Instant pots have become increasingly popular and are taking over the now-old-fashioned Crock Pot. Instant pot meal prep can be a great tool for those who need greater time and energy efficiency when meal prepping.
What’s the difference between an Instant Pot and a Crock Pot?
- An instant pot is an electric pressure cooker and has a wider range of cook settings. It is also able to cook meals much faster.
- A Crock Pot is just a slow cooker. It is easier to use and cheaper.
What is an instant pot?
An instant pot is a multicooker, which is a combination of a slow cooker and a pressure cooker. You can whip up just about anything with it, which makes an instant pot a great option for meal prep.
Whether you’re looking to do instant pot meal prep for one or the whole family, instant pot’s features are equipped for just about anything. It is known to be a 7-in-1 device, as you are able to cook meats and rice, make soups and yogurt, sauté and steam foods all in the instant pot.
There are several benefits that come with the Instant Pot. According to the Instant Pot website, it can reduce your cook time and energy usage up to 70%. You are also able to retain vitamins and nutrients and preserve your food’s taste and appearance. Instant pot meal prep is a great option with these benefits.
However, instant pots can be costly. The most popular 6-quart instant pot costs $100. Be sure to check a variety of platforms when purchasing your instant pot to see if there is a sale going on or if one site is cheaper than the other.
Do you have limited space in your kitchen? Instant pots come in different quart sizes, ranging from 3 to 8 quart, so be sure to select a size that will best fit your cabinets and counters.
Is an instant pot worth it?
Many seem to think so. Instant pots work great for quick, hands-off cooking. The convenient one-pot dishes also lower your clean up time after cooking.
People that leave the workplace, only to have more “to-do”s at home, may benefit from an instant pot. The hands-off cooking allows you to get your work done while still being able to have a nice meal for yourself.
Instant pots will save you time and, in the long run, will be well worth your investment. They also work great for meal prep since you can cook just about anything in them.
Top 5 Instant Pot Tips:
- After purchasing an instant pot, be sure to read the directions thoroughly. Just looking at all of the features can be intimidating, so it will help to know how all of them work before getting started.
- Your food will need a lot of moisture to heat up, so be sure to use plenty of liquids. You need to have enough so the liquid can come up to the right pressure and cook the food properly. A good rule of thumb is to add at least a cup of liquid, unless stated otherwise.
- Don’t overfill your pot. Some foods, like rice and beans, tend to expand when they are cooked. With that, be sure to obey the fill line within the pot to avoid an overflow. You want to be sure you have plenty of room for your grain and legumes to cook and expand.
- Prepare your ingredients in large quantities. This is a perfect use of instant pot meal prep. Say you plan to have chicken in your meal prep lunches for the week. You can cook it all in this one pot, which saves you time and space when you are preparing your meals.
- When it comes to cleaning, make use of vinegar and your dishwasher. The outside of your pot might get a little gross, so vinegar is a great option to clean it off. Besides the outside, many of the pot’s components are dishwasher friendly, making clean-up a breeze.
Check out our Common Meal Prep Mistakes blog for other tips you can apply to instant pot meal prep!
We’d love to answer some lingering questions you might have. Let’s get started:
Is cooking with an instant pot healthy?
Yes. Compared to boiling, pressure cookers and instant pots are able to retain more water-soluble vitamins because they are able to cook foods evenly. Airtight containers also allow for more intense flavors to develop faster. Also, instant pots are able to destroy harmful bacteria because you can boil water to a temperature higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Are instant pots good for vegans?
Yes! With all the settings that come on an instant pot, you are able to cook almost anything. Vegetables can be steamed quickly along with cooking beans. You are also able to make rice with it. Again, there are lots of options for vegans. Looking for some vegan instant pot recipes? Check out the Edgy Veg!
What are the best things to cook in an instant pot?
Soups, roasts, rice, beans, potatoes and eggs - the list goes on. Those are just some of the best things you are able to make with an instant pot.
However, there are also some foods you might want to avoid cooking in an instant pot. Some of those foods include creamy sauces, fried foods, burgers and steaks. Click here for more information on foods to avoid.
Now that we’ve covered some of the best things to cook in an instant pot, let’s move onto some of ThinkFit’s favorite instant pot meal prep recipes.
7 Easy Instant Pot Recipes:
This first recipe works great for a quick filling breakfast. It’s Instant Pot Oatmeal from A Couple Cooks. The oats only take about 10 minutes to cook. Double the recipe to make 4-6 servings, which will last you the whole work week.
