When I worked out of the house all day, I packed my lunch and snacks, hoping to avoid the temptation to eat out. And while I won't admit how often I would cheat, I still needed the best meal prep containers. That way, I could batch cook pasta, my lunch of choice, and not have to worry about my lunch for the next few days.
We can all benefit from some meal prep, either to save time or money. But there are a lot of containers out there, and some aren't so good.
So, how do you find the best meal prep containers?
Meals Made Easy
No matter where you work, meal prepping has many benefits. First, you won't have to spend money to get a good meal. And more importantly, you have control over what you bring.
But how do you pack meals? You can't just throw a salad in a plastic bag and call it good. If you want to pack your lunch or snacks in something with a bit of structure, you need the best meal prep containers.
Of course, we all have different food preferences and will pack different meals. However, the best meal prep containers can hold just about any food you want them to. That way, you can have lunch ready before you get to work so that you aren't tempted by the restaurant next door.
What are meal prep containers?
Meal prep containers are a type of food storage container, but there are some differences. If you have a bunch of leftovers you want to keep at home, you can store them all in a bigger bowl or on a bigger plate.
However, meal prep containers are smaller; they only fit one serving of food. Of course, you can use the best meal prep containers for other leftovers. But the smaller containers make it easier to portion your food out.
Like other food storage containers, meal prep storage containers come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. So before you choose which ones to use, consider what you want to store in them and if they'll need to survive the freezer or microwave.
What do they do?
The purpose of all meal prep containers is to hold a single serving of food that you prepare long before you plan to eat. One of the most common reasons for meal prepping is to have food for work or school.
You can cook a bunch of food at once and have meals for the week. And sure, you can store all of the food in one large container. However, the best meal prep containers let you separate the food now so you can save time later. People often use them to save money by budgeting, to achieve fitness goals, or to just grab food and go.
Why are they different from other containers?
While you could meal prep with any food storage container, meal prep containers are the better option. First, meal prep containers are the perfect size for portioning your meals.
Next, the best meal prep containers can survive anything from the freezer to the oven. If you need to put your food in the fridge or freezer, you need a container that will last. And the same is true if you need to reheat your food in a microwave or oven.
Third, the best meal prep containers should come with a good, airtight lid. The airtight lid is great for freshness and spill protection.
Finally, some of the best meal prep containers have multiple sections so you can pack a full meal in one box. The container might have a larger section for an entree as well as smaller sections for side dishes, like fruit or a salad.
How do you find the best meal prep containers?
The best meal prep containers for you will depend on your needs and wants. Do you plan to take the meals to work, or are they going to stay in your fridge for quick and easy dinners?
Will you need to freeze any of your meals? If you need to reheat the food, will it go in the microwave or the oven?
If you know you'll need to freeze your food, you should look for freezer-safe meal prep containers. The same is true for reheating in a microwave or oven. Make sure your containers are microwave- or oven-safe.
What should you consider?
Before you start looking for the best meal prep containers for you, there are still a few more things to consider. Of course, you may want containers that will last in the fridge or the oven.
But aside from that, you should also consider things like the size and shape.
Most meal prep containers are on the smaller side. After all, a lot of them are for portioning out your meals. However, size can vary.
You probably don't want a large container for a few pieces of fruit. But you also won't be able to fit an entree in a super small container.
Next, you'll want to consider the shape. Soups and salads work great in bowls, but sandwiches don't. Sandwiches need a flat bottom and enough space so they can lay flat.
On the other hand, you will need a relatively deep container for any soups you plan to make.
Out the Door
Whatever your reason for meal prepping, you need the best meal prep containers. However, there are tons of containers out there, and it can be hard to find the best ones.
For our search, we started with what the experts had to say. We wanted to know what they would recommend so that we would have a better idea of what to look for ourselves.
From there, we found similar products. We looked at size, shape, and other features. And we considered customer reviews.
Even if a product was suggested to us, we wanted to know how people felt about using the containers in their daily lives.
After that, we were able to find a list of some of the best meal prep containers available on the market.
The Best Meal Prep Containers
Whether you need easy dinners or lunches for work, the best meal prep containers are an essential tool. You can use meal prep containers to store just about any meal you could imagine.
However, not all meal prep containers are the best. The best of the best meal prep containers stand out from the rest because of their size, shape, or versatility.
So if you're looking to up your meal prep game, consider these meal prep containers.
The Glasslock Container Set is an excellent option if you want to keep your food in glass containers. It comes with three containers of different sizes along with matching lids.
The containers are 1.6 cups, 3.5 cups, and 6.3 cups, and you can choose from rectangular, square, and round containers. This set is safe in the microwave and oven, so you can use it when reheating food.
You can also put it in the fridge or freezer, and you can throw it in the dishwasher to make cleaning easy. The lids are airtight and leakproof, so you don't have to worry about it spilling during a hectic commute.
Customers love the quality materials and how the lids seal well. However, others have had problems with the lids sealing or even breaking.
- MEAL PREP CONTAINERS 1 Compartment with SmartestLock locking lids guarantee leakproof food storage without spills.
- PREP MEALS AT HOME, THEN EAT ON THE GO – make a lunch box with home-cooked food for the whole family and bring it to...
- 5 x 30oz GLASS FOOD STORAGE CONTAINERS - Biggest Set and Best Value you can find on Amazon. Perfect for meal prepping...
The Glass Meal Prep Containers from Prep Naturals are another fantastic choice. This set comes with 5 30-ounce rectangular containers with matching lids.
Each lid locks into place to prevent leaks, so you can take your food on the go. The glass is safe in the microwave, oven, and freezer. However, the lids aren't safe at extreme temperatures.
