Trying to save time and money on your meal preparation? Keep these items in your kitchen pantry for easy meal prep.
Looking for a few simple ideas to make your meal prep take up less of your time? These pantry must-haves to make meal prep easier are about to make you very, very happy!
Here’s the deal. Meal prep isn’t supposed to be a lot of work for you. And actually, if you’re doing it correctly and efficiently, it’s meant to be very little work for you. In fact, it should actually make your life a whole lot easier!
If you find yourself stressing out and feeling like this “meal prep thing” has you way in over your head, step back and take a breath. It’s all going to be okay.
15 Pantry Must-Haves To Make Meal Prep So Much Easier
Is meal prep supposed to be hard?
It’s actually not! In fact, when you’re doing it correctly, it’s meant to be easy! The moment that you feel like you’re getting overwhelmed, you need to step back and take a deep breath.
I also think it’s important to evaluate what you’re keeping in your pantry at home. Remember – simplicity is often the key to having meal prep success!
How many pantry staples should one have?
There isn’t a magic number with this but having at least 5-6 items in your pantry that you can use for every meal prep recipe (or close to it) is a great idea. That way it requires minimal thinking and planning and gives you the most bang for your buck.
When you open the doors of your pantry, you should be able to see several of the items just waiting for you to use them.
Kitchen Pantry Staples For Meal Prep
1. Your favorite seasoning
My personal favorite is “Everything but the Bagel” Seasoning. I put it on eggs, meat, salads, etc. The perfect seasoning staple might make that same old meal taste a little more appealing.
2. Cauliflower Rice
Cauliflower rice is one of the easiest food swaps if you’re looking to cut carbs. Food companies have truly come a long way. You can get frozen or microwave cauliflower rice in most grocery stores. The frozen stuff goes in the freezer, and if you get the cauliflower rice microwavable pouches, then they can go in the pantry.
Nuts like almonds or pecans can make for a great snack or a side to your meal. They can go in your yogurt or your salad for the extra crunch. Pistachios are my personal favorite.
Keto diet lovers already know the power of avocado.This superfood makes for a great topping for salads and soups. They also go great on top of some protein like eggs or burger. If you’re feeling snackish, they can also be a good treat.
Jerky or jerky sticks also make for a quick snack that’s full of protein. They also keep for a while which makes them a great pantry staple for meal prep.
Tuna is great for a quick lunch if you’re pressed for time. You can also get the single serve containers that may already be seasoned, and they might come with a spoon and crackers as well.
When you’re in a pinch for something relatively healthy to heap, a can of soup works well. It’s great on the budget. Homemade soup is better than canned soup but when you need something quick, a can of soup can help you feel satiated. Try not eat them too often as they are full of extra sodium you don’t need, but every once in a while shouldn’t hurt.
8. Granola Bars
For a quick snack on the go, granola bars are a good option. Try to buy ones that are a little bit healthier (i.e. less sugar).
Having bread in the pantry makes for a super simple meal that is quick and easy. You can find healthier versions of bread that have sprouts or grains in them and they make for a nice meal when you’re trying to cut back.
Adding on some almond butter or peanut butter is a simple meal in itself.
10. Nut Butter
Speaking of Nut butter…always have some on hand. Having nut butter in your pantry is a great way to have protein there when that craving hits. I’m even a fan of having a scoop of nut butter right from the spoon when those cravings hit.
Fresh fruit is a lifesaver when you first start meal prep. If you’re used to eating sugar or finding that you’re always having cravings, having fresh fruit added to your daily meals will take away those sugar cravings almost immediately.
Even more than that, fresh fruit does great sitting out on the counter and is a nice snack to grab as you’re walking out the door.
Foe a healthy treat or perhaps a salad topper, seeds are a great option. Pumpkin or sunflower seeds are my go-to.
Who doesn’t love noodles? Even if you’re gluten-free, there are some great gluten-free noodle options out that there you can easily buy. Having a stockpile of noodles in your pantry means that you’re always going to have the option for a hearty and fast meal. Add in some butter and salt or shred up some cheese and you’ve got a great meal that will last you for several meals throughout the week.
14. Bone broth
I’m a huge fan of bone broth because of how versatile it is. I love to cut up veggies and have them simmer in the bone broth and make my very own homemade vegetable soup. Bone broth also offers some great benefits that have been proven to be good for health reasons as well.
I’ve had beef bone broth and mixed it with other soup stocks and it always turns out really, really good.
15. Dried fruit
This is just like fresh fruit but what I like to do when I’m having a craving is grab a handful of dried fruit and a handful of nuts and pack up that snack to go. It’s so great for meal prep and it’s a great way to have a healthy snack that doesn’t load you down with bad fats and sugars.
As you can see, these are just some of the pantry must-haves that you need to keep on hand at all times. If you find a food item fits your eating habits and style, keep it in your pantry or fridge so that you can easily use it when you need it. Why deprive yourself of something that you enjoy?
What other pantry must-haves to make meal prep easier would you add to the list?
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