Meal-Prep Must-Haves to Make Your Life Easier

Dec 6 2017
Question@2x Hi Hungry Girl,

I've made up my mind to start meal prepping on weekends for the week ahead, but I don't know where to start. Can you give me a primer?

Make-Ahead Maven in the Making
Answer@2x Hi Make-Ahead Maven,

I'd love to help you put a little prep in your step! Here's what I keep in my kitchen to meal plan like a pro...

Buy It

Let someone else do the work for you! Buy pre-cut veggies in the freezer aisle. Green Giant has a great lineup of riced vegetables and steamable mixes. Stock up in advance, and you'll always be ready. Save even more time with precooked protein: fully cooked chicken sausage, StarKist tuna packets, and ready-to-eat chicken breast. Pssst... Here are SIXTEEN simple recipes made with precooked chicken!

Plan It

A grocery list is a given, but what you really need is a meal planner! I LOVE this cute magnetic one that hangs on your fridge. Write down your meals for the week before you go shopping. This way, you'll know exactly what you have and what you need. A digital scale is another great tool for meal prepping. Portion out ingredients for quick day-of assembly, or use it to accurately divide up make-ahead meals into single servings.

Prep It

Now it's time to get in the kitchen. My favorite veggie prep tool is a spiralizer! A handheld one is great for small batches, but I'd recommend this tabletop spiralizer for serious meal preppers. For any chopping needs, I love these cutting boards; there's one for poultry, meat, fish, and veggies. Tightly seal up your pre-prepped goodies, and store them in the fridge. HG tip: Label them with dates, so you know their exact freshness level.

Cook It

Big-batch appliances like slow cookers are lifesavers. My newest favorite, though, is the Instant Pot… It's a slow cooker, a fast cooker (a.k.a. pressure cooker), and more! Look for other gadgets to make life easier. I'm obsessed with this Dash Rapid Egg Cooker. Hello, hard-boiled eggs in minutes! Great for sandwiches, snacks, and salads.

Store It

Forget the single-compartment lunch boxes from your childhood. Containers have come a long way! Bento boxes are super handy... I love this stackable purple one! And this lunch box can fit an entire day's worth of food. For salads and overnight oats, grab a pack of mason jars. This Thermos Food Jar will keep yummy slow-cooker recipes warm for nine hours. Don't forget to label your containers with masking tape and markers so you know what's what!

Freeze It

Get the most out of your meal prep by stocking your freezer. To freeze your meals, simply wrap individual servings (fully cooled), place in freezable containers, and seal. To thaw, transfer the food to the fridge the night before you plan to eat it. Then just reheat and eat. Or use the thaw setting on your microwave; remove any plastic wrap, and make sure the container is microwave safe! Get more meal-freezing advice here!
Look at you, master meal prepper!

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Chew on this:

It's December 6th, National Microwave Oven Day. Time to zap some Hungry Girl leftovers, and dig in all over again!

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SmartPoints® value* not what you expected? We follow the same method as Weight Watchers when calculating the SmartPoints® value* for a recipe: We add up the SmartPoints® values* of the individual ingredients. (Many foods have a value of zero and remain zero in recipes.)

*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints® trademark.