These containers each have a single compartment, so you can't separate different foods. But since you get five containers, you can split your foods between two or more.
Multiple customers love the glass and how the lids fit nice and tight. Unfortunately, some customers say the glass and the lid can break easily.
- SAVE TIME AND MONEY – Prep Naturals' new Meal Prep Containers are perfect for people who are looking for an easy way...
- SAFE AND EASY TO USE – These FDA approved meal prep containers are made from BPA, PVC and Phthalate free materials and...
- PORTION CONTROL - These lunch containers with portion control help you stick to your diet plan and lose weight. The food...
If you don't want or need glass, consider the standard Meal Prep Containers from Prep Naturals. These containers are plastic and disposable, so you don't have to worry about keeping track of them or washing them.
You get 30 containers plus lids in a single pack, which can last you a while. These containers are FDA approved and 100 percent food safe. They don't contain BPA, PVC, or other harmful plastics.
The containers are safe at -4 degrees Fahrenheit (F) up to 230 degrees F. So while you can't put them in the oven, they can go in the fridge or freezer. If you want to put them in the microwave, make sure the power doesn't exceed 800 watts.
Customers say the bowls do well in the microwave but no the lids. Others say they're the perfect tool for meal prepping.
- 24 PIECE SET includes 12 containers with 12 lids. Store and transport entrees and soups confidently with our...
- LEAKPROOF 4-hinge locking system forms an airtight, watertight seal between container and lid. Never endure spilled...
- 5 SIZES fulfill all your storage needs. Includes (2) 35oz rectangular container [4.4 cups]; (3) 30oz rectangular...
The Fullstar Food Storage Containers includes some of the most diverse, best meal prep containers. One set includes 2 35-ounce regular containers, 3 30-ounce rectangular containers, and 2 25-ounce round containers. You also get 3 12-ounce rectangular containers and 2 19-ounce rectangular containers.
These containers are FDA approved and don't contain toxic plastics. You can put them in the fridge and freezer. The containers can go in the microwave for up to five minutes, but the lids can't.
While the containers and lids are clear, you can choose between black, red, and green edges. That's a nice touch if you need to distinguish your food from someone else's.
Customers love the durability and airtight seal of the containers. However, others mention the containers aren't safe for the microwave.
- SMART KITCHEN STORAGE: This Easy Essentials 4-Piece Food Storage Container set includes four 41-ounce square containers.
- DURABLE FOOD CONTAINER: Unique, patented 4-hinge locking system is durability tested for long-lasting performance up to...
- NO MESS, STAYS FRESH: Enhanced silicone seal is 100% airtight to keep foods fresh longer and 100% leakproof to prevent...
LOCK & LOCK's Airtight Food Storage Container comes in sets of different sizes and shapes. The pack of four square containers is an excellent starting point.
It features a special locking system that makes the containers airtight and watertight so food won't leak or spill. The plastic is BPA-free and FDA approved.
You can put the containers in the fridge and microwave, and you can even put them in the top rack of the dishwasher. The containers are suitable for meal prep and general food storage, which is nice if you need to store extra leftovers.
Customers love how the containers won't let air get in or out. However, others say the containers smell weird.
The Pyrex Simply Store Starter Set is great for anyone wanting the best meal prep containers made of glass. You get a set with round and rectangular containers, and the lids are easy enough to fit.
The containers won't stain or retain smells, so you can use them with different meals each week. This set is microwave- and freezer-safe, and they can go on the top rack of the dishwasher.
That includes the BPA-free plastic lids. And if you don't need the full Starter Set, they have smaller sets you can choose from.
One customer said they're the perfect alternative to plastic containers. However, multiple reviewers stated their bowls explored in the microwave.
- SET INCLUDES: Three collapsible bowls with lids with three sizes 1½ cup (360 ml), 3 cup (720 ml) and 5 cup (1.2 L)...
- GREAT FOR SAVING LEFTOVERS: Use collapsible storage bowl set to pack leftovers for lunch and reheat in the microwave
- SPACE SAVING: When done using, the storage bowls collapse down to ⅓ their original height for convenient storage in a...
If you don't want to forget your containers after a day of work, consider the collapsible Prep and Storage Bowls from Prepworks by Progressive. These bowls can fold up when empty, which makes them easy to transport and store.
The set comes with three bowls of varying sizes, specifically 1.5 cups, 3 cups, and 5 cups. They have airtight lids that snap on easily and are easily enough to remove.
These bowls are safe for the freezer, microwave, and dishwasher. They're an excellent option for taking to work or school, but you can also use them at home.
Customers say they're great for travel or if you don't have a ton of space. However, some say that food can stain the bowls.
- Rectangular divided food storage containers let you keep snacks separate
- Lids with easy-locking clips and extended flexible seal help keep contents fresh
- Modular stacking design helps save valuable space
The Klip It Multi-Use Food Storage Set from Sistema includes the best meal prep containers for full meals. Each container has two sides so you can split your entree from a salad or other side.
The lids lock into place easily, and a flexible seal keeps your food fresh and ready to go. These containers are 100 percent BPA-free. The capacity for each container is 11.8 ounces, and you get a set of 3.
You can store them in the fridge and freezer, and you can wash them in the dishwasher. The containers are also microwave-safe but not the lids.
Customers love using them for lunches and other meal prep. However, some say they're not leakproof.
Packed and Ready
Whether you need lunches for work or an easy dinner to come home to, you need the best meal prep containers. They can save you time from having to cook each meal. And you can store them in the fridge and reheat the container when it's time to eat.
We think all of the containers on our list are some of the best meal prep containers available. But we want to know which ones you would choose as the best meal prep containers. Leave us a comment with your answer!