Tiny houses are all the rage as more people downsize for minimalist and eco-friendly living. However, the transition to limited space could leave many asking, “How do you meal prep in a small kitchen?”  

Living in a tiny home is an adjustment for everyone. Creating your favorite dishes or gourmet meals may seem challenging initially, but rest assured, you’ll get the hang of it. Here’s how tiny kitchens equate to sustainable cooking and ways to prepare meals easily.   

Tiny Houses: A Sustainable Cooking Experience

Researchers have proven the positive environmental effects of tiny houses. According to one study, tiny dwellings produce 70% less greenhouse gas emissions than the average home in Australia. This is due to fewer resources and less energy use before, during and after construction. 

These unique spaces are usually about 400 square feet, compared to the average 2,000-square-foot house. As such, homeowners must get creative to make the kitchen work for them. 

For instance, they must learn to stock less food, use space-saving appliances and equipment, and adopt new cooking habits for efficiency. Overall, the changes are conducive to making meal preparation a more sustainable experience. 

5 Ways to Meal Prep in a Small Kitchen

Many people require ample counter space to sprawl out their ingredients, cookware and equipment. As such, at-home chefs may find meal prepping with less room difficult. If achieving greater sustainability is behind your decision to live in a tiny home, now is a better time than ever to change your cooking routines. Here are five helpful tips for meal prepping in a small kitchen. 

  1. Choose Recipes Wisely

Masters of small kitchen cooking choose their recipes wisely. For example, single-pot and one-pan dishes reduce needed prep space, are easier to clean up and require less cookware. 

Get into the habit of saving your favorite one-pan dishes in a binder or digitally. You can then return to them repeatedly for quick, delicious meals in your tiny cooking area. 

  1. Utilize Space-Saving Storage

With limited space, you must utilize storage wherever you can. Vertical shelving on the backs of cabinets and open shelves are easy ways to organize essential utensils and spices. 

When storing food, use eco-friendly solutions, such as glass jars and plastic containers. Stackable containers or mesh produce bags can save enough refrigerated space for cold foods. Likewise, mason jars are ideal for preserving dry grains and beans.

  1. Shop Strategically

Meal prepping in a small kitchen requires you to shop strategically for groceries. Fortunately, you have plenty of options to ensure simple cooking. For instance, experts recommend having fresh produce account for 50% of your plate. So, why not take advantage of pre-cut, pre-washed and pre-cooked items?

Considering how people waste 40% of food yields, buying only what you can store in your kitchen is especially important. This also helps prevent generating food waste from spoilage before you get around to using it. 

You may need to plan meals well in advance before going to the grocery store. Others might decide it’s best to shop for goods several times weekly to ensure enough room to preserve ingredients.

  1. Invest in Multifunctional Equipment

Leverage multifunctional equipment to save space and make meal preparation effortless in limited space. For instance, a portable induction cooktop may have several settings to meet various cooking needs, such as making stew, deep frying and boiling water. Another option is an all-in-one food processor to blend, dice, chop, shred, puree and whisk ingredients for various recipes. 

Of course, you will likely get the most use out of a multifunctional air fryer. Depending on the brand and model you invest in, air fryers may come with a range of functions like toasting, dehydrating, baking, pressure cooking, slow cooking, steaming and reheating. 

Air fryers also cook food in less time and don’t affect your indoor temperature like traditional ovens. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly coat your choice of vegetables and protein with olive oil and seasonings. In 10 minutes, you’ll have a complete meal with far less mess to clean. 

  1. Clean as You Prep

Because the kitchen is so small, foodborne diseases can quickly spread throughout your tiny house — perhaps farther-reaching than a standard home. To prevent illness, cleaning during every meal prep stage is crucial.

Salmonella — a common bacteria on raw poultry — lasts 32 hours on surfaces, while campylobacter may survive for four hours. Simply washing your cooking surfaces with warm water and dish detergent can remove contaminants but not kill them. 

Sanitizing after handling raw meats — using a commercial or homemade solution — is essential before using your kitchen again. Get in the habit of cleaning as you prepare your meals to avoid contamination.

Meal Prep With Ease in a Small Kitchen

Although you may need time to adjust to meal prepping in a small kitchen, you’ll find ways to make it work. Lean into smaller equipment and sustainable food habits for easier cooking. Eventually, meals will taste just as good as they did when you had more space to work in.

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