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You know meal planning and meal prep can make healthy eating easier. But you might not feel like you have the time, energy, or brainpower to deal with all things meal prep. After a long day at the office, pretending to care about your coworker’s boring stories, chopping up vegetables just doesn’t sound quite as appealing as grabbing a burger from the corner joint.
But with the right kitchen tools, meal prep can be easier, faster, and frankly, way more fun. Shop these foolproof items so you can save time on food prep, save money on eating out, and save yourself a few culinary headaches.
1. Grocery Delivery Services
Grocery delivery Web sites like InstaCart and Amazon Fresh can be true lifesavers. Not only will you save time by having all your groceries delivered right to your door, but it also prevents you from impulse-buying unnecessary items (oh look, peppermint hot cocoa!) that tempt you at the store.
On a budget? Many delivery services offer monthly and annual plans, which allow you to avoid paying the delivery fee every time you order. Even if you only order once a week, it usually pays itself off!
2. Food Chopper
Dicing veggies can be tedious, but food choppers make it a quick and painless task — and you’ll never ruin your mascara crying over an onion again. The Ninja Food Chopper Express Chop not only chops your vegetables, it can mince, grind, and blend your food, too. Who doesn’t love an all-purpose gadget?
3. Multipurpose Pressure Cooker
I’ll admit, I was a pressure cooker skeptic — until the first time I used one. Pressure cookers work by sealing steam inside the pot, keeping your food nice and juicy. More importantly for meal prep, they cook foods that typically take forever (like dry beans and potatoes) in minutes. The Instant Pot DUO Plus 60 is the most popular option, and for good reason — it can pressure cook, slow cook, sauté, and steam your food. Add to cart!
4. Rapid Egg Cooker
Eggs are a healthy staple in many meal plans, but it’s annoyingly easy to overcook or undercook eggs. (Seriously, we had to conduct a full-on science experiment to figure out how to cook the perfect hard-boiled egg.) A rapid egg cooker takes the guesswork out of it — just hit start and cook up to a dozen eggs in no time. The auto shut-off function prevents overcooking, and it’ll notify you with a buzzer when it’s done. Not a fan of HBEs? You can also make soft-boiled eggs, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, and even individual omelets.
5. Bento Boxes
Take your healthy meals to go with these functional and stylish bento boxes. They’ll help you portion out your meals ahead of time, and they come with cutlery, chopsticks, and separate containers for dips and sauces. They’re also leakproof, microwave safe, and dishwasher safe — so you’ll save time on cleanup, too.
6. Mason Jars
Mason jars aren’t just for hipster wedding centerpieces. They’re also a great tool for prepping and storing overnight oats and salads — and for making pre-made meals feel fancy. (To make overnight oats, fill mason jars with a mix of oats, nuts, seeds, fruit, and spices, and store the jars in the fridge. Add some almond milk to one of the jars at night, and you’ll have a healthy breakfast waiting for you in the a.m.)
7. Conversion Chart Magnet
How many milliliters are in a pint? How many tablespoons are in a cup? Save yourself the headaches (and the endless Google searches!) with this handy stainless measuring magnet, which does the math for you.
8. Herb Stripper
Tired of plucking leaves from your cilantro plant? This cheap and easy tool strips herbs like oregano, rosemary, and thyme off their stems, and can also de-rib leafy greens like kale, collard greens, and chard. We like the simple, versatile design (and cheap price tag!) of this Chef’n herb stripper.
9. Garlic Press
Garlic adds instant flavor to meat and veggies, and it makes your kitchen smell like an Italian restaurant — win-win! But chopping garlic can be a chore, so save time (and fingertips) with this garlic press. It can mince or finely chop garlic in a fraction of the time, and a built-in cleaning feature pushes out the peels.
10. Sharp Knife
This might sound obvious, but there is truly no kitchen tool more vital than a good old-fashioned sharp knife, like this one from Zelite. Hacking away at your veggies with a dull knife can make prep time take way longer than it needs to be. And it’s a tool you know you’ll use daily — so why not invest in a high-quality knife that’ll speed up the chopping process?