Since this recipe only involves oats, you are able to add toppings of your choosing. Different fruits, like blueberries and bananas, are great options. Nuts and seeds such as walnuts and pumpkin seeds also make for great toppings.
This next recipe works great for instant pot meal prep for weight loss. It’s an Instant Pot Breakfast Casserole from Recipes From a Pantry. This dish is low carb, keto friendly and gluten-free.
It’s made of just six ingredients, and you might already have three of them (eggs, milk and cheese) at home. Complete in just 25 minutes, this casserole is flavor packed and easy to make.
Next up, we have some Honey Garlic Chicken Meal Prep Bowls from The Girl on Bloor. This lunch recipe comes together all in one pot and is topped off with a delicious sweet and sticky sauce.
These honey garlic chicken meal prep bowls are healthy and reheat well. It takes 15 minutes to prepare with minimal ingredients, which makes it a great option for work week lunch meal prep.
This next lunch recipe is from Eating Instantly. It’s a Quinoa Black Bean Salad. Quinoa and black beans are great sources of protein, and this salad works great for instant pot meal prep.
This salad is great hot or cold, so there is no need to worry about finding time to heat it up if you have a short lunch break at work.
This first dinner recipe is Chicken and Rice Soup from Cookin Canuck. This is another great recipe for instant pot meal prep for weight loss. Soups make great use of an instant pot.
This soup recipe is a comfort food. It is sure to fill you up while staying low in calories. Not to mention, it’s also packed with 29 grams of protein.
This next recipe is for Quinoa Taco Bowls from Simply Happy Foodie. This one pot dinner recipe is full of flavor and high in protein. The quinoa puts a healthy spin onto your everyday tacos.
For meal prep, be sure to store the toppings and garnishes separate from the quinoa base so they stay fresh for the whole week!
This last recipe is from Sweet Peas and Saffron: Coconut Sweet Chicken Chili Stir Fry. This recipe is ready in under 30 minutes. It can be stored in the freezer, making it easy to reheat for weeknight dinners.
This dish includes four different vegetables. The coconut sweet chili sauce is a nice switch up from teriyaki, which you might typically see as a dressing for stir fry.
Looking for some durable meal prep containers to load up all of your great Instant Pot meals for the week? Check out ThinkFit’s very own meal prep bags and containers.
Grocery shopping can be a daunting task, so, based on the recipes above, we’ve crafted a Instant Pot meal prep specific grocery list for you!
- Rolled oats
- Unsalted butter or coconut oil
- Toppings - blueberries, bananas, walnuts, sliced almonds
- Spices - cinnamon, dried oregano, ground paprika, salt
- Cauliflower florets
- Red bell pepper
- Cheddar cheese
- Olive oil
- Chicken breasts
- Low sodium soy sauce
- White rice
- Seasonings - salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic cloves
- Back beans
- Red bell pepper
- Red onion
- Lemon juice dijon mustard
- Olive oil
- Yellow onion
- Celery stalk
- Seasonings - salt, pepper, garlic cloves, thyme, dried rosemary, flat-leaf parsley, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes
- Low sodium chicken broth
- Chicken breasts
- Brown rice
- Fresh lime juice
- Black beans
- Garnishes - avocado, sour cream, shredded cheese, jalapeno, cilantro
- Coconut milk
- Sweet chili sauce
- Reduced sodium soy sauce
- Stir fry vegetables - bell peppers, carrots, snap peas, red onions
Here at ThinkFit, we are committed to your wellness. We want to be an immediate resource for you to help obtain your fitness and nutritional goals.
Instant pots are a great long-term investment. While some make take up a decent amount of space, they come in different sizes, so you are able to find one that works best for you. Instant pots are great for meal prep, and they save you lots of time in the kitchen.
With that, we want to leave you with three additional resources for instant pot meal prep.
If you're looking to find top rated healthy instant pot recipes, check out the Healthy Meal Prep Instant Pot Cookbook: No-fuss Recipes for Nutritious, Ready-To-Go Meals. This cookbook is inexpensive and is available for delivery at a variety of stores. Instant pot and meal prep tips and tricks are included, along with 75 delicious recipes.
Next, check out the website pressurecookrecipes.com by Amy + Jacky. This website is all about instant pot recipes all the time. They have pretty much everything from one pot dishes to desserts. They also rate their recipes based on their level of difficulties, so you can find recipes from super easy up to intermediate.
Finally, follow #instantpotrecipes on Instagram for even more inspiration on your instant pot meal prep journey. Don't forget to tag us @thinkfitproducts on Instagram as well! We would love to see the creations you come up with.