Best meal prep containers

Storage

Even if your plastic meal prep container is advertised as microwave safe, repeated exposure to heat can still damage seals and warp the plastic. Consider saving your plastic containers for cold dishes and use glass for the rest.

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Which meal prep container is best?

If you’re always on the go, it’s hard to find time to prepare meals every day. That’s why many people make all of their meals for the week in advance, which is a healthy practice that ensures they’ll never have to worry about tomorrow’s lunch.

But meal prep is more than just throwing a sandwich into a bag. The meal prep containers need to be durable, portable and leakproof. The Pyrex Simply Store Food Storage Set is all of the above, but there are other factors to consider before making your purchase. 

What to know before you buy a meal prep container

Materials

Reusable meal prep containers feature a wide variety of materials, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks.

  • Glass: While a little more expensive than some other container types, glass is a great material because it’s naturally BPA-free and almost always safe to use in the dishwasher and microwave. These containers may be heavier than plastic or silicone containers, making them less portable. 
  • Plastic: Affordable and lightweight, plastic meal prep containers are usually microwave and dishwasher safe and typically more durable than glass. Take care when considering plastic, however, as some of these containers may not be BPA-free or nontoxic. Certain plastic meal prep containers can also stain easily. 
  • Metal: Like the classic kids’ lunchbox, many meal prep containers are made of metals like stainless steel or aluminum. These are very durable and maintain temperature better than other materials, but they’re never microwave safe. 
  • Silicone: These containers have been growing in popularity because of their space-saving collapsible design. This material is durable and microwave safe, but the containers are expensive and not particularly portable. 

Meal prep tips

The perfect bulk meal prep containers can look a little different for everyone. Do you need meals to take with you to the office, or are you just looking to simplify your dinnertime routine? Consider how these containers are going to fit into your current lifestyle before settling on a storage set. 

A few large glass containers, for instance, are ideal to hold prepared rice or steamed veggies for dinner, while smaller plastic containers with compartments may be perfect for individuals with busy schedules or those adhering to specific nutritional plans. 

What to look for in a quality meal prep container

Three-compartment meal prep containers

Depending on the kind of meals you like to prepare, containers that feature separate compartments can be extremely convenient. For example, those who are closely monitoring their serving sizes may appreciate the ability to store veggies in one compartment and a sandwich in another.

Dishwasher safe

For people with hectic schedules, it can be hard to find the time to hand-wash their used meal prep containers. Look for products that are explicitly described as dishwasher safe.

Microwave/oven safe

If you’re taking your prepared meals to work or class, look for containers listed as microwave safe. If you’re just preparing meals to enjoy at home, oven-safe containers are sufficient. 

Storage and portability

Some reusable meal prep containers are lightweight and perfect for carrying in a backpack or briefcase. Others may take up less storage and stack easily in a cabinet or drawer. 

How much you can expect to spend on a meal prep container

The cost of a bulk meal prep container set can vary depending on how many are included and the material used. Most people can expect to pay around $15 to $50 for a set of reliable containers.

Meal prep container FAQ

How long can I keep food in a meal prep container? 

A. If you don’t think you’ll finish your prepared dishes in four or five days, consider freezing the remaining meals so nothing goes bad.

When should I prepare my meals for the week? 

A. Many people prepare their meals over the weekend, specifically Sundays, but you can meal prep any day that you’re available and feeling up to the task. 

What’s the best meal prep container to buy?

Top meal prep container

Pyrex 18-Piece Simply Store Glass Food Storage Set

Pyrex 18-Piece Simply Store Glass Food Storage Set

What you need to know: These premium glass containers are versatile, easy to clean and leakproof. 

What you’ll love: Sold by one of the most reputable names in the Tupperware storage industry, this glass container set features durable, thick glass and BPA-free plastic lids. The high-quality, nonporous glass won’t stain or absorb odors, and the containers are completely dishwasher and microwave-safe.

What you should consider: The plastic lids can tear or warp after extended use. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top meal prep container for the money

Freshware Three-Compartment Meal Prep and Food Storage Containers

Freshware Three-Compartment Meal Prep and Food Storage Containers

What you need to know: These plastic containers are very affordable and come with built-in compartments for convenient meal prep.

What you’ll love: The purchase comes with 15 BPA-free plastic containers with leakproof lids. Some users note how much food each container can hold, while others report an easy cleaning process in the dishwasher. They’re also designed to stack easily in storage.

What you should consider: A few customers had their containers crack over time, so durability may be an issue. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids Food Storage Container

Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids Food Storage Container

What you need to know: With 42 pieces included in a single set, these durable plastic containers are a great way for beginners to incorporate meal prepping into their daily routines. 

What you’ll love: Simple and versatile, these BPA-free plastic containers are microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe, and they easily stack together when stored. The containers themselves are also very durable, and the recognizable red lids are easy to find in a dark cabinet.

What you should consider: These plastic containers can stain after extended use, making them somewhat unappetizing to look at. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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