If you consider the most important impediment to wholesome eating, it often comes right down to time.
Between demanding jobs, household life, extracurricular actions, and every part in between, it can be arduous to carve out the time to prepare dinner wholesome, home-cooked meals.
Meal prepping has been the solution to this drawback – as an alternative of being chained to your kitchen stove a number of occasions a day, you’re taking time on one particular day (Sunday is a favorite) to turn on some music, chop some veggies, and put together wholesome, home-cooked meals in your week.
This manner, once you’re operating late to work or the youngsters have to go to softball apply; you’re grabbing fast meals out of the fridge as an alternative of from the drive-thru.
Upon getting your recipes for the week, the subsequent question comes up – what on earth am I placing all these in?
Contemplate your Tupperware drawer which, if it’s anything like mine, is a messy collection of mismatched containers and lids. Whenever you’re getting ready anyplace from 5 to 25 meals per week, having designated containers not solely helps make them straightforward to retailer, nevertheless it additionally permits you to dish equal portions into every container.
With the apply of meal preparation gaining reputation, there are seemingly countless meal prep container units obtainable for buy. Nevertheless, there’s no have to be overwhelmed – contemplating just some key qualities may also help you decide the most effective product in your way of life.
What do you have to look for in your meal prep container set? Listed here are the issues to think about before you drop any cash on a set of containers.
- 1 Our Prime Decide
- 2 What to Contemplate Before Buying a Meal Prep Container
- 3 Best Glass Containers for Meal Prep
- 4 Best Plastic Containers for Meal Prep
- 5 Getting ready for Health
Our Prime Decide
Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers
Though we function 6 great container options in this article, our favourite product comes from Prep Naturals. We like the fact that they’re constructed from glass (our most popular materials) but in addition the durability of these containers is just unparalleled – the power to deliver them from the oven to the freezer to the microwave makes meal prepping super convenient.
What to Contemplate Before Buying a Meal Prep Container
Before you even begin shopping product options, take a while to consider the forms of meals you’ll be getting ready. Watery meals like soups and stews will need very totally different containers than things like tofu scramble and sandwiches.
Maintain your favorite meal concepts in mind as you’re wanting via your choices – that may help guide you to products that may work greatest for you.
Little question, the most important and first consideration you’ll need to make when purchasing your meal prep meals containers is what material they’re created from. The preferred container supplies are the large three – plastic, glass, and metallic.
Plastic meals prep containers are undoubtedly the most cost effective and most popular material, however plastic comes with its share of controversy. The chief grievance relating to plastic is the presence of BPA and phthalates, which we’ll get deeper into within the subsequent part.
The subsequent best choice is metallic, which will get two thumbs up as a result of it’s straightforward to wash and doesn’t include BPA (double examine to ensure the lining doesn’t include BPA, though). Metallic can also be light-weight, which makes your containers straightforward to hold alongside, and it seems to be snazzy, too.
Nevertheless, the chief concern with metallic is that it will possibly’t go within the microwave, so in case you’re heating up your food, you’ll have to switch it to another container or dish.
My material of selection for meal prep containers is glass. Sturdy and protected, glass can (usually) go in all places metallic can’t go – specifically, the microwave and the dishwasher. Nevertheless, it is heavier and may be costlier than metallic or plastic.
2. BPA and Phthalates
You possibly can’t touch on the subject of plastic lately without mentioning BPA, and its less famous companion, phthalates. First, let’s speak about what these buzzwords are.
BPA and phthalates are additives to plastic merchandise. Bisphenol-A, or BPA, makes clear, onerous plastic products, while phthalates make plastics mushy and versatile.
Lately, these materials have come underneath hearth, as they will act as “endocrine inhibitors.”
Principally, BPA and phthalates mimic human hormones, which confuses the heck out of your body and may cause all types of health issues. Unwanted effects of BPA can embrace the whole lot from lowered immune perform to stimulation of prostate most cancers cells and structural injury to your mind.
Specialists say that while simply the presence of BPA or phthalates on/in plastic merchandise aren’t often sufficient to cause injury, the issues begin when food is heated in plastic merchandise – reminiscent of microwaving your meals. This turns into an enormous concern for meal preppers, most of that are reheating their prepared meals of their unique containers.
