As meal preppers, we are often creatures of habit. The way we prepare our food for the week ahead will often follow a tried and tested pattern that we are comfortable with, as does the method in which we actually cook our meals. While it is quite natural to fall into a regular pattern when it comes to cooking, occasionally we may come across a product or two that could make things slightly quicker or easier for us in the long run. As meal-preppers, one thing we can’t abide is time-wasting and inefficiency, so without further ado, here are 8 items that can help you save time and effort when in the kitchen!
Chopping boards are one of those items that we often spend very little time thinking about when we purchase them. Those of us who go for the ‘cheap and cheerful’ options can find ourselves buying new ones every 6 months or so, and when we do, we generally just replace them with the same type. Before you head out to buy the next replacement set, give a thought to buying an Oakwood cutting board instead. Not only are these boards better for the environment, (they are made of natural materials, and if looked after, can last you a lifetime), but they look far nice that those cheap alternatives. Cheap plastic boards often end up with deep cuts in them over time, which can harbour germs and nasty bacteria, whereas wooden boards are actually more hygienic (contrary to popular belief).
A cut about the rest
Any chef will tell you that when it comes to important ‘tools of the trade’, it doesn’t get more important than knives. For those of us who spend an enormous amount of time chopping up vegetables, meats and whatever else we desire in our food prep, it really does make a difference when you invest in a well-balanced, sharp knife. Wüsthof manufacture some amazing utensils, not least their take on the classic cook’s knife. Take the effort out of chopping, and treat yourself to a precision-forged, single sheet of high carbon steel, and see how much easier this aspect of meal prep becomes.
Good things come in small packages
For those of us who don’t have access to Nigella Lawson’s kitchen, space can sometimes be a bit of an issue. This is especially so when we are meal prepping, as laying out a week’s worth of containers alongside a week’s worth of food can take up a lot of kitchen real estate. Because of this, any device that has more than one specific use can be looked at as space-saving gift from the kitchen gods for us meal preppers! One such device that has taken the world by storm in recent times, is the Instant Pot. This nifty little device is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, warmer, yoghurt maker, and ‘browner’, all in one! If you are in the market for a device that does any of these things, consider the Instant Pot before you pay out for a device that does far less for the same price.
Perfect eggs every time
Are you one of those people who always have trouble cooking eggs? No matter how hard you try, you can never get the perfect soft yolk? Well, the Andrew James Egg Boiler may be the perfect kitchen gadget for you. With the ability to cook up to 7 eggs at once, either soft-boiled, hard-boiled, or poached, this reasonably priced piece of kit will provide you with the perfect egg, every time. With a built-in timer, you can simply set up the device, and get on with prepping other parts of your meals, safe in the knowledge that you will be notified once the eggs are cooked to your specification.
No more mounds of rice
When it comes to cooking rice, do you always end up with enough to feed an army? Many of us have trouble judging exactly how much rice we need to pour out for each meal, often resulting in wasted food (something we at Igluu can’t abide!). The solution to this? These handy rice storage bins come with a built-in measuring cup, meaning that you can judge the amount needed far easier than using the old method of “just grab a fistful per portion”. They can also be used for quinoa, small pasta shells, and dried couscous.
Frying pans, in general, have a few issues for us meal preppers. Firstly, they are often too small to cook a week’s worth of meat, fish or vegetables in. Secondly, frying meat in a pan often leaves you with food that is soaked in fat and oil. So how do we resolve this issue? Quite simply, buy purchasing a large, cast iron griddle plate. The channels in a griddle allow the fat to run away from the meat, while the sheer size of these particular griddles means that you can cook far more than is possible with your average frying pan. There is also the added bonus of being able to flip these griddles over, and using the flat side to cook eggs or toast bread. Just make sure you use oven gloves, as they do get seriously hot!
If you are looking to make your frying even healthier, it would be worth your while to take a look at Tefal’s Actifry. This nifty little piece of kit will help limit the amount of oil you use when frying, reducing your fat intake, and is big enough to feed a small army (of 8 people). It is also pretty versatile, from stir-fries to chilli con carne and spicy Thai curries, the Actifry will help you create a whole smorgasbord of delicious meals for you and your family.
Spiralize those veggies
Lastly, if your attempts at making mealtimes a more aesthetically pleasing affair are becoming difficult, a spiralizer can do wonders for an otherwise drab looking salad. Changing up the look of vegetables can also be a great tactic when trying to get the kids to eat more greens, while simultaneously being particularly useful when attempting to make your far-easterner dishes look more authentic. They can range quite drastically in price, so if you are on the fence about getting one of these devices, you can always go cheap and then upgrade at a later date, should you find yourself using it constantly.
So there you have it, a few ideas for anyone looking to make meal prepping that little bit easier. If you have bought any wonderful kitchen gadgets and utensils that you want to share with the rest of the meal-prepping world, let us know in the comments. Also, don’t forget to sign up to our meal prep community to learn more about how meal prepping can help you eat well, stay healthy, and save you time!