Want to step up your meal planning and meal prepping game? With these 17 meal planning tools/equipment, you’ll be the master of meal planning in no time!
Investing in a quality meal planner that allows you to plan and write your meals down ahead of time is a must! I like to have a dedicated notebook that I save all my meals in. That way, I can track what we plan on eating as well as recipes we've already made. I can make note of the recipes I love and ones I'd rather not make again. I use the My Forking Life is Organized weekly meal planner to keep a track of our meals and grocery list.
If you’d prefer the option of displaying your meal plan for your family to see, a magnetic calendar is perfect for you. Using a magnetic calendar means you can stick it onto the side of your fridge so it’s at a spot where everyone can see it to cut down on the “what’s for dinner tomorrow?” question from your family.
It’s so important to have a good cutting board when you’re prepping ingredients! You want something that doesn’t hold onto smells, easy to clean, and non-slip. If you purchase a wooden cutting board, remember to consistently oil it so it stays in good condition.
You don’t have to get too fancy with knives but it’s important to have a good sharp one. I recommend you at least have a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a cleaver. Be sure to hone them and sharpen them regularly. Make sure to find a knife that feels good in your hand. I use a 6-inch knife because I have smaller hands.
A food processor comes in handy when you have a lot of chopping, dicing, or shredding to do. You could dice an onion in seconds with a food processor! They’re also great to have on hand if you want to make homemade hummus or salsa.
A slow cooker is a great appliance to complement a pressure cooker. You can have both running at the same time to make the most of your time! Try making these meatballs in the slow cooker while pressuring cooking up some sides to go with it!
You’re going to want an amazing set of sheet pans so you can easily roast up vegetables in your oven. You can also get accessories like a non-stick silicone sheet if you want to skip using parchment paper or tin foil for easy cleanup. Sheet pans are perfect for making large batches of food, like these sheet pan pancakes or bacon.
Air fryers are a great kitchen appliance. It has a shorter cooking time compared to ovens as well as using less oil to crisp something up. It’s a great appliance if you want to make healthier versions of comfort foods such as Air Fryer Fried Chicken, Air Fryer Meatloaf, and Air Fryer Crispy Fried Shrimp. You can cook these recipes ahead and easily reheat them in the air fryer.
Like knives, you don’t have to get too fancy with your pots and pans but I recommend you get a few good quality ones as they can last a very long time. While not 100% necessary, I also suggest getting a good Dutch oven and cast iron to go alongside a set of pots and pans.
When it comes to freezing cut vegetables or meal preps, it’s important to get freezer-safe bags as regular plastic sandwich bags can increase the chance of freezer burn on your food as they weren’t made to go in the freezer! You can find Ziploc styled freezer bags as well as reusable silicone-based ones. Be sure to pick up a freezer marker to mark your bags as well. A food saver is also a good option if you want a machine that can suck all the air out for you.
There are many options when it comes to containers for your ingredients and food. You can get large ones to store cut ingredients, you can get glass ones for individual meals, you can get lighter plastic ones, you can get ones with dividers to keep your food components separate. There are many options on the market and there’s something out there for everyone! The important part is that they must be airtight to keep your food as fresh as possible.
Glass containers for meal prep.
These Souper Cubes are perfect for portioning out broth or soup and saving for later. Making a big batch of soup, stew, or broth and saving it for later comes easily when you have these durable cubes. I like to make a big batch of my favorite, Cream of Mushroom Soup, to place in our cubes.
You can get large pint mason jars to store salads, soups, and more! You can also get smaller mason jars to store sauces. They’re a great alternative to the typical rectangular airtight containers as their shape makes it easy to slip into smaller spaces like your fridge door!
I had to add this awesome gadget to the list. Sous vide allows you to cook your food in a water bath. You won’t have to constantly watch your food to get it to the desired doneness. Sous vide is also a great option for cooking meats from frozen.
I love prepping muffins and cornbreads ahead of time so we can always snack on one throughout the week when hungry or need a last-minute addition to dinner so a muffin tin is a must. I also recommend getting silicone muffin liners for easy cleanup.
Having prep bowls to store your ingredients in makes following a recipe less stressful as you have your ingredients prepped and ready to add into the pot. No more hurriedly measuring and dumping in ingredients while hoping nothing burns while you cut your next ingredient into the pot!
Be sure to check out my Beginner’s Guide to Meal Planning post for additional meal planning tips.