Personally, BPA and phthalates freak me out – for a similar purpose I’m grossed out by just “a little pus” in milk, I don’t need anything that harmful to be up shut and personal with my meals.
In the event you’re married to the thought of plastic containers, make sure that your containers are freed from BPA and phthalates. Your long-term health is value the additional few dollars!
three. Lid Quality
There’s nothing extra disappointing than opening up your bag to seek out that the contents of your lunch have spilled – now you get a double-whammy of a multitude to wash up and no lunch!
The perfect lids will hold all of the food snugly inside your container – even when you occur to drop them, or they get jostled in your bag in your commute within the morning.
The most typical sort of lid is the straightforward snap-on – you just push the lid and physique of the container together, which makes a snapping noise when they’re hooked up. This is more than likely what all your common plastic containers, Tupperware, and Gladware have.
Nevertheless, there are also stronger lids that make use of using arms that hook onto the physique, making a tighter seal. This is good for strong foods, however since they aren’t necessarily hermetic, they could nonetheless permit liquids to leak out if the container by some means tilts.
When you are likely to convey loads of soups and saucy dishes with you, search for container sets that provide “airtight” lids. Which means the comforting, brothy soup you brought along will stay in your container till lunchtime – and never throughout your bag.
Testing your lids for his or her high quality is straightforward. After filling your container with water, jostle it around! Lean the container on its aspect to see if anything seeps out by means of the closed lid. Shake it for a minute and see if something spatters. Drop the container from some peak and see if the lid stays on, or if any cracks appear anyplace on the container.
In the event you’re just bringing sandwiches and uncooked veggies along, a super-tight lid is probably not crucial think about your purchase. Nevertheless, in the event you love soups and stews, you’ll need to spend money on a set that uses a top quality lid.
4. Temperature Capability
Do you like a scorching meal at lunchtime, or often heat up your lunch in the microwave? With the ability to heat up your meals within the container you brought them in is convenient, not to point out it keeps the variety of dishes you’ll have to do to a minimum.
Nevertheless, you possibly can’t just place any previous container in the microwave – you don’t need to danger melted plastic, or worse, dangerous chemical compounds leaching out of the plastic and into your meals. As mentioned in the section on BPA, analysis has discovered that warmth makes plastic extra prone to releasing dangerous chemical compounds.
It’s greatest to go BPA-free, in fact, but even BPA-free containers will not be protected for microwave use. A lot of the research focuses on BPA leaching into food, however BPA shouldn’t be the one probably harmful chemical that lives inside plastic.
Personally, I don’t assume my well being is value risking for comfort. For meals that must be reheated, think about going with glass containers. While they’re heavier than plastic or metallic, they will often stand up to being microwaved.
In case you actually need plastic containers, double-check that they’re labeled microwave-safe and BPA-free. Even higher, simply transfer your meals from plastic to paper or a ceramic microwave-safe dish whenever you’re at college or work. I hold my favourite bowl and plate in a drawer at work for once I tote issues around in my plastic Rubbermaid containers.
Most people meal prep for around one week at a time, just because that’s about how lengthy most cooked meals will final in the fridge before they start to appear…off.
Employing using your freezer may also help your meal prep go even additional. Imagine getting a whole month’s value of meals from a single day of cooking!
Nevertheless, most of us have skilled the frustration of great leftovers ruined by freezer burn and the smells and flavors absorbed from the freezer itself. The fitting container can make all the distinction on the subject of the taste of your frozen dishes!
If meal prepping for longer than every week at a time seems like one thing that might be just right for you, you’ll need to ensure that your containers are freezer-friendly.
Along with in search of one thing on the packaging that references freezer use, a lot of these vessels ought to be sturdy, inflexible, and sealable. Don’t overlook to go away some area within the containers when packing your food, so it has some room to crystallize and broaden.
Some individuals, like me, are totally advantageous placing their entire meal in a single container – I just like the rice, veggies, protein, and any respective sauce to get good and combined.
Nevertheless, some people need very distinct boundaries with their meals – anything touches, and it totally ruins the meal.
