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If you’re anything like my clients, you’re probably looking for ways to save time in the kitchen. To help make your meal prepping easier, I’m going to share 10 kitchen tools and equipment recommended by myself and my dietitian colleagues.
Cutting down on the time you spend in the kitchen not only makes meal prep easier, but it helps you to be more consistent with your healthy eating goals. If meal prep feels like a chore or you’re spending too much energy in the kitchen, it may take longer for you to see weight loss results.
I promise cooking doesn’t have to be so hard or time-consuming! Here are 10 simple kitchen equipment and utensils to make meal prep a breeze.
1. Citrus squeezer
Adding lime, lemon, or orange juice to your dishes adds a refreshing, summery element without piling on calories. But squeezing with your bare hands can get messy and take a while, and can burn if you have dry skin like me.
Enter a citrus squeezer! This simple, inexpensive tool can save you time and make for super easy cleanup.
Here is what my colleague Colleen had to say about citrus squeezers: “A citrus squeezer is a must-have tool in the kitchen. Although we can squeeze limes and lemons with our hands, a citrus squeezer is more motivating to use because it keeps your hands clean and gets every last drop of juice out of the fruit that you just can’t get with your hands.
Having a citrus squeezer has encouraged me to add more flavor and nutritious fruit juice to my meals every week, from lime in guacamole to lemon on my fish. There’s no need to buy an expensive brand; a citrus squeezer from the grocery store or a restaurant outlet will suffice.” – Colleen Wysocki Woods, RD of Zest Nutrition.
Don’t have one yet? Get my favorite citrus squeezer here.
2. Garlic press
Do you put garlic in everything? Garlic is rich in antioxidants and compounds that can support your immune system and your heart health. But it’s not always fun chopping it and getting your hands all smelly.
Enter the garlic press, another one of my favorite tools and equipment in cooking. It’s such a small investment but is a huge time saver.
Here is what my colleague Amy had to say about them and why she loves them – “A garlic press is one of my favorite kitchen tools to save time. It’s a super fast way to get finally chopped garlic and I don’t have to worry about my hands smelling garlicky.
I press the garlic straight into whatever I’m cooking, so my workspace stays a bit cleaner and more organized. I especially love a garlic press that has an option for finely sliced garlic.” – Amy Brownstein, MS, RD of Nutrition Digested.
Get Amy’s favorite garlic press here.
Do you love smoothies but hate the cleanup? A nutribullet blender is easy to use and even easier to clean, and is one of my top 10 kitchen tools and equipment. There are many different variations of the Nutribullet, depending on what you’re using it for and the amount of pantry space you have.
My collague Jon especially recommends the Nutribullet personal blender. Here is what he had to say about it – “I personally love the Nutribullet personal blender, and often recommend it to clients.
Often times, I find myself recommending smoothies as a way quick breakfast, and a simple way to add extra fruit, veggies and fiber into my clients diets, without a lot of hassle. So, it’s often times a quick win for my clients.
But, you still need the right tool. The Nutribullet Personal line is nice because you can quickly create a personal sized smoothie and take it on the go. Also, it works for creating sauces when cooking.” – Jon Lanman, Bend Oregon Dietitian
This Nutribullet is my favorite as well and is the one I use. I started out using it to make baby food for my boys and now use it for smoothies for breakfast or lunch. It is super easy to use and to clean up, and I especially love how compact it is for storage.
4. Large stir-fry pan
When it comes to saving time in the kitchen, one-pan meals are where it’s at. I’m constantly sharing healthy one-pot meal ideas with clients, and so having a large stir-fry pan is one of my top kitchen tool recommendations.
Here is what my colleague Christine had to say about stir-fry pans – “I recommend a really large stir fry pan! As an example, I love to make a huge batch of something- like a tofu stir-fry in a large pan so that I can have leftovers for the week! Cooking up a large volume once saves me the time later.” – Christine Milmine, RDN of Plantpoweredyou.com.
In addition to stir-fries, you can really make any kind of one-pan meal in a stir-fry pan that consists of protein, a starch, and veggies as well as a sauce. By using a pan as your main piece of cooking equipment, meal planning and clean-up becomes easy-breezy.
Get Christine’s favorite stir-fry pan here.
5. Good quality knife
It’s so simple, but a high quality knife can make your life so much easier. And if you have a knife but it is a dull or poor quality brand, it can make chopping harder, take longer, and put you at a higher risk for injury.
