Making Meal Prep Easy
Meal prep is annoying. There’s no 2 ways about it. No one wants to spend the best part of a whole day cooking food for the days ahead. But don’t despair, with these 5 things in your kitchen you can make it less of a chore and breeze through some of the more annoying parts of preparing your weeks meals or get something together quickly when you’re in a rush.
High Powered Blender
My favourite kitchen appliance. I blend myself up a smoothie every morning and gulp it down in less time than it takes to do pretty much anything else you can do for breakfast. The only way it could be faster is if its prepared by your personal chef.
Do yourself a favour and get a high powered blender like the Vitamix, Thermomix, Magic Bullet or Ninja.
Before running to the store there are some factors to consider though:
In my experience the more you spend the longer it lasts. I started off with a $70 blender I bought at Target and that was fine for blending liquids, but as soon as it came to something with nuts or with frozen fruit it was time to upgrade.
The next was about $325. It was fine for green smoothies with a few solids and protein smoothies but what I found was that being used sometimes 3 times a day it didn’t last more than 9 months before it had its own issues.
Then came the Vitamix – What many consider to be the holy grail of blenders. This one was an absolutely amazing piece of equipment and I cannot recommend it enough. It makes powder out of nuts in your smoothies and seriously liquefies pretty much anything if you put a bit of water with it (in the liquid jug). I have been tempted to try and put a hand in there and see what happens but volunteers are scarce…
To me, container size is pretty important. The one thing that stopped me going down the bullet road was the size. I like to make big smoothies. Not intentionally, I just chuck a lot in and I like them a certain consistency which means the smaller bullet style ones was the size of them. This is especially a problem when wanting to make more than one serve of a smoothie. Sure they come with larger capacity attachments, but they’re never as big as the smallest size blender jug.
Most blenders just have an on/off and a few variable speeds. That’s fine for many of us, but what if you’re one of those people who just wants more?? Some settings aren’t good for crushing ice or frozen fruits and will leave lumps in your smoothie whilst others won’t have enough settings to allow you the consistency you want as well as break up all the ingredients properly. Picking a blender with multiple speed settings will allow it to mix everything properly and to the right consistency.
Last but not least, build quality is a pretty big factor in how long your investment will last you. When you’re spending under $100 don’t expect it to do everything you want and last 10 years – It just won’t.
The main reason we chose the Vitamix was because they last and so many people can vouch for them. Ours came with a 7-year warranty, that’s good enough for me.
My Spend: $800 (when I got it on special) – Vitamix
Quality Food Processor
A good quality food processor can be the difference between a meal you can stomach and a meal that makes you want to give up and buy take-away. Whether its making sweet potato mash or a raw cheesecake, investing in one of these can be something that’s well worth it.
Have you ever tried baking stuff with protein powder in it? A lot of the time it mixes horribly and you can feel the grainy texture. Try doing the mixing in one of these for your protein cookies/muffins/bread and see the difference. Sure the powder makes a difference, but doing it by hand is just too much effort to get it perfect. Let a machine do it and spend your time on the next thing.
Remember the less effort you have to go to preparing snacks and meals the more time you save which equates to more meals prepared in the same amount of time.
There are a few good quality multi purpose units out there now that include all the kit to juice, mix wet ingredients, mix dry ingredients and thinly cut/slice things too (particularly helpful if you’re into sweet potato fries).
My Spend: $500 – Bosch 1250W Food Processor
Sharp Ass Knives
Have you tried cutting sourdough bread with a butter knife? No? Try it. Its pointless, you ruin the bread. So why make cutting up meat and veges hard on yourself? Get a good set of kitchen knives including a Chef’s knife for handling meat.
The amount of pain and heartache you save with a set of sharp knives is incredible. Cutting up and trimming chicken or steaks becomes a breeze and is so easy you’ll probably even find you’re enjoying it. Regular cheap knives will never be an option for you again.
They feel good in your hand meaning you’re less likely to get a cramp or aches from struggling with them, you don’t struggle cutting through little fat or gristly bits.
Even cutting up normally tough fruits and veges like pineapple and large sweet potatoes is painless. So painless in fact a lot of the procrastination that usually comes before actually starting your meal prep disappears.
My Spend – $280 – 6 Piece Global Knives set
Re-Assess Your Cooking Utensils
First things first – plastic is poison when you cook with it. Some exceptions to this are the BPA Free stuff, but you’re not usually cooking in those and I wouldn’t recommend them for stirring either.
Buying cheapy plastic spatulas and stirrers might seem like a good idea because they’re only a few dollars, but they’re horrible for cooking with. They melt and chip off in your food. Not my idea of a good meal.
Look for some silicone, metal or wooden utensils instead. You can cook with silicone utensils in a wok or pan for ages before needing to replace them. Wood is probably the top choice for hot things you have to stir constantly. Where metal is great for things you need to flip, but not on non-stick surfaces, so use silicone for that.
Wood and silicone are my picks – metal scratches the non-stick surface which wrecks it over the long term.
My Spend – $12-20 per utensil
How many nuts is too many? How much chicken are you eating? If you don’t know the answer its probably because you haven’t measured your meals with food scales.
If you’ve never used them before you just don’t realize how much you actually eat until you measure it out or how way off you are with your ratios of seasoning to meat. Measuring out your food with scales allows you to practice portion control and get your measurements spot on instead of just heaping in a table spoon of this and a tea spoon of that into your shakes, smoothies, sauces and rubs.
Apart from that, measuring your macro-nutrient intake is only possible by measuring the food you’re eating. Even if you’re just trying to get a ballpark measurement and cut back or add extra they’re still a great investment.
My Spend – $25-50 depending on whether you want liquid measurement or not
I have no ties to the companies or specific products mentioned or pictured in this article. Any mention is solely meant as a guide from personal experiences. The companies mentioned and prices mentioned does not necessarily not reflect reseller’s stock or brands. The prices quoted are a guide only.