If you consider the most important impediment to wholesome consuming, it often comes right down to time.
Between demanding jobs, household life, extracurricular actions, and every part in between, it may be onerous to carve out the time to prepare dinner wholesome, home-cooked meals.
Meal prepping has been the answer to this drawback – as an alternative of being chained to your kitchen range a number of occasions a day, you’re taking time on one particular day (Sunday is a favourite) to activate some music, chop some veggies, and put together wholesome, home-cooked meals on your week.
This manner, once you’re operating late to work or the youngsters have to go to softball apply; you are grabbing fast meals out of the fridge as an alternative of from the drive-thru.
Upon getting your recipes for the week, the subsequent query comes up – what on earth am I placing all these in?
Think about your Tupperware drawer which, if it is something like mine, is a messy assortment of mismatched containers and lids. Once you’re getting ready anyplace from 5 to 25 meals per week, having designated containers not solely helps make them straightforward to retailer, however it additionally permits you to dish equal parts into every container.
With the apply of meal preparation gaining reputation, there are seemingly numerous meal prep container units out there for buy. Nevertheless, there is no have to be overwhelmed – contemplating just some key qualities might help you decide one of the best product in your way of life.
What do you have to search for in your meal prep container set? Listed here are the issues to think about earlier than you drop any cash on a set of containers.
- 1 Our Prime Decide
- 2 What to Think about Earlier than Shopping for a Meal Prep Container
- 3 Greatest Glass Containers for Meal Prep
- 4 Greatest Plastic Containers for Meal Prep
- 5 Getting ready for Well being
Our Prime Decide
Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers
Although we function 6 nice container choices on this article, our favourite product comes from Prep Naturals. We like the truth that they’re created from glass (our most popular materials) but in addition 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 tremendous handy.
What to Think about Earlier than Shopping for a Meal Prep Container
Earlier than you even begin shopping product choices, take a while to consider the forms of meals you will be getting ready. Watery meals like soups and stews will want very totally different containers than issues like tofu scramble and sandwiches.
Hold your favourite meal concepts in thoughts as you are wanting via your choices – that may assist information you to merchandise that may work greatest for you.
Little question, the most important and first consideration you will need to make when buying your meal prep meals containers is what materials they’re constructed from. The preferred container supplies are the large three – plastic, glass, and metallic.
Plastic meals prep containers are undoubtedly the most cost effective and hottest materials, 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 is easy to wash and does not include BPA (double examine to ensure the liner does not include BPA, although). Metallic can also be light-weight, which makes your containers straightforward to hold alongside, and it appears snazzy, too.
Nevertheless, the chief concern with metallic is that it could’t go within the microwave, so for those who’re heating up your meals, you will have to switch it to a different container or dish.
My materials of selection for meal prep containers is glass. Sturdy and protected, glass can (usually) go all over the place metallic cannot go – specifically, the microwave and the dishwasher. Nevertheless, it’s heavier and might be costlier than metallic or plastic.
2. BPA and Phthalates
You possibly can’t contact on the subject of plastic nowadays with out mentioning BPA, and its much less well-known companion, phthalates. First, let’s speak about what these buzzwords are.
BPA and phthalates are components to plastic merchandise. Bisphenol-A, or BPA, makes clear, arduous plastic merchandise, whereas phthalates make plastics gentle and versatile.
Just lately, these supplies have come beneath hearth, as they will act as “endocrine inhibitors.”
Principally, BPA and phthalates mimic human hormones, which confuses the heck out of your physique and may trigger all types of well being points. Uncomfortable side effects of BPA can embrace every little thing from lowered immune perform to stimulation of prostate most cancers cells and structural injury to your mind.
Specialists say that whereas simply the presence of BPA or phthalates on/in plastic merchandise aren’t often sufficient to trigger injury, the issues start when meals 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 ready meals of their unique containers.
Personally, BPA and phthalates freak me out – for a similar purpose I am grossed out by simply “just a little pus” in milk, I do not need something that dangerous to be up shut and private with my meals.
In case you’re married to the thought of plastic containers, ensure that your containers are freed from BPA and phthalates. Your long-term well being is value the additional few dollars!
three. Lid High 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 most effective lids will maintain all of the meals 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 simply push the lid and physique of the container collectively, which makes a snapping noise when they’re hooked up. That is almost definitely what all of your common plastic containers, Tupperware, and Gladware have.
