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Here’s the thing: finding gift ideas for working moms in the kitchen isn’t always the easiest.
I mean, it’s not exactly the sexiest of gifts, right? What working moms really need is like, a week at a spa. With no kids. Daily massages. That sort of thing.
But sometimes it’s the practical gifts that can really mean a lot. I might not buy myself a bunch of items for meal prepping if I’m focused on getting items for my kids; so getting gifted things that will help make my weeknights easier in the kitchen is a nice thought.
Because honestly, meal prepping isn’t a glamorous thing. If you’re looking for gift ideas for a working mom who’s trying to get on top of her make-ahead meal game, you probably know: that level of meal prepping is not always freaking easy to accomplish.
There’s usually a kid underfoot. You’re often in a rush. Recipes seem to always take longer than they say they will. And if you don’t get to cooking when you had previously planned to, you find yourself throwing away groceries that have gone bad, and that stings.
Make-ahead meals, meal prep, and freezer meals are the saving grace of a busy working mom. (And yep- that means stay-at-home moms, too. You’re always working when you’re a mom! Don’t let anyone ever tell you differently)
There are a few things that over the years I have come to depend heavily upon as a working mom in the kitchen. Other than finding that impossible-to-find chunk of time to dedicate myself to making a handful of recipes at once, I’ve amassed a cadre of kitchen tools and equipment that make any make-ahead meal prep sesh go by as quickly as possible.
Because that’s the point, right? We’re trying to get ahead of ourselves now, so we can spend time with our families (and out of the kitchen) then.
If you know a working mom in the kitchen trenches who’s just trying to survive a busy weeknight, this is a great list of gift ideas. Or, if you’re that mom, here are 11 of my favorite can’t-live-without-em items you can slip into an Amazon cart or randomly drop into your husband’s email.
I promise I won’t tell!
A Programmable Slow Cooker that you can literally set in the morning and then forget until it’s dinnertime.
Slow cookers are the lifesavers of most kitchens, but the thing is you gotta be home to actually turn the thing on. And most slow cooker recipes take about 6 hours tops, which is way less than the typical working day. Programmable slow cookers like this one from Crockpot brand are awesome because you can freeze the meal ahead of time, set it in the slow cooker in the morning with the timer, and it’ll defrost just enough before it begins to cook and is ready when you walk in the door that evening.
Glass container set with snap-on lids for holding a baby in one hand and closing a container with the other
Because we’ve all been in that situation where we have a baby on one hip, and we’re trying desperately to close a plastic container’s lid with the other. Try it one-handed- it’s impossible! But with a snap-on lid, you only need one hand, and that’s reason enough for me to have a thousand of these. Plus, they’re safer for our bodies without the harmful chemicals from plastic, and they work great as freezer containers. If you’re looking for gift ideas for a working mom who packs her lunch every day, these are super handy.
Plastic tupperware, because some kid is probably going to drop it at some point
For all their benefits, glass containers have their downfall, too. Mostly because at some point, someone will drop the container, and you’ll be thankful it was a plastic one and glass shattering. Rubbermaid is the gold standard when it comes to reusable storage containers, and the price of this set is hard to beat. The containers are super durable and work great with frozen, chilled, or dry goods.
Instacart for same-day grocery delivery on those days when you’ve already got enough on your plate
Regular readers and social followers of mine know: I’m obsessed with grocery delivery. I love trying out new platforms, seeing what you can or can’t get online versus in person, and weighing the price differences. Instacart makes that process super easy for me and, bonus, I can usually get my groceries delivered in as little as 2 hours. 2 hours!! That’s less time than my kids’ nap some days.
Soupercubes for saving normal portions of soup, sauces, and literally everything else
This is such a great company that I’ll sing from their rooftops how much I love their product. Soupercubes did a simple giveaway promotion with me a while back, and I fell head over heels for their product. It’s a silicone freezable tray that stores food in one and two cup portions. There’s a flat lid for easy stacking. And once the food is frozen, you can pop it out to defrost and consume or transfer it to a ziplock bag and store it like bricks in your freezer. Absolutely genius.
Done-For-You Freezer Meal “Planning Kits” so you’ve got everything at your fingertips.
My most popular cooking classes are always my make-ahead and freezer meal classes, where we go through common misconceptions about freezer meals, talk about do’s and don’ts, and then make a week’s worth of dinners to bring home.
I tailored my favorite recipes, tips, and teachings to these helpful “Planning Kits” that include the shopping list, the recipes, and a video walkthrough of every recipe so you can see exactly what the ingredients look like, and cook along with me at the same time!
A big magnetic meal planner for the fridge, so everyone knows the answer to “what’s for dinner?”
We have a similar calendar, and it’s so handy to just write the meal plan ahead of time. One glance tells us not only what’s for dinner that night, but what needs to get prepped, or taken out of the freezer to thaw. Comes with 4 dry-erase markers and an eraser.
Baggy racks, so you can pour prepped ingredients into big ziplock bags without the whole thing collapsing.
My students at my cooking classes will often tease me that my classes should be sponsored by baggy racks, since I wax poetic about them so often! It’s true- I love me some baggy racks. I have 2 in rotation at all times. They’re great for propping open ziplock bags for meal prep, but they’re also good at holding open just-washed plastic bags while they dry.
Once a Month Meals membership, so you can skip the plan and get right to cooking.
If you’re a working mom in the kitchen, you know: the planning can sometimes take just as much work as the cooking! Skip straight to the good stuff with a Once a Month Meals membership. They have literally thousands of make-ahead and freezer-ready meals in their database, tutorial videos that walk you through a meal prep session with ease, an incredibly helpful Facebook group and customer support, and done-for-you meal plans for epic freezer stashing prep sesh. Get a month’s worth of meals ready in just a couple of hours!
My favorite part? They’re partnered with Instacart, so you can order your whole grocery list from a done-for-you plan with one click (genius)
Reusable freezer bags so you can help save the environment, too
I’ve been testing and trying out dozens of reusable freezer bags for the past few years. They all have their ups and downs, but this is a great brand to start off with. They’re affordable, too. And the bags are super durable and stand strong in the freezer. Plus, they’re easy to clean (not dishwasher safe, though) This cute set comes with freezer bags, lunch-sized quart bags, produce bags for the grocery store, and reusable straws. This is a wonderful gift idea for a working mom who’s trying to be a little more earth-conscious in the kitchen.
‘Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook’ for when you want some fresh ideas
When I’m not singing the praises of Once a Month Meals or making my own freezer meal done-for-you meal plan kits, I’m digging through this handy book. Jessica lays it out so you can either do a big batch day or cooking or make one recipe at a time, and her helpful instructions make the process really easy to follow. The recipes are fun, too, and everything is covered, from breakfast to dinner. It’s a great gift idea for a working mom who wants to pick and choose the make-ahead recipes she uses.
Reusable freezer-safe labels so you never toss a mystery container again
This handy little pack of reusable stickers are freezer-safe, which means you can slap them on the front of any storage container and stop worrying that they’ll all rub off in the wash. Use with a dry-erase marker. Comes in a variety of sizes.
That’s it! Hope this helps you with gift ideas for your favorite working mom!