My colleague Amanda Lane shared a few ways that a good quality knife can speed up your kitchen prep – “A high quality knife can safe so much time in the kitchen. It may not sound like it, but not having to use extra gadgets, not to mention washing them, can speed up kitchen prep.
By using a high quality chef’s knife and practicing basic cutting techniques, you can speed up your weekly meal prep!” – Amanda Lane, MS, RD, CDCES, Founder – Healthful Lane Nutrition
Amanda recommends this Chef’s knife for easy cutting.
6. Sheet pan
Sheet pan meals are my absolute favorite! If you don’t own a sheet pan, you’re seriously missing out because they are one of the easiest types of meals you can make all year round.
With a sheet pan, you can simply lay out your protein (such as chicken, fish, or pork), starch (potato, carrots, squash), and a veggie (leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower) and let it do it’s thing in the oven. I like to line my sheet pan with foil and cooking spray for even easier clean-up.
Get my favorite sheet pan here and start getting your time back at night.
7. Air fryer
An air fryer can make your cooking process easier, healthier, and more efficient. They typically cook food faster than conventional ovens due to their compact size and rapid air technology. Many models are also equipped with timers and automatic shut-off features so you can set it and forget it while you’re doing other things.
Air fryers use circulated hot air to cook your food. This makes the food crispy like fried food without having to use a ton of high-fat, high-calorie oils. The food comes out delicious with a fraction of the calories of frying and there are so many things you can make with it like veggies, chicken, and french “fries.”
Air fryers also often have non-stick, removable parts that make cleanup a breeze.
Get my favorite air fryer here and start experimenting with one today!
8. Instant Pot
An instant pot is similar to a pressure cooker, where you can make traditional slow cooker recipes in a fraction of the time. It is super convenient and versatile, and can cook foods up to 70% faster than traditional cooking methods.
An instant pot can be a life saver because you don’t have to prepare your meal as much ahead of time. With a traditional slow cooker you have to set it up early in the morning and let it cook all day, whereas with an instant pot you can set it and forget it for 30 minutes right before you eat.
They also are pretty compact and therefore don’t take up too much space in your kitchen.
Get my favorite instant pot here.
A mandoline is a device made up of a flat surface that allows you to slice fruits and vegetables easily. It helps to safely slice produce quickly into uniform slices. It is especially helpful for slicing large quantities of hearty veggies like beets, potatoes, and winter squash.
Here is what my colleague Wan Na had to say about mandolines – “The Safe Mandoline Slicer 5-in-1 Vegetable Food Potato Cutter is one of my favorite kitchen tools that saves me time in preparing meals. With its 5-in-1 functionality, it allows me to quickly and precisely cut various vegetables, fruits, and even potatoes.
Whether I need thin slices for salads, matchstick cuts for stir-fries, or julienne strips for garnishes, this mandoline slicer can do it all. By eliminating the need for manual chopping and slicing, it significantly reduces the time spent on food prep.
The hidden blade design and hand guard ensures the sharp cutting edge is concealed, minimizing the risk of injury during use.” – Wan Na Chun of One Pot Wellness.
Get Wan Na’s favorite mandoline slicer here.
10. Produce chopper
If you’re looking for another way to save time on chopping produce, a produce chopper will be your new BFF. Chopping is one of the most time-consuming parts of food prep, and so utilizing a chopper instead of chopping by hand can help you get to the fun parts of cooking more quickly.
This is what my colleague Patricia had to say about her favorite produce chopper – “I love this chopper! It comes with multiple cuts for easy prep for your favorite fruits and veggies. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe! It comes at a reasonable price of $25.” – Patricia Kolesa of thedietitiandish.com.
Get your own produce chopper here and stop chopping everything by hand!
You Can Eat Healthy And Get Your Time Back
You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen to make a healthy meal. If you want to achieve sustainable weight loss and enjoy the process along the way, it’s important to make meal prep as seamless as possible.
The biggest reason I see many people throw in the towel is because they’re making the process harder than it has to be.
With these 10 kitchen tools and equipment to save you time, meal prep will become easier and less time consuming, helping you stay motivated to stick to your weight loss goals.
Eating healthy is not always easy, which is why I offer personalized meal planning guidance and utilize a meal planning app with my clients. To see if my weight loss program is a good fit for you, contact me to schedule a free discovery call today.