Nevertheless, there are additionally stronger lids that make use of using arms that hook onto the physique, making a tighter seal. That is good for strong meals, however since they are not essentially hermetic, they could nonetheless permit liquids to leak out if the container one way or the other tilts.
In case you are likely to deliver a number of soups and saucy dishes with you, search for container units that provide “hermetic” lids. Because of this the comforting, brothy soup you introduced alongside will keep 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 round! Lean the container on its aspect to see if something seeps out by way 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 seem anyplace on the container.
When you’re simply bringing sandwiches and uncooked veggies alongside, a super-tight lid is probably not an important think about your buy. Nevertheless, in the event you love soups and stews, you will need to spend money on a set that makes use of a top quality lid.
four. Temperature Functionality
Do you want a scorching meal at lunchtime, or often warmth up your lunch within the microwave? With the ability to warmth up your meals within the container you introduced them in is handy, to not point out it retains the variety of dishes you will have to do to a minimal.
Nevertheless, you possibly can’t simply place any previous container within the microwave – you do not need to danger melted plastic, or worse, dangerous chemical compounds leaching out of the plastic and into your meals. As talked about within the part on BPA, analysis has discovered that warmth makes plastic extra prone to releasing dangerous chemical compounds.
It is best to go BPA-free, in fact, however even BPA-free containers is probably not protected for microwave use. A lot of the analysis focuses on BPA leaching into meals, however BPA is just not the one probably dangerous chemical that lives inside plastic.
Personally, I do not assume my well being is value risking for comfort. For meals that must be reheated, contemplate going with glass containers. Whereas they’re heavier than plastic or metallic, they will often stand as much as being microwaved.
Should you actually need plastic containers, double-check that they’re labeled microwave-safe and BPA-free. Even higher, merely switch your meals from plastic to paper or a ceramic microwave-safe dish if you’re at college or work. I hold my favourite bowl and plate in a drawer at work for once I tote issues round in my plastic Rubbermaid containers.
Most individuals meal prep for round one week at a time, just because that is about how lengthy most cooked meals will final within the fridge earlier than they begin to appear…off.
Using using your freezer might help your meal prep go even additional. Think about getting a whole month’s value of meals from a single day of cooking!
Nevertheless, most of us have skilled the frustration of nice leftovers ruined by freezer burn and the smells and flavors absorbed from the freezer itself. The best container could make all of the distinction in terms of the style of your frozen dishes!
If meal prepping for longer than every week at a time feels like one thing that may be just right for you, you will need to be sure 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. Do not forget to go away some area within the containers when packing your meals, so it has some room to crystallize and broaden.
Some individuals, like me, are completely high quality 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 want very distinct boundaries with their meals – something touches, and it completely ruins the meal.
You will need to work out which of those two varieties of individuals you’re and buy accordingly. These like me, who do not thoughts if all the things intermingles, can go for meal prep storage containers which have only one space to place all of your meal elements.
For those who like some separation between every dish, you possibly can go for a bento-inspired meal prep container, which makes use of wells and dividers to create separate areas for various meals. That is nice if you wish to pack your chickpea curry and a vegan brownie in the identical pack, with out having to convey one million totally different containers with you.
Bento-inspired containers with separate areas are additionally splendid for prepping youngsters’ lunches – the wells are good for packing a sandwich with a lot of little snacks, or an entire meal that may nonetheless be recent and prepared by the point the lunch bell rings.
So you’ve got obtained containers which might be wholesome, leak-proof, and can stand as much as scorching or chilly temperatures. Now how am I alleged to cram this all in my backpack?
When you do not need to convey an enormous bag crammed with clunky containers to and from work day by day, you will need to take note of their form and measurement. A slim, mild, and flat container is one of the best of all worlds – you possibly can match quite a lot of meals inside, and it is easy to move.
Many units additionally include totally different sizes of containers to accommodate totally different parts or meal elements. When you have slim containers with separate wells, they’re doubtless all the identical measurement.
Nevertheless, good-quality Tupperware and comparable units often include quite a lot of sizes, from very giant to convey issues like salads, right down to small condiment containers for dressings or nut butter.
