Ok so some of you out there do Valentines and others don’t – I’m not getting into an argument about its merits or otherwise!! I just know that so soon after Christmas it can be challenging to find the right gift for your loved one and even more so if you have agreed a budget. So, I put together my top 5 food prep utensils for you considering budgets starting with just a couple of quid!

1. NutriBullet €€€

I get asked about this so much and really while there are lots of other blenders on the market I have to be honest and say my hands down recommendation is this one every single time. When I bought my apartment in 2007 I went straight out to buy the Magic Bullet (the original NutriBullet as it were) as I needed a great multi-tasker that didn’t take up too much space in my tiny kitchen. I used it religiously for everything until the NutriBullet was released in 2014. I knew this was the tool for me and was on the waiting list for this before it even hit the shops. My NutriBullet lives on the counter top as I use it daily for making soups, sauces, juices, smoothies, dips, dressings, batters and healthy snacks (I also use it to grind fresh coffee beans!). My first one broke within a month and it was a very simple exchange with the lovely people at Argos no questions asked. I’ve had no trouble since with this one and when you see how versatile it is the cost (€120) really isn’t that much. The big winner for me is the ease and speed of use and even more so cleaning. Rinse it out straight away after use and its a dream to wash thereafter.

2. Spiralizer €€

Ah the Spiralizer is a staple favourite of mine. I first came across the spiralizing concept on Instagram (find me: @cornershopgym) thanks to my friend Melissa @thesynergystalife I started out with a small handheld version that cost €14 on a Groupon deal (because himself thought it was a fad he insisted I start small!) however that little tool took over our eating habits with amazing veggy swaps – spaghetti became courgetti (spiralized courgette) and noodles became zoodles (zucchini/courgette noodles). This upped our veggie intake and also saw a significant shift in the waistline! We then went on and got the table top version on www.lakeland.com for £29.99 which means I can now spiralize practically any veg to make salads, healthy veg bowls, homemade coleslaws, wrap fillings and more. Its a real winner.

3. Tupperware €+

Another bugbear of himself is my Tupperware obsession!! I have lunch-boxes, tubs and pots everywhere. Having learned from experience when it comes to tupperware there are a few fundamentals you should look for – larger boxes should have compartments so you can pack different foodstuffs side by side, if you like salads look for a separate dressing pot, accompanying cutlery and storage is always a winner and finally insulation or included cool packs are essential for food safety if you don’t have access to a refrigerator in your workplace. Tupperware can range in price and style and I am always on the lookout for some good pieces. I often find the cheap stuff tends to provide about as much as you could expect – more akin to disposable ware. At the higher end of the scale is the FITMARK and 6 Pack Bags which originally were designed as “meal management systems” for athletes and bodybuilders who needed to eat regularly and  on the go. However, as I tend to be on the road a lot I find this suits my needs perfectly and am obsessed with my lovely fully insulated 6 Pack Mini Innovator Bag which includes 3 anti-spill, microwaveable lunch boxes on a shelved system, mesh side pockets and 2 side compartments for cutlery and water bottles/ protein shakers. It also has a compartmentalised nutrition box (for supplements/nuts etc) and 2 gel packs to keep everything super cold and fresh!

6 Pack Bag Mini Innovator

4. Glass Jars €+

Moving up in the world of storage you also can’t go wrong with some good mason jars. I like to use glassware if I am at home because its nice to hold a heavy dish every now and again LOL!! Seriously though, I find if I am making anything with very strong flavours the glass tends to manage this better than plastic tupperware. Glass withholds flavour, is easier to clean, can be sterilised and often provides superior preservation that tupperware so good for advanced meal prep. On a whimsical note, food looks prettier when prepped in glassware so it’s essential for my IG snaps!

5. Ice Cube Trays €

The last and cheapest of the lot but so useful – a nice little token gift, especially if you can find heart shaped ones! Actually, now that I think about it if you have babies you probably already know the virtues of Ice Cube trays for handy freezing of homemade baby food portions. It woks for adults too. My favourite use of the ice cube tray is for Kale cubes – I blitz leaves of kale with a little water and portion them off in an ice cube tray for quick and easy addition to smoothies and juices. Even if you just want to make ice cubes in your ice cube trays you can fancy them up by adding berries, fruit and herbs that are coming close to their use by date that can later be used to infuse your water.

Happy shopping and gifting. Please don’t forget to share your purchases with us below and watch this space for some awesome recipes and ideas for using them!