Going back to school can be a relief for parents who are excited to have their kids out of the house, but it's also a time that requires a lot of preparation. Lunches don't pack themselves, after all. From Instant Pots to convenient pantry organizers, we've rounded up a few kitchen gadgets and appliances that will help you stay organized while moving all of your meal prep along as quickly as possible -- for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Shop all of our selections below.≈
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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 6 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. Read CNET's guide to choosing an Instant Pot.
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 easy to use and a quick-stop brake system, and it's completely dishwasher-safe.
Food processors can save you a lot of time in the kitchen. This one can hold up to 10 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 convenient bowl scraper attachment that will help all of the ingredients blend evenly.
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 5-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.)
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 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.)
This magnetic meal planner comes with eight colored chalk markers and fits perfectly on a 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.
This box may say it's for kids, but it's perfect for adults as well. It comes with an insulated, leak-proof container for hot or cold food that would be great for carrying soup to work in the winter. It also has two temperature zones and comes with a thermos. Pack the cold stuff ahead of time and you're almost ready to go in the morning. Just pick different colors for you and your kid if you're getting one for both of you.
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.
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. It's also handy for making small batches of sauces or dressings to pack with lunch.
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 make it easy to see the food items you're storing 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).
This story was written by Brittany Loggins and originally posted on Chowhound.