You’ll need to work out which of those two varieties of individuals you’re and purchase accordingly. Those like me, who don’t thoughts if every part intermingles, can go for meal prep storage containers that have just one area to put all of your meal elements.
In the event you like some separation between each dish, you’ll be able to go for a bento-inspired meal prep container, which uses wells and dividers to create separate areas for various meals. This is great if you want to pack your chickpea curry and a vegan brownie in the same pack, without having to convey one million totally different containers with you.
Bento-inspired containers with separate areas are also very best for prepping youngsters’ lunches – the wells are good for packing a sandwich with plenty of little snacks, or an entire meal that may nonetheless be recent and ready by the point the lunch bell rings.
So you’ve acquired containers which are wholesome, leak-proof, and can stand as much as scorching or cold temperatures. Now how am I presupposed to cram this all in my backpack?
When you don’t need to convey an enormous bag full of clunky containers to and from work day by day, you’ll need to pay attention to their shape and measurement. A slim, mild, and flat container is the most effective of all worlds – you’ll be able to fit quite a lot of meals inside, and it’s straightforward to transport.
Many sets also come with totally different sizes of containers to accommodate totally different parts or meal elements. When you have slim containers with separate wells, they are probably all the identical measurement.
Nevertheless, good-quality Tupperware and comparable sets often include quite a lot of sizes, from very giant to deliver things like salads, right down to small condiment containers for dressings or nut butter.
I find it helpful to be able to select from totally different sizes because I deliver both my breakfast and lunch to work, which tends to have totally different container needs. It’s also possible to determine to mix-and-match from totally different container units throughout your day, perhaps bringing your oatmeal and vegan peanut butter in containers from one set and your lunch from a bento-style set. You’ll be able to customise right here based mostly in your preferences.
7. Cleaning Wants
I’m a firm believer that if it’s exhausting to wash, I’m simply not going to use it. In the event you’re meal prepping, you’re taking a look at an enormous pile of the same dishes to be cleaned day after day.
If in case you have a dishwasher, it is the most handy choice to decide on a set of containers that may safely make a journey by means of the microwave. Many glass or metallic sets can do that, simply make sure you double-check.
When you’re washing by hand, search for containers with rounded edges or removable dividers that make cleanup a breeze. There’s nothing worse than having to re-wash your dishes since you’ve discovered some food remnants caught in one of many corners.
You’ll also need to avoid products that take in colors or smells. Plastic containers are typically the most cost effective choice, however they will additionally retain the colour, odor, and even flavor of foods that have been beforehand in them. Should you prepare dinner a number of strong-smelling foods like curries and chilis, it might be value it to spend money on higher-quality glass or metallic containers. No one needs an oatmeal that tastes like final week’s curry!
Best Glass Containers for Meal Prep
Best Bento-Type Container
Best Bento-Type Container
Like to deliver warming soups and stews to work or faculty? The glass containers from Prep Naturals function SmartestLock locking lids, which guarantee leakproof storage without spills or messes. The containers themselves are made from borosilicate glass, which is the strongest glass obtainable, in order that they gained’t chip or crack with use.
You’ll be able to put these meal prepping containers within the microwave, freezer, dishwasher, and even the oven (not the lids)! The containers are freed from BPA, are FDA- and LFGP-approved, and gained’t warp between temperatures of 14 and 230 levels Fahrenheit. The corporate provides a full warranty, so should you’re not 100% glad with these containers, you will get your a refund.
Both the lids and body of these containers are clear, so you’ll be able to easily see what’s inside if you’re pulling them out of the fridge or freezer. The containers also resist staining, so your view of the within gained’t get clouded or blocked with time.
Every container set comes with 5 single-compartment, 29-ounce containers and locking lids.
The durability of those containers is just unparalleled – the power to deliver them from the oven to the freezer to the microwave makes meal prepping super convenient, and cuts down on the variety of dishes you’ll need to do afterward. While a considerable up-front funding, particularly when you prep most of your meals, you get what you pay for.
These containers have just a handful of unfavourable evaluations, but of the ones that are not 5 stars, some customers complain that they don’t seem to be quite as “stackable” as advertised. They can be positioned on prime of each other, however they have a tendency to slide and move.
