There are so many great reasons to take your lunch to work with you every day. First off, it’s cheaper. Are you spending $50 each week stopping at that taco truck up the road? That’s $200 each month. And while it’s probably insanely delicious, it isn’t going to help you reach your financial goals. Making use of leftovers and home-prepared meals will cut down on your expenses tremendously.
Eating homemade meals is also much healthier. According to the CDC, 90% of Americans eat too much salt. Most of which comes from fast food and processed food, and even restaurants use more salt to flavor their foods than you do at home.
If you have a particularly strict diet to help you reach your New Year's resolutions, like the Keto diet, making your own food is a necessity.
No matter what is motivating you to start your meal prepping journey, here are 11 of the best containers on the market today to help you reach your goals.
Plastic Meal Prep Containers
Okay, we know that plastic is getting to be a taboo word, and for good reason. But there are times when plastic is just more practical and safe. Plus, plastic is lightweight and easy to transport, making meal planning simple.
Freshware : Best Reusable/ Bulk Options
If you have a hot date after work, do you really want to be lugging around your lunch leftovers? These containers from Freshware are reusable, but it also won't be the end of the world if you need to clean one out in the break room and pop it in a recycle bin on your way out the door. After all, there are 21 of them.
Keep in mind that the convenience of these containers do come with some drawbacks. Are the plastic lids spill-proof? Probably not, so you will want to find another option for that soup you made last night.
And while they say reusable, they definitely won't last as long as other options. Or rather, you shouldn't use them for as long.
Rubbermaid Pre-Portioned Meal Kit : Best Portion Control Options
Portion control is a major component when it comes to meal planning. After all, we could technically throw 4 slices of pizza in a bag and call that meal planning. But that's not gonna get you anywhere near the healthier version of yourself you've been trying to get back to since New Years.
Rubbermaid is not new to the food storage container world and has met our request for portion control with this all-in-one lunchbox for adults.
This box consists of a carry box with removable containers so you can customize your meal each day. Rubbermaid includes a meal planning kit and perfectly matched containers that are different sizes for each of the food groups, so you don't have to think too hard about eating healthy. But don't let the number of containers fool you--this box is still easy to clean. Just throw it all in the dishwasher at the end of the day and you are good to go in the morning.
Glass Food Prep Containers
Once you opt for glass meal prep containers, you may find it hard to go back to plastic. Glass containers aren't subject to the same discoloration, warping or lingering smells that plastic containers can be.
Glass is more eco-friendly And glass containers are significantly better for your health since you won't worry about toxins leaching into your food. It's really a win all around.
Prep Naturals : Best Glass Bento
There is just something about glass that screams, "I'm an adult now." And these Prep Naturals Bento Boxes from Amazon have never made being responsible look so easy.
This set features thick glass with leak-proof locking lids to keep unfortunate food scraps and smells from escaping. And the three compartments make meal prepping and portion control easy.
Choose from a pack of 3, 4 or 5 piece set.
Like all glass containers, these containers are BPA-Free, microwaveable and dishwasher safe. They are also okay to go in the oven and freezer.
Mason Jars : Best Multi-Purpose
Mason Jars have made themselves comfortable in homes across America for years. (Including my own.) Mason jars can be used for storing pantry goods, drinking glasses, decorations and a whole lot more. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a need that a mason jar can’t meet.
An oldie but a goodie, mason jars should not be overlooked when it comes to finding the right food prep container.
With a multitude of sizes to choose from, you don't have to look too hard to find the right size for your needs.
You will also enjoy easy cleaning, reheating and leak-proof lids.
Meal preppers have found mason jars to be a great way to store overnight oats and salads.
Mason jars are freezer, microwave, dishwasher and oven safe.
Stainless Steel Options
I know what you're thinking. Wouldn't it be great if there was something as easy to use as plastic but without the bulk or heaviness of glass food storage containers? And the answer is: Yes.
Let me introduce you to the new kid on the meal prep container block–-stainless steel.
I was skeptical at first. How could something be sustainable, lightweight, easy to clean and without the added burden of toxins? But after a few experiences with stainless steel, I was sold.
If you are going to go stainless as a way to keep your food fresh and perfectly planned, check out these options.
Ecolunchbox: Easiest Eco-Friendly Bundle
This stackable three piece set is a great go-to container to get you through the work day. Fill one section up with snacks, another with a sandwich and the third with some fresh fruits or veggies.
The nesting features make the ecolunchbox easy to carry around. And the locking lids mean you won't have to worry about that infamous crumb build-up on the bottom of your bag.
Unfortunately, as with all stainless steel containers, you can't microwave these bad boys. But that might actually be in your favor as you won't have to worry about any unfortunate effects that come from nuking your food.
Reviews also indicate that these are not fully spill-proof, so you will want to find something else for your ranch or soup.
Little Honu Stainless Steel Containers: Most Reliable Eco-Friendly
Where the last stainless option left something to be desired with liquids, these stainless containers with silicone lids solve that problem. You can safely stash your condiments, hummus or sauces in these without the fear of a serious mess.
This set of four includes containers of different sizes to help you customize your meal with ease.
Because they are lightweight, they are great for hiking, camping or as a means to stock your fridge with fresh and ready-to-grab foods. These containers are freezer-safe too!
