Going back to school can be a relief for parents who are excited to have their kids out of the house—but this year, that might not be happening. Even if they are still distance learning, it’s a time that requires a lot of preparation. Lunches don’t make themselves, after all. So, check out our selections for the best meal prep tools for making lunch quick and easy.
From Instant Pots to super convenient pantry organizers, we’ve rounded up a few kitchen gadgets that will help you stay organized while moving all of your meal prep along as quickly as possible—breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in fact.
Instant Pot DUO Plus, $119.95 from Amazon
Instant Pot / Amazon
If you haven’t invested in an Instant Pot yet, back-to-school season is the perfect time to make the jump. This pressure cooker holds up to six quarts and can be used as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, warmer, or sterilizer. It’s perfect for meal preppers who want to make a big batch of shredded chicken or pork to use in lunches all week, and for quick weeknight dinners (whether or not you assemble all of the ingredients ahead of time). Check out some of our favorite Instant Pot breakfast recipes too.
OXO Little Salad And Herb Spinner, $27.99 from Target
OXO / Target
This small salad and herb spinner makes it easy to prep single or double servings of greens, or wash and dry produce like grapes (school lunch box essentials). It has a pumping knob at the top that makes it super easy to use, and it’s completely dishwasher safe.
Cuisinart Elemental 13-Cup Food Processor with Spiralizer & Dicer, $249.95 from Williams Sonoma
Food processors can save you a lot of time in the kitchen. This one can hold up to 13 cups so that you can make enough hummus, sauces, nut butter, or whatever else you need to last throughout the week. It can also act as a food and vegetable chopper (good for slaw, salad, sautes, and even grinding your own meat blends), and comes with a spiralizer option to make your own zoodles.
OXO Good Grips Egg Slicer, $9.99 from Amazon
Boiled eggs make the perfect fast weekday snack and a big batch can be turned into various meals throughout the week. This tool cuts them into perfect five millimeter slices for salads and sandwiches (slice them again crosswise for perfect egg salad cubes!), and it’s dishwasher safe so that it’s easy to clean. (Pro-tip: Make Instant Pot boiled eggs—you can do up to a dozen at once.)
OXO Good Grips 5-Piece POP Container Set, $39.99 from Amazon
This five piece airtight storage set comes with containers in a variety of sizes that are perfect for holding snacks, cereals, and other dry foods. They are stackable and clear, making it easy to spot certain items from the second you walk into your pantry—no more rummaging around. (If you can’t get enough organizing inspo, check out “The Home Edit” show coming soon to Netflix.)
MoKo Magnetic Menu Board for Kitchen Fridge, $12.95 from Amazon
MoKo / Amazon
This magnetic meal planner comes with eight colored chalk markers and fits perfectly on your fridge. It’s great for mapping out weekday dinners or lunches, the first step to meal prepping like a pro. You can also write yourself notes so you don’t forget important dates, like field trips or school bake sales—or this year, just use it to keep track of their virtual class schedule.
Thermos Kids’ Freestyle Kit, $24.99 from Target
Thermos / Target
This box may say it’s for kids, but it’s perfect for adults as well. It comes with removable organizing trays and two leak-proof jars (one for food and one for condiments or dressings) so nothing gets soggy. Pack it ahead of time and you’re ready to go in the morning, but you can also pair it with a classic Thermos jar if you want to send along hot soup. Also available on Amazon.
mDesign Modern Plastic Water Bottle Holder Stand, $25.99 from Amazon
mDesign / Amazon
At this point it’s safe to say that nearly everyone has more water bottles than they know what to do with. This organizer makes it easy to display all of the options so that you’re actually putting some of them to use (just be sure to clean them often enough). It’s perfect for your pantry.
NutriBullet Pro Plus Blender, $89 from Amazon
Nutribullet / Amazon
If you love a good smoothie on your way out the door in the morning, the NutriBullet will make it so much easier. This high-powered little blender makes the perfect serving size and quickly mixes any ingredients you can throw at it, and includes two flip-top lids to take your breakfast on the go (even if that’s just to your home office). It’s also handy for making small batches of sauces or dressings to pack with lunch.
Sorbus Fridge and Freezer Bins, $33.99 from Amazon
We all know that feeling of the fridge getting way too overcrowded. These clear containers will help you stay organized and make it so much easier to clean off shelves. They also perfectly display all of your food items so that you waste less by not letting them languish (or forgetting you have ranch and buying a brand new bottle you don’t need yet).