I discover it useful to have the ability to select from totally different sizes as a result of I deliver each my breakfast and lunch to work, which tends to have totally different container wants. You may as well determine to mix-and-match from totally different container units all through your day, maybe 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. Cleansing Wants
I am a agency believer that if it is onerous to wash, I am merely not going to make use of it. Should you’re meal prepping, you are taking a look at an enormous pile of the identical dishes to be cleaned day after day.
When you have a dishwasher, it’s 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 units can do that, simply be sure you double-check.
In case you’re washing by hand, search for containers with rounded edges or detachable dividers that make cleanup a breeze. There’s nothing worse than having to re-wash your dishes since you’ve discovered some meals remnants caught in one of many corners.
You will additionally need to keep away from merchandise that take in colours or smells. Plastic containers are typically the most cost effective choice, however they will additionally retain the colour, odor, and even taste of meals that have been beforehand in them. In case you prepare dinner plenty of strong-smelling meals like curries and chilis, it might be value it to spend money on higher-quality glass or metallic containers. Nobody needs an oatmeal that tastes like final week’s curry!
Greatest Glass Containers for Meal Prep
Greatest Bento-Type Container
Greatest Bento-Fashion Container
Like to convey warming soups and stews to work or faculty? The glass containers from Prep Naturals function SmartestLock locking lids, which assure leakproof storage with out spills or messes. The containers themselves are product of borosilicate glass, which is the strongest glass obtainable, so they will not chip or crack with use.
You possibly can 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 will not warp between temperatures of 14 and 230 levels Fahrenheit. The corporate gives a full guarantee, so should you’re not 100% glad with these containers, you will get your a refund.
Each the lids and physique of those containers are clear, so you possibly can simply see what’s inside whenever you’re pulling them out of the fridge or freezer. The containers additionally resist staining, so your view of the within will not 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 convey them from the oven to the freezer to the microwave makes meal prepping tremendous handy, and cuts down on the variety of dishes you will should do afterward. Whereas a considerable up-front funding, particularly for those who prep most of your meals, you get what you pay for.
These containers have only a handful of unfavorable critiques, however of those that aren’t 5 stars, some customers complain that they don’t seem to be fairly as “stackable” as marketed. They are often positioned on prime of one another, however they have a tendency to slip and transfer.
Greatest Bento-Type Container (Glass)
The glass meal prep containers from Misc House function two compartments and vented snap-locking lids. The containers match regular 6-pack luggage and journey simply to and from work or faculty.
The corporate makes use of solely borosilicate glass, which is stronger than cheaper, much 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 as much as 500 levels F!
The snap-locking lids are vented, and use silicone seals to make sure the meals stays recent and will not 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 assured, so you should purchase with out worry of dedication for those who wind up being lower than thrilled with the product. The set comes with 4 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 present.
Whereas these meals prep containers get overwhelmingly constructive evaluations, a couple of individuals famous issues with the lid vents falling out and getting misplaced.
Greatest Finances Choice (Glass)
Along with 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 deliver broth-based soups and saucy stir-fries to work and faculty with out worry of mess.
The containers are additionally tremendous versatile and reduce down on the variety of dishes you might want to clear all through the week. Like the opposite glass containers, these can go into the microwave, freezer, and dishwasher. They’re additionally oven-safe as much as 450 levels Fahrenheit, so you’ll be able to prepare dinner scrumptious baked oatmeal and pasta dishes proper in the identical container you eat them from.
Every set comes with three 1- or 2-compartment containers. The only compartment mannequin accommodates 28 ounces, whereas the two-compartment container has a 40-ounce quantity.
MealPrep additionally presents a money-back assure – if for any purpose you do not love these containers, you possibly can return your order inside 30 days for a full refund.
A part of “price range pleasant” isn’t having to pay to maintain changing the identical merchandise. These meal preparation containers are extraordinarily sturdy, so if you put the cash in up entrance, the containers will final, saving you cash in the long term. The containers are additionally stain- and odor-resistant.
Some purchasers had points with delivery, reporting that a couple of containers have been damaged upon arrival. Whereas the containers get good critiques, your mileage might range when it
Greatest Plastic Containers for Meal Prep
Greatest Bento-Fashion Container
Greatest Bento-Type 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 corporate makes use of licensed BPA-free supplies which were accepted by the FDFA and CFIA. The containers are food-safe, environmentally sustainable, compact, light-weight, and stackable. You possibly can simply stack these in a meal prep bag with out fear that they will 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 make use of all over the place from the freezer to the microwave (no lid) to the dishwasher. They’ve an extended lifecycle than many competitor merchandise, however when you aren’t 100% glad, the corporate 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 2 compartments for a couple of dollars extra.
