Ok, maybe not the raindrops, roses and kittens...those wouldn't be all that useful in the kitchen! However, the gadgets I'm talking about here are ones I absolutely CANNOT live without when it comes to meal prep. As far as I'm concerned, every kitchen should have these essentials to help make your meal prep quick, easy and painless!
I struggled for YEARS trying to find the perfect way to boil eggs on the stove. I tried every method to achieve the perfect boiled egg (you know the one where the peal just falls off) to no avail. No matter what I tried, I'd end up losing half of my eggs and chunks off of what was left...and seriously frustrated! Then someone suggested I try an Egg Steamer. The first time I tried it I was immediately hooked! So much so that I bought two so I could cook more eggs at one time. EVERY time I use my egg steamer I have perfect eggs where, literally, the peal just falls off. It times the cooking perfectly for me based on how I want my eggs cooked (hard or soft boiled) so there's not thinking on my part. Set it and forget it! Most only cook 7 eggs at a time (although I've seen a few that do up to 12), but you can cook a few batches and have boiled eggs for easy grab and go protein throughout your week.
I've had my Pampered Chef microwave steamer for over 15 years now and it's still going strong as one of my MOST used kitchen gadgets. We've had several other steamer gadgets in our kitchen such as: rice steamer, veggie steamer, etc. All were the type you had to plug in and took up tons of room. I've ditched all of the fancy electric steamers for just this one. I use this microwave steamer for everything from steaming potatoes to shrimp to veggies! I use it extensively for steaming shrimp because that's my latest obsession and the protein I like to eat every day. Keeping some steamed shrimp on hand is another great way to have grab and go protein that's enjoyable to eat cold just like boiled eggs.
I know the latest and greatest these days is to use the "Insta Pots" but I haven't gotten around to testing those out yet. However, until I get there, I'm still enamored with my slow cooker. The slow cooker has been my SAVING GRACE for meal prep AND family dinners for as long as I can remember. As far as I'm concerned NO kitchen should be without one of these. The options for cooking mass quantities of protein (and even veggies and starches) are endless! No matter what yummy protein source you put in, it always comes out moist, tender and delicious! Some of my favorite go-to's are shredded bbq chicken breast, asian lean beef and broccoli, Italian chicken thighs, pork tenderloin and lean beef stew. This is another set it and forget it gadget. Add your protein, your seasoning and in 4-6 hrs you have protein for the week!
If you're having to low-carb it for a period of time, there's nothing like having "veggie noodles" to fill the gap. There are a lot of fancy veggie spiralers out there these days, but I still have the "old-fashioned" hand-held one like below. You can spiral everything from zucchini and squash to cucumbers and carrots. If you need a low-carb option for your next spaghetti night, try spiraling your veggies in lieu of pasta!
Digital Food Scale (duh)
As we all know by now, if you aren't controlling/monitoring your caloric intake, you won't make the progress you are aiming to make! "You can't change what you can't measure" holds true here as it does with many things in life. Whether you're on a meal plan or flexible dieting, weighing, measuring and tracking your intake is the #1 way to ensure progress and consistency. In fact, when I work with clients, I advise them to weigh/measure using the scale (oz/grams) instead of cups/spoons, etc. because it's FAR more accurate that way. The food scale is the MOST ESSENTIAL meal prep/food tracking tool for EVERY kitchen!
Muffin pans offer a wide variety of options for the meal prep-er in you! You can make mass quantities of things like egg muffins, protein muffins, meatloaf muffins, etc. So many options and recipes galore for this handy little kitchen gadget! Making pre-portioned "muffins-versions" of foods is another great grab-n-go option for busy folks trying to stay on top of being prepared with their foods. It's easy to make a bunch and freeze for use throughout the week, when traveling, etc. I recently switched to a silicone version of the muffin pan and I'm soooo happy I did! No more sticking to my tin bakeware...but of course the choice is yours. And a side note...another great option for this is the "loaf pan" where you an make several larger versions of the same meals into loaves!
So....there you have it. These are MY go-to kitchen gadget essentials that keep me and my meals prepared! So many ways to have grab-n-go options that are tasty and easy to prepare when you're a busy food prep-er just trying to reach your goals.
Stay tuned for my next blog - "CSFP Food Hacks for Meal Prep" and my favorite things to ensure every meal is as palatable as it is healthy!
For more information on Team CSFP coaching for training, nutrition and posing check us out online: www.centerstagefiguresandphysiques.com or follow us on IG @csfpcoach or @teamcsfp and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CenterStageFiguresandPhysiques/