending and has perfect consistency each time.

Pros and Cons

  • Versatility
  • Powerful blending
  • Replaces multiple appliances
  • Updated version has a more space-saving design
  • Higher price tag

3. Glass Storage Containers

Although, I will give my praises every day for my Instant Pot and Ninja Blender, let’s go over a few items that don’t carry as large of a price tag! For storage containers, I can’t recommend glass enough.

Plastic containers can sometimes absorb odors and can leach chemicals into your food. Glass containers do not have that problem and are more durable and versatile as well. Most brands are typically oven, microwave, freezer, and dishwasher safe. This helps to reduce time in moving food to different containers throughout the prepping, cooking, and storing process. Many of them are also leakproof so you can store soups or other liquids with ease.

Not only can they store leftovers, but they are vital for meal prep. I use the containers with dividers to prepare many of my meals for the week, including fruits, veggies, and main dishes. I also use these to create snack packs that I can quickly grab on a break at work between meals. Glass also helps you to see exactly what is in each container making it easy to grab the right container the first time.

Pros and Cons

  • Versatility
  • Durability
  • Non-Toxic
  • Recyclable
  • Some have plastic lids – aim for BPA-free

4. Mason Jars

I use these for everything: pen holder, tea storage, drinking glasses, flower vase. You get the point. This is one of the most versatile, cost-effective, sustainable items you can use in your kitchen. If you don’t have any, you can typically find them at thrift shops, garage sales, etc. They are also fairly cheap to buy and come in a variety of styles and sizes. You can also get different tops for the mason jars with pour spouts, etc.

Similar to glass containers, mason jars can be used to prep and store foods like fruits, veggies, soup, spreads, dressings, etc. They are leak-proof and easy to take on the go. You can throw them in the microwave and then eat right out of them, saving you time and dishes. My favorite meal prep use of mason jars is overnight oats.  The set linked below is great for oats!

Pros and Cons

  • Versatility
  • Durability
  • Affordability
  • Recyclable
  • Older mason jar lids may be prone to rust and/or contain BPA – opt for newer lids or alternative lids such as full stainless steel or bamboo.

5. Microwave

Yes, you read it right – the microwave! It can make a big difference in terms of meal prep. This is especially true on days when you have limited time or energy. Heat a rice packet, steam some vegetables, add in a protein like beans or last night’s chicken and you have a meal. If you have meal-prepped foods in the freezer, you can pop them in the microwave as well to defrost and/or fully cook through. 

Concerned about radiation? The good news is that microwave radiation is not harmful to your body in the same way that something like x-ray radiation is, so the risks associated with microwave use are very low.  And, hey, we are all about balance here. So, as long as you are not using your microwave for multiple hours a day with your eyeballs plastered to it, you don’t have anything to worry about. If we are looking at this from a health angle, heating homemade food in the microwave is going to be more nutrient-dense and probably make you feel better than stopping to get fast food on your way home, plus you save some money1.

Want a microwave tool to further the convenience? Steaming is one of the best cooking methods to preserve nutrients and my steamer pot was a lifesaver for me in college! Here is a BPA-free Steamer Pot that has a strainer built right in. 

Pros and Cons

  • Versatility
  • Convenience
  • High nutritional retention while cooking
  • More economically friendly cooking method
  • Food doesn’t always have the best taste or texture as other cooking methods (ie. certain meats, roasted or fried foods reheated)

Conclusion

In the world of meal prep, versatility is king. Opting for multi-use gadgets not only clears up kitchen space but also saves you money. These top 5 kitchen gadgets are your ticket to an elevated meal prep game. So, gear up your kitchen, relish the joy of cooking, and let’s continue to savor every balanced bite.

Want more content on Nutrition, check out my blog on Nutritional Wellness here!

What gadget are you most excited to try? Share your thoughts below!

  1. Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Microwave Ovens.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/radiation-emitting-products/resources-you-radiation-emitting-products/microwave-ovens. Accessed 21 Jan. 2024. ↩︎

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