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Long days at the office, after-school activities, rush hour traffic…sometimes, it feels like there are so many obstacles preventing you from cooking dinner. When you find yourself pressed for time, or when you’re simply not in the mood to cook, meal prep is the key to sticking to your healthy eating plan

Meal prep means preparing recipes ahead of time, storing in single servings, and enjoying portions throughout the week. Meal prep can also mean preparing the components of a meal—pre-cooking big batches of whole grains, roasting trays of vegetables, or soaking dried beans, for example—to make throwing together a weeknight dinner fast and easy. 

Here’s the kitchen equipment and some of the tools you need to get started with meal-prepping.

  1. A grocery list to keep you organized. To avoid last-minute stops after work, make sure that your weekly grocery shopping list is comprehensive so that you don’t forget any important ingredients. This Mediterranean Diet-friendly checklist will help you keep your kitchen stocked with all the essentials. 
  2. Leak-proof containers for storage and travel. After you’re done cooking, portion out your recipes and store them in these glass containers. They’re also durable and portable enough to take on-the-go if you’re bringing your lunch to work.
  3. Slice, dice, and blend with the help of a manual food chopper. Let the machine do the work for you! Whether you’re dicing onions and carrots, slicing tomatoes, or blending soups, this gadget makes it easy. Place your ingredients in the bowl, lock the blade in place, and pull the cord to start chopping. 
  4. Enjoy your own salad bar every day of the week with a compartmentalized container. Diced vegetables, herbs, toppings, and garnishes will stay fresh all week long in this container, with different compartments for each ingredient. 
  5. Keep your cool with nontoxic ice packs. If you’re getting into the habit of bringing your lunch to work, be sure to take along an icepack so your food doesn’t spoil. These are the perfect size to fit next to your lunch in your bag. 
  6. The key to fresh salads? Mason jarsYou can make salads in advance without any wilted greens! Keep them fresh in a mason jar. Layer the dressing on the bottom, then any toppings, vegetables, or cheeses, and then the lettuce. Simply open the jar and invert over a bowl when you’re ready to serve your Mason Jar Salad
  7. Sheet pans for batch-cooking. Roast vegetables in bulk on sheet pans, and store in your fridge. You can add them to sandwiches, grain bowls, and salads throughout the week.
  8. Colorful cutting boards to help you prep. Use these boards as you’re chopping, peeling, and preparing ingredients, and then throw them in the dishwasher when you’re done. ​

 

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