If you believe in building good habits, eating well, and pushing yourself to the next level, you’re probably someone who would thrive with a structured meal platform. Whether you like to cook a big meal on Sunday to last you for a few days, are controlling for portion size, or want to lay out every single breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a week, let The Manual introduce you to some of the best meal prep containers on the market.
Whichever meal prep containers you use, your choice should be dictated by your lifestyle. Find the right one that fits your schedule and feel confident in your caloric intake.
We focused on BPA-free plastic containers for their lightweight and low cost. Featuring temperature resistance, easy clean-up, and impressive durability, these plastic options came out on top as the preferred container in the meal prep-planning world.
Reditainer 2 Compartment Container, 20-pack – $17
Leakproof, microwavable, BPA-free, and freezable, these meal prep containers from Reditainer may look like you standard take-out box, but these are far more sturdy, reusable, lightweight, and virtually unbreakable. They also do not warp when reheated. And, thanks to the clever bento-like divider, the smaller section fits one cup of veggies and the larger section fits one cup of complex carbohydrates.
ChefLand 3-Compartment Container, 10-pack – $8
This three-compartment food container features clear lids, deep capacity, and a self-insulated polypropylene walled compartments to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. And, with three divided compartments, it makes it easy to get in your carbs, proteins, and veggies. These containers are also stackable, which is perfect for alleviating the tupperware avalanche that threatens to swallow you every time you open your cabinet.
The Meal Lab Leak-Proof 3-Compartment Bento Lunch Box, 10-pack – $17
Taking their cue from Japanese bento boxes, these leak-proof containers from The Meal Lab offer plenty of space for all your eats. The number one best-seller in meal-prep containers on Amazon, these bento boxes are solid, durable, and guaranteed not to warp, crack, or otherwise come apart.
Glass containers, with their resistance to stain and smells, are also another good option. However, while glass containers on the whole are healthier than plastic, their poor portability and inherent break-ability outweigh their positive attributes, making them a second-choice for the hardcore meal prepper. The casual lunch-bringer may be more kind.
Glasslock 18-Piece Oven Safe Assortment Set – $34
These stain-proof, odor free, leak-proof, glass containers feature easy latching lids that ensure a secure seal, making certain your meal won’t find itself in the bottom of your lunch bag. The lids are made from BPA-free plastic, but aren’t designed to be used in the microwave and, since they feature a soft rubber seal, probably shouldn’t be put in the dishwasher. Microwave, oven, and freezer safe, Glasslock’s containers are made to go anywhere. Just don’t drop them.
Ikea Förtrolig Clear Glass Container – $5
This heavy-duty glass meal prep container from Ikea offer portability, convenience, and surprisingly durability. As my personal lunch container, this glass dish has stood up to countless cycles through the microwave and dishwasher, as well as a few falls onto the kitchen floor. And, like Glasslock, this container sports a snap-lock lid that seals in both air and liquids, ensuring nothing gets out, not even odors.
Rubbermaid 8-piece Glass Food Storage Set – $23
This 8-piece glass set from Rubbermaid easily covers a week’s worth of tasty office lunches. Constructed with sleek, crystal-clear tempered glass, these containers can go straight from the fridge to the oven or microwave and back again. Plus, they’re easy to store with nested sizes and thin lids.
Another option is to carry your meals in a stainless steel container. While this material won’t be the most practical for people in colder climates, there’s something effortlessly stylish about these vessels. Plus, they’re excellent at keeping hot foods steaming hot.
ECOlunchbox – $34
The three-in-one stainless steel container set from Ecolunchbox is a great environmentally-friendly option for meal prep. While they’re not totally leak-proof, they’re still great for both damp and dry foods as they come equipped with vice-like clips.
LunchBot – $35
A great way to tackle meal prep is to make a soup, stew or chili that’ll last you through the week. And once you’ve cooked up for your favorite liquid meal, store it in the 16oz thermal container from LunchBot. Its stainless steel body holds up to two cups of food and perfectly regulates temperatures.
To-Go Ware 2-Tier Stainless Lunch Box – $22
For a more traditional look, check out this 2-tier stainless steel lunch box from To-Go Ware. The individual boxes keep ingredients separate and snap together for easy transportation. The lunch box is great for all temperatures and is dishwasher safe.
If you want a versatile meal kit that includes more than just a container, you might be interested in a meal prep kit. These include plastic meal prep containers with additional useful items and temperature control measures. Although these sets might be great for car commuters, they have multiple pieces, making them somewhat awkward. A kit might not be the best choice for those of us riding bikes or hopping on public transportation.
Evolutionize Meal Prep Bag, 3-pack – $35
This kit was built to set your up for success all day. The meal prep bag comes with three full-size BPA meal containers and an ice pack to keep your edibles chilled. There are three, separate insulated compartments to hold your meal containers. The bag also provides easy access to snacks and hold two shake/beverage bottles.
Rubbermaid LunchBlox – Prices vary
This kit has modular containers that snap together to stay organized, including a blue ice freezer pack to keep your food cool. Rubbermaid makes a variety of different sized containers (and insulated bags) that piece together to build the kit that is just right for you.
Article originally published November 16, 2016. Article updated on January 4, 2017 by Cody Gohl.