Food & Nutrition

21 Meal-Prep Ideas That Will Help You Plan Meals for Days in 2020

There is absolutely nothing humble about this brag: I, Kenny Thapoung, am the best meal-prepper at SELF. There’s no actual competition on staff to speak of, but as people who care very much about the delicate art of meal-prepping, I’ve become known for my talents at packing the best desk lunch in the office.

A lot of this boils down to my very eclectic palate. One day, I’ll be craving a radicchio, kale, farro, onion, tomato, feta cheese, fried chicken salad bathed in a red wine vinaigrette and four days later, I can’t stop thinking about a toasted turkey and cheese sandwich. As I’m cooking and posting videos and photos to my Instagram Stories, my DMs get flooded with messages—OK, maximum two or three—asking me what I’m making, where I find my recipes, and how impressive my meals turn out. Am I a food stylist? No. Do I own a professional camera? Unless an iPhone X counts, then double no.

Of course, during this time of food uncertainty, we’ll say, lots of other people (particularly those who are used to a steady stream of ready-made lunch options and Seamless) are suddenly thinking about how to prep their work-from-home lunches or large, leftovers-for-days meals. So, I thought I’d pass along my wisdom of the exact tools I use to plan my meals for the week (I tend to meal prep on Saturday or Sunday), and the containers that help keep everything separated.

Whether you’re looking for more of an easy one-and-done sheet-pan situation or want to flex your muscles with some homemade sauces and spreads, there are a range of tools in my arsenal—because behind every Instagram-worthy photo is a sink full of dirty dishes and utensils that made this food magic happen. Below are the things in my kitchen that I consistently reach for whether I’m boiling a soup, stir-frying noodles, or searing salmon. Most of what you’ll see serves multiple purposes, which makes it even easier to cook whatever random food you need to appease your appetite these days.

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