Best Bento-Type Container (Glass)
The glass meal prep containers from Misc House function two compartments and vented snap-locking lids. The containers fit regular 6-pack luggage and journey easily to and from work or faculty.
The corporate uses solely borosilicate glass, which is stronger than cheaper, less sturdy tempered glass, and is similar to Pyrex. This lets you safely use these containers in quite a lot of temperatures, together with the microwave, oven, dishwasher, and freezer. You need to use these containers within the oven up to 500 levels F!
The snap-locking lids are vented, and use silicone seals to make sure the food stays recent and gained’t leak or spill. The vents permit straightforward and protected venting of scorching meals. In fact, each the lids and containers are 100% BPA-free and authorized meals grade.
Misc Residence’s merchandise are 100% satisfaction guaranteed, so you should purchase without worry of dedication for those who wind up being less than thrilled with the product. The set comes with four 28-ounce containers and lids.
Soup eaters rejoice! These snap-lock, silicone-sealed lids act as a barricade between your scorching soup and the within of your backpack. Reviewers love the hermetic, critical seal these lids provide.
Whereas these food prep containers get overwhelmingly constructive critiques, a couple of individuals famous issues with the lid vents falling out and getting lost.
Best Finances Choice (Glass)
In addition to being budget-friendly, the glass containers from MealPrep are eco-friendly, sturdy, and non-toxic.
The snap-locking BPA-free lids use a built-in silicone gasket to maintain meals recent and freed from spills. The lids themselves create an hermetic and leak-proof seal so to convey broth-based soups and saucy stir-fries to work and faculty with out worry of mess.
The containers are additionally super versatile and minimize down on the number of dishes you should clear all through the week. Like the other glass containers, these can go into the microwave, freezer, and dishwasher. They are also oven-safe as much as 450 degrees Fahrenheit, so you possibly can prepare dinner scrumptious baked oatmeal and pasta dishes proper in the identical container you eat them from.
Each set comes with three 1- or 2-compartment containers. The only compartment mannequin incorporates 28 ounces, while the two-compartment container has a 40-ounce quantity.
MealPrep additionally presents a money-back guarantee – if for any purpose you don’t love these containers, you’ll be able to return your order within 30 days for a full refund.
Part of “budget friendly” is just not having to pay to keep changing the same merchandise. These meal preparation containers are extraordinarily sturdy, so once you put the money in up front, the containers will final, saving you cash in the long term. The containers are also stain- and odor-resistant.
Some purchasers had issues with delivery, reporting that a number of containers have been damaged upon arrival. Whereas the containers get good evaluations, your mileage might differ when it
Best Plastic Containers for Meal Prep
Best Bento-Fashion Container
Best Bento-Fashion Container
The reusable microwave-safe meal prep containers from LIFT are classics. With a modern black physique and a transparent snap-on lid, these plastic containers are a well-liked selection amongst newbie and veteran meal preppers.
Made in Canada, the company uses licensed BPA-free materials which were permitted by the FDFA and CFIA. The containers are food-safe, environmentally sustainable, compact, light-weight, and stackable. You’ll be able to simply stack these in a meal prep bag without fear that they’ll tip or fall over. In fact, even when they did shift, the leak-resistant, air-tight lid would have you ever coated.
The containers are protected to use in all places from the freezer to the microwave (no lid) to the dishwasher. They’ve a longer lifecycle than many competitor products, but should you aren’t 100% glad, the company presents a 5 Star Expertise Assure.
Every set accommodates seven 28-ounce meal prep containers and an E-book that features ideas and recipes. You possibly can select from single-compartment containers, or improve to two compartments for a number of dollars more.
The transparent lids make it straightforward to see what’s inside – whenever you’re searching your meal preps within the fridge on your approach out the door, it’s helpful to have the ability to see what you’re bringing with you! The containers are also good quality for the cash and take up little area.
Some reviewers complained that the lids are typically somewhat finicky. Many occasions, they snap on without problem, but typically it’s essential to work them to get them closed. These also aren’t excellent for very soupy meal preps, as the lids are only leak-“resistant” not leak-“proof”.
