Life is busy. There’s no way around that simple fact. Between work, family time, and taking care of yourself, it can be hard to fit in healthy, nutritious meals. It’s much easier to order take out and be done with it. Or, is it? The best meal prep containers can help you enjoy pre-portioned homemade meals that go from freezer to table in minutes.
Maybe you’ve been preparing meals for the week since this trend really kicked off. Maybe, you are just thinking about it. Either way, a set of meal prep containers will help you plan, store, transport, and serve all those perfectly sized meals.
Virtually all meal prep containers share some common features. Read on for some common questions (and detailed answers) about the best meal prep containers.
What Is the Best Meal Prep Container?
Of course, there are so many different types and brands of meal prep containers that it is ultimately up to you to decide which ones will fit best into your lifestyle. In general, though, the best meal prep containers will be durable, easy to store, and offer convenient storage for an actual meal. These are not snack containers, after all.
What Features Do the Best Meal Prep Containers Have?
What features your containers have will depend on what matters most to you. However, here are a few things the best meal prep containers should all have.
Look for lids that close securely. You don’t want to spend hours prepping meals only to have them spill all over the inside of your lunch box every day.
Materials that can go from the freezer to the microwave to the dishwasher make meal prep even more convenient. The best meal prep containers will handle this requirement with ease.
Look for divided compartments to keep everything in its place. This will help preserve the flavor of individual dishes during reheating. It is also useful for keeping things like your carrots and ranch separate. If you are prepping family meals, you might also want several single compartment containers for those larger portions.
Containers should be large enough to store the meals you are preparing. You may want to invest in different sizes if you are going to be making both individual and group meals in advance.
Consider longevity. If you can invest in higher quality containers upfront, they will usually reward you with longer service than thinner, less expensive options.
Are Meal Prep Containers Reusable?
While there are several styles of meal prep containers that are single-use, all of the ones reviewed here are multi-use containers. That can help save money and the environment by minimizing waste.
You will find some containers that can provide years of dependable daily use. Others will last for several months. The lightest weight meal prep containers on our list will handle about ten heavy uses before needing to be replaced.
So, go ahead. Chop, prep, and pack those meals knowing the best meal prep containers will be there for you to fill, freeze, and heat your favorite dishes.
What Are They Made From?
Not all meal prep containers are made alike. With that being said, you are most likely to find ones made from either borosilicate glass or food-grade plastic. Each material has its pros and cons, and it’s ultimately a personal decision which is best for your meal planning.
Glass is considered incredibly safe for food storage and reheating. There is no chance of chemicals leaching into your food from a glass container. The best glass meal prep containers can be reused until it either cracks or the lid wears out or is lost. Keep in mind that some companies may sell replacement lids.
On the flip side, they are heavier to carry, less flexible for storage, and can break if seriously mishandled. You will also have a larger up-front investment if you decide to go with glass containers since they can cost significantly more than plastic ones.
Plastic meal prep containers can offer a lower initial cost than their glass counterparts. They are lightweight, so packing a couple in your cooler or lunch box won’t strain your back. Many stack easily for storage when you are not using them. Plastic meal prep containers mean you don’t have to worry about breaking them if dropped, which makes them an ideal solution for families with small children.
Of course, plastic also has a downside. Many people are concerned about chemicals in plastic leaching into their food. Most plastic meal prep containers will be made from BPA-free materials to help eliminate concern. If you are still hesitant, avoid plastics marked with a 3, which may contain PVC. Although you will have a lower up-front cost with plastic meal prep containers, they do not last as long as glass and will probably need to be replaced after several months or a year.
How Many Containers Do I Need for Meal Prep?
This will all depend on your meal prepping goals. If you are looking to get weekday lunches ready to go, you will need enough to accommodate everyone eating lunch the number of days they pack one. You might want to get a few extra to cover extra meals and lost or broken containers.
If you are planning a week’s worth of dinner, you will need enough containers to accommodate the main dishes and sides for each meal.
Most meal prep containers come packed as sets. You will find some with as few as five containers and others with up to 30. So, you are sure to find a set that meets your needs in the following list of the best meal prep containers.
How We Reviewed
The following products were reviewed based on their features, price, ease of use, and durability. We invested time and effort to research these meal prep containers so you can easily compare them and make the best choice for your family.
Overall Price Range
There can be a wide range regarding prices for food prep containers. You can find simple, economical containers for around $1 each which will last for several uses, or you can invest in heavier containers for ten times as much. Features like materials, warranty, and the number of pieces in each set can affect the price.
What We Reviewed
10 Pack – SimpleHouseware 3 Compartment Food Grade Meal Prep Storage Container
These are an affordable and practical solution for meal planning and prep. Made from FDA-approved, food-grade plastic that is BPA-free, they are lightweight and durable. Rated for temperatures from -40°F to 320°F, they can go from the freezer to the microwave and on to the dishwasher without any ill effects.
