Many of us know that setting aside time to meal prep each week is a super effective way to ensure real food meals all week long.

Even though we know should meal prep, though, many of us avoid the task because it seems like a chore. And if you’re using the wrong kitchen tools it can be even more daunting.

To simplify the process, today I’m sharing my must-have kitchen tools to make meal prep manageable.

You can find all of these tools on Amazon, and at many kitchen supply stores as well. If you’re on a budget, keep your eyes peels for items at thrift stores and garage sales as well.

1 | Programmable 6-Quart Slow Cooker 

A slow cooker is a must-have for getting real food meals together on busy weeknights and activity-filled weekends.

Go for the 6-quart size, as it makes enough to feed a crowd and yields enough leftovers to enjoy later on.

I prefer a slow cooker with a programmable option because you can set it for a specific amount of time, and then it will automatically to switch to “warm” until you get home.

Prep slow cooker ingredients ahead of time so you can drop and go during the week.

Try it with this recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken, Kale and Sweet Potato Stew

2 | Hand Blender 

A handy alternative to the standard countertop alternative, hand blenders are a must for making creamy soups and sauces at home, without having to transfer hot liquids to a blender.

Use it directly in your slow cooker for the smoothest, silkiest soups. Prep and blend a slow cooker recipe during the weekend and have a fully-cooked dinner ready for the week!

Try it with this recipe: Slow Cooker Creamy Potato Corn Chowder

3 | Half Sheet Pan 

Sheet pans area are an essential part of any meal prep arsenal.

Prep a giant batch of roasted veggies by throwing your favorite chopped veggies on a sheet pan, drizzling on some olive oil, and roasting in the oven until golden brown. Enjoy as a side dish all week, as well as in bowls and salads.

Try it with this recipe: Sweet Pea Powder Salad

4 | Silicone Baking Mats

Silicone baking mats are a perfect, reusable way to line your sheet pans to keep food from sticking. They’re non-toxic and dishwasher safe, too. Prepping a big batch of roasted veggies is so much easier when nothing sticks to the pan!

Try it with this recipe: Autumn Lentil Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing

5 | Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainers 

A set of strainers makes rinsing a breeze. Use them to wash berries, grapes, veggies, and the like so they’re ready to go for the week.

They’re also essential for rinsing whole grains like brown rice and quinoa prior to cooking. Put the rinsed grains to use by cooking a big batch and then using in bowls and salads.

Try it with this recipe: Easy Southwest Quinoa Bowls

6 | Stainless Steel Canning Funnel 

This little funnel makes filling mason jars with pre-portioned prepped meals super fast and easy. A small kitchen essential that makes prep so much simpler!

Try it with this recipe: Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa

7 | Wide-Mouth 16-oz Mason Jars 

Mason jars are perfect for pre-prepped meals and snacks because they can go directly in fridge or freezer and the lid screws on tight to avoid drips and leaks in bags and backpacks.

Try it with this recipe: 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Fajita Salsa Chicken

8 | Glass Storage Containers

This set of sealable, glass containers is another great option for storing leftovers and prepped lunches and dinners for the week ahead. The tightly sealing lids help prevent leaks when taken on-the-go.

Try it with this recipe: One-Bowl Harvest Chicken Salad

9 | Stackable Lunch/Bento Box

Pre-pack lunches during meal prep and you can grab-and-go during the week. Bento boxes allow you to divide items in separate containers to keep things fresh.

Try it with this recipe: Crunchy Smashed Chickpea Salad

10 | Silicone Baking Cups

Essential for preventing sticking in make ahead breakfast recipes like muffins and egg cups, these silicone cups are also great for separating food and snacks in lunch boxes.

Try it with this recipe: Make Ahead Rainbow Veggie Egg Cups

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