The company totes that consumers can rest assured that your food will be free from BPA, BPS, Phtalates, PVC, lead and any plastic chemicals.
Meal prepping doesn't stop with the adults. In fact, school lunches are the reason some families (like yours truly) begin seeking out good container options in the first place. Who wants to pay for those school lunches if you can help it?
No matter what your kiddo's age or food preferences, here are some great options designed with the littlest family members in mind.
Bentgo Kids Prints Lunch Box: Best For School Lunches
Is there anything more annoying than sifting through your child's lunchbox at the end of the day to decipher what was eaten, what was missed and what can be reused the next day? (Surely I'm not the only one who reuses food, right?)
This bento box from Bentgo Kids is everything a child's lunch container should be: fun to look at, leak-proof, and easy to clean. This lunch box features five unifying-compartments that make it easy to give your child a balanced meal, without the gross aftermath.
No more shuffling through old, sticky lunchboxes––everything is perfectly and beautifully laid out.
Animals not your kid's thing? You can choose between 11 other designs.
OXO Tot 2 ounce Baby Blocks : Best Baby Food Storage Containers
If baby food is a staple in your house, have you thought of making your own baby food to save some money? This container set from OXO is great for storing the fruit (or veggies) of your hard work.
Combined with a little planning and a great blender, you can stock your freezer with these 2-ounce baby blocks and never worry about the quality of your baby's food again.
While this set is plastic, it is made without PVC, BPA and phthalates.
But if that still isn't your thing, you can always opt for the glass blocks instead.
Other Things You Need to Know About
While we are talking about frugal meal prepping, there are a couple of things you should know about. Eco-friendly products not only save the planet, but they also help make room in your budget so you aren't buying the same, single-use item over and over and over again.
You don't realize how much you're spending on Ziplocs and saran wrap until you don't have to buy it each month.
Bagasse Clamshell Takeout Container: Best Disposable
For those times when you just have to dump your leftovers, these Bagasse Clamshell Takeout Containers are the way to go. They keep your food packed nicely inside the container until you are ready to use it. They also absorb grease so your bag won’t get ruined by seepage from your lunch. And you can stick these babies right in the microwave, which is pretty convenient.
These takeout containers come in packs of 50 and 100, which makes them a great option if you are hosting a dinner party and want your guests to leave with some leftovers.
The eco-friendly plant-based fiber that they are made from is easily compostable and renewable, so you don’t have to feel bad for throwing away disposable containers.
Bees Wrap: Best for Wrapping Up Leftovers
When the dishwasher is full or you don't want to spend time looking for matching lids, it's just easier to wrap up your sandwich. But what do you use?
Tinfoil is on the chopping block when it comes to wrapping your food each day and saran wrap is questionable and downright expensive.
That's where Bees Wrap comes in.
Using beeswax and jojoba oil, these wraps help keep your food fresh without the added bulkiness of a container or the hassle of restocking every day. Each wrap can last for multiple uses if you take care of them. We have a few that are still going strong after a year!
Sure it's a bit of an investment. But the savings really add up over time.
Stasher 100% Silicone Reusable Food Bag: Best Snack Bags
Sometimes you need to pack a quick snack in your bag but don't want the hassle or bulkiness of a traditional container. In those moments, it's always a good idea to have some baggies for snacks.
As an ever-grazing household, I get the struggle. My daughter came out of the womb hungry every 2 hours and is still that way. We've tried a lot of reusable baggies in our pre-COVID days. And if I'm being honest, I was about to give up the fight entirely until I found the Stasher bag.
Like Bees Wrap, Stasher bags will require some up-front investment. But the trade-off is worth it.
Unlike some other brands, our Stashers have not lost their integrity after several uses and washes. (Some of our other silicone bags stopped closing after a few months of use!) And, these ones just stay cleaner. I don't know how or why, but our other bags also turned a nice brown & grey color.
They are made entirely of silicone, meaning they are great for the fridge, freezer and are stovetop and dishwasher safe.
I think you can technically reheat your goodies in the microwave or oven since, well, it's silicone. But I've never ventured that far.
Now Get Cooking
Meal prepping can be a struggle in and of itself as you venture into uncharted recipes and grocery visits. With so much going on, you can at least save yourself the struggle of finding the right container to meet your needs. And, of course, save yourself some serious dough from cutting back on take-out.
Whether you have been meal planning for years and need an upgrade on your supplies, or you are just starting out––there are great food storage options available.
You might also be interested in: 5 Meal Prepping Tips (That Make Your Waistline And Wallet Happier)
The 11 Best Meal Prep Containers :
- Freshware : Best Reusable/ Bulk Options
- Rubbermaid Pre-Portioned Meal Kit : Best Portion Control Options
- Rubbermaid Pre-Portioned Meal Kit : Best Portion Control Options
- Mason Jars : Best Multi-Purpose
- Ecolunchbox: Easiest Eco-Friendly Bundle
- Little Honu Stainless Steel Containers: Most Reliable Eco-Friendly
- Bentgo Kids Prints Lunch Box: Best For School Lunches
- OXO Tot 2 ounce Baby Blocks : Best Baby Food Storage Containers
- Bagasse Clamshell Takeout Container: Best Disposable
- Bees Wrap: Best for Wrapping Up Leftovers
- Stasher 100% Silicone Reusable Food Bag: Best Snack Bags