This generous set of ten containers will have you setting up weekday lunches in no time. Three individual compartments keep food separate, and the lids seal tightly to avoid leaking between them during transport.
Convenient sizes make these meal prep containers easy to fit in regular lunch boxes, even with ice packs.
Enther Meal Prep Containers [20 Pack]
A single 28-ounce compartment makes this one of the best meal prep containers for larger portion sizes or dishes like stews and chili. With 20 containers, this pack is large enough for family-sized meal prep.
They are made from food-grade BPA-free plastic for a lightweight and portable design. The airtight lids close securely to protect food.
Both the lids and containers can go from the freezer to the microwave and dishwasher. They are designed to last through many uses, and Enther will replace any containers that break during the first ten uses.
EZ Prepa [20 Pack] 32oz 3 Compartment Meal Prep Containers
EZ Prepa makes meal prep super easy with this package of 20 meal prep containers. Constructed of lightweight BPA-free, food-grade plastic, they store, stack, and travel with ease. Three generous compartments will keep your main dish and sides separate.
Feel free to freeze and microwave your food in these containers without worry. When you’re done, simply place the containers and lids in the top rack of your dishwasher to get them completely clean and ready for the next round of meal prep.
Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers
Prep Naturals offers glass meal prep containers for those who want to avoid using plastic storage solutions. Borosilicate glass is incredibly strong and resistant to cracking, so you will likely have years of solid use form these sturdy and durable meal prep containers.
Feel free to use your new containers in the freezer, microwave, and dishwasher just like plastic ones. A nice feature that you can’t get from plastic is that these are also oven safe. That makes them great for prepping whole meals ahead of time.
You will get five containers with locking, airtight lids in each set. Each one holds 34 ounces of food in three divided compartments.
Fitpacker Meal Prep Containers [16 Pack]
These single compartment meal prep containers from Fitpacker offer an affordable and lightweight container for your prepared meals and sides. They are freezer, microwave, and dishwasher safe, although you will want to keep the lids out of the microwave.
With a 28-ounce capacity, you can fit a full meal or sides for the family in a single container. The SureLock seal clicks when it closes, so you can rest assured your food will stay inside the container during travel.
Fitpacker DUO USA Quality Meal Prep Containers 16-Pack
BPA-free, plastic containers offer a lightweight and portable meal prep solution. This 16-pack form Fitpacker is no exception. Each container has two generous compartments, and a slightly domed lid means you can fit a sandwich into the larger side without it getting flattened before lunch.
Fitpackers’ patented SureLock lids provide a worry-free seal to keep your food inside the container and not all over your lunch box.
These are freezer, microwave, and dishwasher safe.
Rubbermaid TakeAlongs 10 Day Meal Prep Kit
This fun set of meal prep containers is perfect for an individual. A large divided tray with lid, plus smaller cups with inserts, and screw on lids keep your food safe, secure, and separate.
Freezer, microwave, and dishwasher safe bases let you prep meals once for the whole week without worry. The plastic on these is fairly thin, so they should be considered somewhat disposable.
Freshware Meal Prep Containers [15 Pack]
Freshware may have outdone themselves with these simple, three-compartment, meal prep containers. They are lightweight and portable thanks to BPA-free, food-grade plastic. Plus, their lifetime replacement or refund policy means you don’t have to worry if something does go wrong.
Containers stack easily with or without food, so storage is never a problem. They clean easily in the dishwasher, leaving no greasy residue that can happen with plastic.
You can use these Freshware meal prep containers in the freezer, microwave, and dishwasher. Three compartments allow you to prep and serve healthy, pre-portioned meals with ease.
Evolutionize Healthy Meal Prep Containers
For people looking for a slightly smaller set of containers, Evolutionize offers this affordable seven-piece set. Lightweight, FDA approved plastic that is free of BPA and other toxic chemicals make them convenient for lunches or other meals on the go.
These containers are dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe. Heavy-duty materials offer prolonged use under normal conditions.
A single 28-ounce compartment accommodates sandwiches or single meals, as well as family-sized sides.
Glasslock 6-Piece Rectangle Oven Safe
This small set of glass meal prep containers will allow an individual to try out meal planning before diving in headfirst. Each container has a slightly different size, so you can easily pack sides or whole meals.
Thick glass construction means you should get years of service from these containers. The lids lock into place with clasps on each side. A soft seal on each can be removed for easy cleaning.
If you are looking for a meal prep set that will last for many years, consider the Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers. Their borosilicate glass construction and locking lids make them one of the best meal prep containers we reviewed.
People looking for something lighter and easier to pack in a lunchbox will appreciate the Fitpacker meal prep containers. Both the single and double compartment containers offer great features that will help make meal prep easy.
Families on a tight budget might want to look at the Freshware meal prep containers. They are a solid economy choice that is backed by a lifetime replacement or refund policy.
In the end, the best meal prep container for you and your family is the one that best serves your meal planning needs.