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Meal prepping can save you a lot of time and money. But what do you need to meal prep? We use the same 8 items for all of our meal preps. One of the meals we cook the most for meal preps is chicken and rice. You can find the recipes for it here. Unlike most of our posts about buying inexpensive things, this one has a few we’ve spent more money on initially, but save us money and time in the long run. Not including plates and bowls for eating, here are the 8 meal prep basics to get you started and keep you meal prepping.

Instant Pot

Purchased from Amazon, $79.00

Meal Prep Basics: The Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is one of the best kitchen purchases we’ve made. We have the 6 quart Duo, which is plenty large enough for the two of us. We cook probably about a third or more of our meals in it. It’s simple and easy to use. Initially we bought it primarily to cook rice, but since then we’ve added many other Instant Pot recipes to our repertoire. We make all our lunches and a lot of our dinners using it. If you want to make your dinner while you’re out grocery shopping, cleaning, or really doing anything else, I highly suggest getting adding an Instant Pot to your collection of meal prep basics.


Purchased from Amazon, $21.99

Meal Prep Basics: Food Scale

We have the Inevifit digital kitchen scale. A food scale is a necessity, especially if you’re trying to gain or lose weight. For our lunches, we weigh the chicken so we’re eating the same amount each day. Some recipes use measurements by weight instead of by liquid or dry measurement. Having a scale on hand can help you with those recipes instead of trying to convert grams to cups.


Purchased from Amazon $9.99

Meal Prep Basics: Meal Prep Containers

If you meal prep, then you’re going to need something to put your meal preps into. We bought a set of 15 microwave and dishwasher safe containers from the brand Freshware. Since we only need the containers for our lunches, it works out for a week’s worth of lunches for the two of us. They’re stackable and easy to store.


Purchased from Williams Sonoma $49.95

Meal Prep Tools: Knife

Knives are kind of important for all cooking in general, but in particular, having a sharp knife really makes the meal prep process easier. We had cheap dull knives for awhile, but recently bought a pricier, better quality knife. The one we have is the Zwilling J.A Henckels Pro 7″ Chef’s Knife. It makes all the difference. It’s more enjoyable and faster to cut chicken with one slice instead of sawing back and forth to take off the fat. Our favorite knife is a key tool in our meal prep basics.

Cutting Board

Gifted from New Zealand

Meal Prep Basics: Cutting Board

With a knife, you also need a cutting board. Whoda thunk? But similar to the story with the knives, quality makes a big difference. We had been using this small bamboo cutting board that I got for like $7 after I moved to Irvine. It was fine until our old roommates kept putting it in the dishwasher and warped it. Now it just keeps warping in different ways and slips around on the counter. We just got a nice cutting board for Christmas. It’s thick (insert Trump hand gesture) and way better looking. There’s no way it will warp, especially because we take good care of our kitchen supplies. Cutting boards most definitely belong on the list of meal prep basics.

Large Pan

Purchased from Amazon, $33.57 for the pan, $15.29 for the lid

Meal Prep Basics: Pan

We have a 12 inch Stone Earth Ozeri pan. It takes up a lot of space on our tiny stove, but it’s large enough to make meals for a few days. If we’re not using the Instant Pot for cooking, we’re usually using the pan. We’ve named ours Peter Pan. Even when we do use the Instant Pot, we sometimes cook with the pan because we haven’t figured out how to properly use the sauté function on the Instant Pot. Having a big pan in your meal prep basics makes it faster to cook large amounts of food.


Purchased from Amazon $10.49

Meal Prep Basics: Spatula

We have two spatulas, but the one we use the most is silicone. The brand is Di Oro. It’s big enough to use for pancakes and flexible, but not flimsy. It doesn’t scratch up the pan like metal utensils do. Not a whole lot to say about it other than we like it and it holds up well.

Measuring Cups

Hand-me-downs from my grandma

Meal Prep Basics: Measuring Cups

I would add measuring spoons here too, except we don’t use them often enough for spices to really say they’re a necessary meal prep basic. For most people, they’re probably a good thing to add to your meal prep basics list though. We just throw in random amounts of spices. Measuring cups however, are something we use frequently. We have both a glass measuring cup and a set of the metal ones. We use the metal ones more often, generally for rice, but the glass one comes in handy as well.


These 8 meal prep basics are the only things you need to start meal prepping, well besides food of course. Saving money and time is easy when you meal prep and these things can make it even easier. Even though some of these things cost more than we usually like to spend on anything, we’ve found them to be well worth the initial expense.

Do you already meal prep? What other things do you use? What saves you the most time? If you don’t meal prep yet, what made you want to start?


Recent graduate, blogger, girlfriend, dog-mom

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