The clear lids make it straightforward to see what’s inside – whenever you’re searching your meal preps within the fridge in your approach out the door, it is useful to have the ability to see what you are bringing with you! The containers are additionally good high quality for the cash and take up little area.
Some reviewers complained that the lids are typically somewhat finicky. Many occasions, they snap on with out problem, however typically you should work them to get them closed. These additionally aren’t very best for very soupy meal preps, because the lids are solely leak-“resistant” not leak-“proof”.
Greatest Bento-Fashion Container (Plastic)
Splendid for each adults and youngsters, the three-compartment format of Enther’s meal prep containers ensures your curry and your brownie will not meet till they’re in your abdomen!
The divider association additionally 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 within the freezer, microwave, and dishwasher, and are assured to not crack for at the least 10 makes use of (although they can be utilized as much as 30 occasions with common use). They’re additionally stain and odor resistant, which suggests you will not be tasting the pungent aromas of final week’s meal prep on this week’s breakfasts and lunches.
The snap-on lids are hermetic and easy-to-open, making them an incredible choice to ship to high school together with your youngsters (how nice wouldn’t it be to meal prep the youngsters’ lunches, moderately than dashing to slap a sandwich collectively each morning?).
Every set comes with a whopping 20 three-compartment containers. Every container can maintain as much as 36 ounces.
Along with the modern bento-style format, these containers are an unimaginable worth for what number of containers you get. Consumers rave about their sturdiness, and the compartments are well-separated so you’ll be able to even pack cold and hot meals collectively in the identical field.
The lids on these containers will not be conducive to plenty of liquid, or very soupy meals – reviewers reported a number of messes on account of liquid seeping out of the lids. Use principally dry, strong recipes with these containers, or make sure you maintain them flat.
Greatest Price range Choice (Plastic)
Once 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 plenty of high quality – and even consuming utensils – for a low up-front value.
The plastic containers are available the usual black physique 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 product of pleasant meals grade materials, and meet the requirements put forth by the FDA. You should use these containers by way of the entire meals lifecycle, from freezer to microwave to dishwasher.
Every set comes with 20 containers, 20 lids, and 20 reusable sporks, so you do not have to fret about offering your personal silverware or having to show to wasteful single-use plastic cutlery. Every container holds 32 ounces.
Reviewers love that these containers do not have a “plastic” odor, so your meals odor like your recent meals, somewhat than the fabric of the container. The dimensions can also be perfect for each child, 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 sturdy, they don’t seem to be good to be used with soups, stews, or in any other case liquid meals. Some individuals additionally reported that the lids are typically very onerous and rigid, and are straightforward to crack.
Getting ready for Well being
Having wholesome 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 whenever you’re preparing for work or faculty.
Placing your meals in the fitting container is usually a main transfer within the success of your meal prep, too. Why undergo all of the work of cooking and portioning, solely to have the meals spill out of a flimsy lid, or worse, endure well being penalties from chemical compounds leaching into your meals.
It could be tempting to save lots of a number of dollars and easily reuse previous containers from Chinese language takeout and pre-prepared meals on your weekly meals. Nevertheless, this is usually a harmful transfer, as many of those containers will not be meant to be reused, and may leach BPA and phthalates into meals. Moreover, they often aren’t microwave and dishwasher protected.
By having a devoted set of meal prep containers available, you are not solely investing in your well being, however you are additionally taking out “insurance coverage” to ensure your meals go seamlessly from fridge to plate. No spills or seepage means none of your time and effort went to waste when you have been cooking your weekly meals.
You have got so many choices for meal prep containers – from totally different shapes and supplies to the convenience of cleansing; you’ll find the meal prep container set that matches your wants and way of life. As these merchandise are supposed to be reused, you additionally will not have to undergo the shopping for course of fairly often – spend money on a high-quality, wholesome product, and have your merchandise available for years.
In search of inspiration for scrumptious meals to place in your new containers? Take a look at our vegan meal prep article for wholesome, vegan recipes you can also make in bulk for any time of day.