Best Bento-Type Container (Plastic)
Perfect for each adults and youngsters, the three-compartment format of Enther’s meal prep containers ensures your curry and your brownie gained’t meet till they’re in your stomach!
The divider arrangement also supplies built-in portion management. With a slim black physique and clear snap-on lid, these stack simply for transport and storage.
Enther’s containers are BPA-free, protected to be used in the freezer, microwave, and dishwasher, and are assured to not crack for at the least 10 makes use of (although they can be used up to 30 occasions with common use). They’re also stain and odor resistant, which suggests you gained’t be tasting the pungent aromas of last week’s meal prep on this week’s breakfasts and lunches.
The snap-on lids are airtight and easy-to-open, making them an awesome option to ship to high school together with your youngsters (how nice wouldn’t it be to meal prep the youngsters’ lunches, somewhat than dashing to slap a sandwich together every morning?).
Each set comes with a whopping 20 three-compartment containers. Every container can hold up to 36 ounces.
In addition to the glossy bento-style format, these containers are an unimaginable worth for how many containers you get. Consumers rave about their sturdiness, and the compartments are well-separated so you possibly can even pack cold and hot meals collectively in the same box.
The lids on these containers aren’t conducive to a lot of liquid, or very soupy foods – reviewers reported a couple of messes as a result of liquid seeping out of the lids. Use principally dry, strong recipes with these containers, or make sure you maintain them flat.
Best Price range Choice (Plastic)
If you’re strapped for money –and whenever you’re not! – You need to get the highest quality in your cash. Mealcon’s meal prep set packs in a lot of high quality – and even consuming utensils – for a low up-front value.
The plastic containers are available the usual black body with clear snap-on lids and have two separate compartments for portion management and division of meals.
The packing containers are utterly freed from BPA, phthalates, and lead, are manufactured from friendly food grade material, and meet the requirements put forth by the FDA. You need to use these containers via the whole food lifecycle, from freezer to microwave to dishwasher.
Each set comes with 20 containers, 20 lids, and 20 reusable sporks, so you don’t have to worry about offering your personal silverware or having to show to wasteful single-use plastic cutlery. Each container holds 32 ounces.
Reviewers love that these containers don’t have a “plastic” odor, so your meals odor like your recent meals, relatively than the material of the container. The dimensions can also be ideally suited for both kid, and grownup lunches – not too giant, not too small, and the compartments are properly divided to scale back the prospect of meals mingling.
Whereas many reviewers reported these containers are extraordinarily durable, they don’t seem to be good for use with soups, stews, or otherwise liquid meals. Some individuals additionally reported that the lids are typically very exhausting and rigid, and are straightforward to crack.
Getting ready for Health
Having healthy breakfasts and lunches available can take a number of the stress – and excuses – out of wholesome consuming in a busy way of life. Having giant batches of home-cooked meals available means there’s much less rush and guesswork once you’re preparing for work or faculty.
Placing your food in the best container is usually a main transfer in the success of your meal prep, too. Why go through all the work of cooking and portioning, solely to have the food spill out of a flimsy lid, or worse, endure well being penalties from chemical compounds leaching into your food.
It is perhaps tempting to save lots of a couple of dollars and easily reuse previous containers from Chinese language takeout and pre-prepared foods in your weekly meals. Nevertheless, this is usually a harmful move, as many of those containers usually are not meant to be reused, and may leach BPA and phthalates into food. Additionally, they often aren’t microwave and dishwasher protected.
By having a dedicated set of meal prep containers available, you’re not solely investing in your health, however you’re also taking out “insurance” to ensure your meals go seamlessly from fridge to plate. No spills or seepage means none of your effort and time went to waste when you have been cooking your weekly meals.
You will have so many choices for meal prep containers – from totally different shapes and supplies to the convenience of cleaning; yow will discover the meal prep container set that fits your needs and way of life. As these products are meant to be reused, you additionally gained’t have to undergo the buying course of very often – spend money on a high-quality, healthy product, and have your products available for years.
On the lookout for inspiration for scrumptious meals to place in your new containers? Take a look at our vegan meal prep article for healthy, vegan recipes you can also make in bulk for any time of day.