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The Best Meal Prep Containers (According to Me)

Created January 22, 2020
plastic containers, reusable sandwich bag, mason jars
When I’m being the best version of myself, I bring my pre-prepped lunch to work with me every day, which gives me the unlicensed authorization to call myself an expert on meal prep. Do I have opinions on what the best meal prep containers are? You’d better believe it.
I’m a big advocate for not going out and buying a bunch of meal prep containers if you don’t have to. What you have rolling around your kitchen will probably do the trick. That being said, I’ve had enough leaky tubs and jars spill salad dressing all on the inside of my backpack to form some pretty firm opinions on what I like, and more importantly, what I don’t.

Why Meal Prep?

It’s a common truth that the best way to save money is to budget your expenses. You take look at your spending and income, then allot a set amount to each expense. You put $50 in an envelope marked “Internet,” $60 goes towards coffee, $25 for avocados (don’t judge me), etc. Meal-planning is like that. It’s a food budget that you dole out once a week, except instead of dividing your money into envelopes you’re dividing delicious food into reusable jars and tubs. So, whether you’re trying to save money or eat more balanced meals, meal planning is a great way to save time and limit waste.

Want to delve deeper into the wonderful world of meal prep? Check out our easy methods for prepping that won’t ruin your weekend in the process.
Want to delve deeper into the wonderful world of meal prep? Check out our easy methods for prepping that won’t ruin your weekend in the process.

Best Meal Prep Containers

The most important thing to look for in a meal prep container is whether or not it has an air-tight seal. A week’s worth of beautifully prepped lunches is worthless if they all go bad before the end of the week. Look for containers with rubber seals or air-tight locks. Now, let’s get into the specifics.

Glass vs. Plastic

plastic containers

Plastic is great. It’s affordable, it’s lightweight—it’s a modern marvel. It also traps odor, food stains and bacteria. In my opinion, buying glass is good, buying plastic is bad. If you’re going to invest in some meal prep containers, go with ones with a glass bottom and a fitted lid. My favorite glass containers to store my lunches in are the OXO™ smart seal glass containers. They’re durable, they’re cute, they’re BPA free, they wash easily, and the silicone-lined lids mean they’re leakproof. Check, check and check.

mason jars

I also love to store things in jars. Call me basic, but nothing brings me pleasure quite like a row of canning jars. A case of jars is not much of an investment (most cases are sold for under $15), but the jars can be used over and over. Use jars to hold salads, overnight oats, smoothies, soups—you name it.

One Use vs. Multi Use

One of the driving factors of meal-prepping is saving money. If you’re storing your prepped meals in one-use containers (i.e. containers you immediately throw away when you’re done with them), you’re essentially throwing away money. But if you can use the same container over and over, or invest in reusable containers, you’ll save money in the end. There’s no rule that says you can reuse a zip-top bag. I’ll often wash, dry and reuse the same plastic bag until it falls apart. If you have a little more dignity than I do, you can also purchase reusable zip-top bags for storing your lunch bits and bobbles. If you’re looking for a quality reusable, sealable bags to use, I like the Re(zip) leakproof, reusable bags.

You can also reuse containers that you already have on hand. Keep your old jelly jars and use them to store a week’s worth of soups. To-go containers that you get from your favorite take-out place are great for holding salads or grain bowls.

Regardless of what kind of containers you use, if you’re bringing your lunch to work, you’re doing great! Keep it up.

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