Toronto Chef | Blogger | Television Food Expert

Toronto Chef | Blogger | Television Food Expert

Meal Prep Tips + Tricks: Stocking Your Kitchen Like a Meal Prep Pro

Meal Prep Tips + Tricks: Stocking Your Kitchen Like a Meal Prep Pro

Over the last few years I’ve done quite of bit of minimizing and decluttering, out a desire for a simpler, yet more abundant life; and despite not knowing if I completely identify as a minimalist (I’d call myself someone who prefers a less cluttered life), there are many reasons for minimalism, and everyone comes to it differently.

When it comes to meal prep and cooking, the primary benefits of being a meal prep minimalist is that it buys you valuable time that you can use elsewhere in your life and encourages more home cooking- of which I am a very big fan. This leaves space for you to enjoy your life without having to sacrifice a lion’s share of it to the kitchen.

So, when I was thinking of how I can be of service to you in this post, it became clear, I want to make eating healthy uncomplicated and uncluttered.

Minimalist Meal Prep is about simplicity and creating space (both literally and energetically) for the amazing, delicious and healthy meals you’re about to throw down- forget the long grocery and prep lists.

Minimalist Meal Prep: Stocking Your Pantry Like a Meal Prep Pro

The Master List

Creating a master list is how you create a Minimalist Kitchen, because if it’s not on the list, it’s not going in your cart. Simple.

So how does one create a minimalist meal prep master list? Great question!

  • Create Categories

You have to divide everything into categories, keeping in mind what you like to eat and your goals. If your goal is to eat less carbs, then adjust your list accordingly.

  • Meats/Fish

  • Milk/Yogurt/Cheese

  • Grain/Cereal/Pasta/Nut/Seeds/Legumes

  • Oils/Spices

  • Vegetables/Fruits/Herbs

  • Coffee/Tea

  • Canned/Pantry Items (keep this list small, as these tend to collect)

  • Freezer (keep this list small, as these tend to collect)

On this master list you will list all of your favourites in each category. If you LOVE chicken, put it on the list, if you sometimes eat salmon, put it on the list. This will not be your main list for weekly purchases, but this is the list from which you make your list and cross check what’s happening inside your fridge, freezer and pantry.

Canned and freezer items should be kept to a minimum. These items tend to collect and get lost in the fray, so limit these lists to keep things uncluttered.


Costco spices: with the exception of salt which you will absolutely use, the size of Costco spices means they will likely take ages to get used up. And you know what old spices taste like, nothing, and that’s a problem.

Anything Family Sized: unless your family is the size of Jim and Michelle Duggars (no shade), you do not need family sized anything. Don’t let the idea of a deal fool you; if it’s going

Monthly BIG Buy

At the beginning of the month you are going to buy certain items in bulk, however, these bulk items should be used by the end of the month to ensure things don’t start getting cluttered again. The issue with carrying things over is by the end of the month you will probably want to change it up, which means the remainder will sit in the pantry taking up space and creating anxiety.

My monthly big buy tends to be the spices, grains, seeds, nuts, pastas and legumes for the month…I’ll get in more detail in a minute. I also buy Costco sized oils (in this instance Costco is great!)

If it’s coming up to the end of the month and you have food leftover, invite your closest friends over for dinner party. I promise this will ALWAYS go over well 😉

Learn what to buy and prep when so you are on top of your meal prep all month long!

Now we are going to dissect each category…


Each week choose 1-3 meat items that you are going to cook; plan for leftovers. If you have a family of five, buy enough to feed yourselves well, but only buy what you need.


Pick 1 cheese, 1 milk and 1 variety of yogurt for the week. Don’t eat cheese, leave it off the list. Don’t eat yogurt, leave it off. If you want to replace an omitted item with something else you prefer, do so; just be sure that it gets eaten within the week.


This is where I see people get REALLY carried away. We don’t need a pantry full of hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, almonds, coconut, oats, cereal, quinoa, rice, pasta, lentils, chickpeas- it’s too much.

These fall into the monthly big buy category, but that doesn’t mean that you can go crazy.

Pick 5 for the month, keeping in mind that you can replenish weekly as needed. The more you do this the better you will get at forecasting your needs for the month.


As I mentioned you can feel free to buy your oil in bulk from Costco, but pick 2 and resist the urge to buy more- just because it’s a good deal doesn’t mean you should buy it. Coconut oil and Olive oil are my constants.

And as for spices, every week pick 2 different spices or spice blends you want to try; buy them in the bulk section and buy only what you will use, so that you aren’t stuck with excess bags of random spices leftover at the end of the week/month.


Now this list is 100% purchased weekly, because any items on this list that are bought in bulk or family size, tend to die a sad death in the back of your fridge.

Pick 5-7 vegetables, 4 fruits and 2 herbs to rotate through the week. If you don’t eat much fruit- no judgements- you can add the total to your vegetable tally. ***If you make smoothies, you can purchase frozen fruit, but that will on your freezer item list.

Canned/Pantry Items (keep this list small, as these tend to collect)

Pick 3 pantry items such as canned tomato, canned soup/stock and canned legumes if that suits you; but please be intentional with these purchases or commit to donating excess to the Food Bank every 3 months.


If you drink coffee, you don’t need to adhere to weekly replenishing, because coffee, when stored correctly, will last for months; buy 1-2 bags of coffee, not many. If you drink tea, pick 2, 1 herbal, 1 caffeinated and replenish as needed. I have seen some people’s coffee/tea cupboard and it’s an exercise in maximalism.

Freezer (keep this list small, as these tend to collect)

This will vary depending on your needs, but for me I pick 2 different frozen fruits and 1 frozen vegetable to use in smoothies and that’s all you’ll find in my freezer…along with coffee and nuts/seeds to keep them fresh.

What about sauces you ask? I actually don’t buy sauces, I make them. And when it comes to healthy eating, prepared sauces are where lots of hidden sugar and additives live, which will undermine your wellness goals.

I primarily create sauces from the herbs and oils from my weekly shopping list.

  • Leftovers

If you don’t enjoy leftovers, life will become cluttered in the kitchen, because you are having to make fresh meals day after day; which means HEAPS of groceries and the ensuing clutter.

When planning your meals from your master list, account for leftovers. And I challenge you to think of leftovers differently. Put your mind toward how you create a different tasting meals, with similar ingredients.

Meal prep feels easy when we approach the planning with, well, a plan; and by making sure your kitchen stays ready, a healthy homemade meal is never far away when you stock your kitchen like a meal prep pro!

Leave a Reply

1 Comment threads
1 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
bianca osbourneNikole Davis Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Nikole Davis

Hi Bianca, Love the tips! We meal prep as well and definitely shop at Costco. One thing that has been a game changer for us has been our Foodsaver, so we do actually buy meat from Costco and break it down to only what we need per meal (freeze the rest). Saves on shopping trips, $$$, and keeps the meat from going bad in the freezer.

bianca osbourne
bianca osbourne

I love Costco! When I was a caterer I was always there. Costco is great when we have a plan to store things properly.

thanks for reading 🙂