Meal prepping saves me so much time and money - here are 6 tools that'll turn you into a pro

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So you're ready to jump on the meal prep bandwagon.

I salute you - meal prepping is a terrific way to save money and time in the kitchen while also reducing food waste, time spent figuring out what to eat for lunch, and the nightly annoyance of delayed takeout orders.

While it may take a few weeks to get your routine down, the right cooking gadgets can help set you up for success. The six tools below will help speed up your veggie chopping, bake multiple meals at once, and keep all your food fresh while shaving time off your prep and keeping you motivated for weeks (heck, months) to come.

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A baking sheet

A baking sheet
Buy TeamFar Baking Sheets (set of 2) for $22.99 on Amazon

This versatile staple is great for roasting veggies, cooking proteins, making entire one-pan meals, baking desserts, and so much more. You could throw a melange of vegetables on this bad boy like Brussels sprouts, carrots, and potatoes, roast them all at once, and then divide them up for a week's worth of lunches.

A food processor

A food processor
Buy the Hamilton Beach Snap Food Processor for $49.99 on Amazon

Consider this item your sous chef. It can chop, shred, julienne, and slice batches of vegetables without any hiccups. It can mix the right ingredients into smooth nut butters, soups, sauces, and dips easily. It can shred cheese and make bread crumbs in second. Basically, it does everything you need — and quickly. Seriously, you could spend half an hour at your kitchen counter chopping mushrooms or carrots for the week, or you could have this food processor do it in seconds.

A Crock-Pot

A Crock-Pot
Buy the 8-quart Crock-Pot Slow Cooker for $59.99 on Amazon

Crock-Pot meals mean you'll to be in the kitchen for as little time as possible. If you’re looking for a way to make big batches of soups and stews, tender servings of pulled pork or chicken, or the creamiest mac and cheese ever, the Crock-Pot slow cooker is your ticket. This one has a programmable function so you can set the cook time accordingly. There are truly countless dishes you can make with this kitchen wonder and once you get the hang of it, you won’t believe you'd ever lived without it.

An Instant Pot

An Instant Pot
Buy the 6-quart Instant Pot Pressure Cooker for $79.99 on Amazon

Okay, so you probably don't need a Crock Pot and an Instant Pot; it really depends on your life and cooking style. While the slow cooker allows you to set your meal and forget it (you can press a button in the morning and have dinner hot and ready by the time you're home), the Instant Pot works faster because it's a pressure cooker and is just as versatile. The gadget has somewhat of a cult following and can be used to make large batches of yogurt, oatmeal, rice, and chili, as well as roast whole chickens and a small family's worth of veggies. If you want to shave time off your meal prep routine, the Instant Pot is definitely the way to go.

Some packable containers

Some packable containers
Buy the WORTHBUY Insulated 3-Tier Lunch Box Set for $28.99 on Amazon

Once you've cooked your meals, you'll need to divide them up into containers that are durable and easy to transport. This neat set of steel containers is an unexpected choice compared to traditional Tupperware containers, but it's super helpful for meal preppers. It comes as a stack of two or three so you can separate foods that might get soggy; each container's bottom serves as the lid for the one on top and there's a lid with a carrying handle for easy portability. The set also comes with an insulated, leak-resistant lunch box that's perfect for keeping food warm or cold.

Something to carry your food in

Something to carry your food in
Buy the Srise Insulated Lunch Box for $13.88 on Amazon

If you already have your own meal prep containers (or a ton of takeout containers you kept from your previous life), an insulated lunch box is great for easy transport without worrying about leakage or your food getting cold. You could totally go the nostalgic route with a print of your favorite superhero, or prove yourself a true adult with this handsome, leak-proof tote that comes in a bunch of cool colors.

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