Have you noticed friends who always have a container of blueberries or almonds tucked in their bag, who pack their lunch to work every day, or whose Instagram photos feature impressive displays of bento boxes filled with chicken and sweet potatoes? These are the meal preppers in your life.
Meal prep is a trend in the fitness community that is making it easier for people to stick to their nutrition goals, and we think that’s fantastic! When people make a week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks ahead of time, it means that a healthy meal is always within reach. There is never a need to hit the drive-thru when dinner is already made, or pump quarters into a vending machine when healthy snacks are packed and ready to eat.
Having the right tools makes the job faster and easier. Show the meal prepper in your life that you support their goals with a gift that will simplify their life and save them time every week. Whether your loved ones are already masters of meal prep, or they are just getting started, here are some thoughtful gifts that they will love. The prices are listed but if you follow the links you will find some great deals at Amazon, sometimes up to 40% lower than the MSRP!
Wide-Mouth Mason Jars
Not only are Mason jars totally hip, their vertical shape makes them especially nice for storing salads. Since the dressing is at the bottom of the jar, and the greens are at the top, nothing gets soggy! Wide-mouth jars are the easiest to use for meal prep. Mason jars are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased by the dozen at major retailers.
Make your gift extra special by filling some of the jars with healthy dry goods like old-fashioned rolled oats, lentils, brown rice, nuts, or homemade granola. In other empty jars, handwrite recipe cards for our Mason Jar Salads and tuck a recipe in each jar. (MSRP: $15.99)
Silicon Muffin Pan
Egg cups, oatmeal cups, and healthy muffins are perfect for meal prep because they store well and it’s easy to make a week’s worth of breakfasts or snacks all at once. It gets even easier with these silicon muffin pans from OvenArt Bakeware. Foods pop right out of them, and they’re a cinch to clean. (MSRP: $19.95)
A Good Blender
A person who meal preps uses a blender to make smoothies, soups, salad dressings, and more, and will love a powerful new tool on their countertop. We sampled several to find thebest blender for any budget. We liked this Nutribullet PRO 900 for it’s sleek, space-saving design. The blending jar doubles as a travel cup, which is convenient for meal preppers on-the-go. (MSRP: $99.99)
Why buy a separate rice cooker, slow cooker, steamer, and pressure cooker for meal prep, when this marvelous appliance does it all? This multifunctional cooker from Multi-Pot even makes yogurt, and it has pre-programmed settings to cook soups, stews, meats, and beans at the touch of a button. (MSRP: $169.99)
Glass Food Storage Containers
Several days of meals require a lot of food storage containers! Any meal prepper will be happy to receive fancy glass containers with leak-proof lids. These containers from Glasslock are oven and microwave safe, and the durable plastic lids are BPA-free. (MSRP: $39.99)
Chic Insulated Bag
Show the pro meal prepper and fitness fanatic in your life you’re paying attention. Isolator Fitness has a solution for the person who takes healthy meals with them everywhere they go. These deluxe insulated bags can keep 3 meals cold for 8 hours. There is also room for water bottles, utensils, snacks, and supplements. (MSRP: $79.99)
Hard-Boiled Egg Cooker
Hard-boiled eggs are an excellent, inexpensive protein for meal prep. But boiling eggs in water, though simple, requires attention and perfect timing. This extra-large hard-boiled egg cooker from Cuisinart makes it easy to cook enough for the whole week at the touch of a button. (MSRP: $39.99)
As our resident meal prep expert, Amanda Meixner, said, “A selection of seasonings makes it a lot easier to eat chicken or fish every day and not get bored. They make things taste good without adding calories, and you can use a different flavor for each meal.” Her favorites are made by Flavorgod, because they are already blended and she doesn’t have to measure out several different spices every time she cooks. Flavorgod’s seasonings are free of fillers and chemicals, are low in sodium, and come in fun flavor combinations like Garlic Lovers, Taco Tuesday, and Dynamite (we’re guessing that’s spicy). (MSRP: $39.99 for a set of 5)
When making salads several days in advance. it’s important that lettuce doesn’t have excess moisture, or it will wilt. This salad spinner from OXO solves that problem, and has a lot of features we like. Instead of wrapping an arm around the spinner and cranking a handle, this model has a simple push button that can be operated with one hand. It’s large capacity fits lots of greens, it’s easy to clean, and the clear plastic bowl is elegant enough to serve salad in. (MSRP: $29.99)
There’s nothing more discouraging in meal prep than buying fresh berries for the week, and discovering that by Wednesday they’ve started to mold. These GreenSaver produce storage containers from OXO are the answer. They have an activated carbon filter to absorb ethylene gas, vented openings to promote airflow, and an elevated basket to keep produce out of pooling moisture to prevent rotting. The smallest size is perfect to store a carton of berries, and the basket insert can even be used as a colander to rinse and drain them. Larger sizes keep lettuce, spinach, and other foods fresh longer. Buy a collection of 3–5 for meal preppers who love to snack on fresh berries every day. (MSRP: $14.99)
Reusable Shopping Bag
Make those weekly meal prep shopping trips more fun with a cute, reusable grocery bag. We love this polka-dot number from eBoot that can hold up to 50 pounds and folds up small to fit in a purse or pocket. There are several modern prints to choose from. (MSRP: $9.99)
Meal prep is easy — and delicious — with the FIXATE cookbook, a collection of 101 portion-controlled recipes from Autumn Calabrese designed to work with the 21 Day Fix containers. Even your friend who follows a vegan, vegetarian, paleo-friendly, or gluten-free diet will find plenty of recipes they’ll love. (MSRP: $29.99)