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We’ve all tried meal prep at least once in our lives and getting started with it is simple. However, the hard part is maintaining it over time. There are many reasons why someone would quit meal prepping, but your choice of meal prep containers shouldn’t be one of them. Using the wrong kind of meal prep container can make the process tedious, but the right one can help you store your food better.
When thinking about your next meal prep container there is a lot to consider. Material is the first thing you’ll want to address. Meal prep containers made of plastic and glass all have a shelf life and you’ll want to keep that in mind when making your choice. Set variety is the second aspect to consider since having more than one works wonders for people who prep days in advance. And compartments can become a necessity to keep certain foods dry and to pack more food easily.
A great meal prep container can truly support sustainable food practices for your home. Are you ready to get a new meal prep container? Here’s a round-up of the best ones online.
Best Overall: Rubbermaid Brilliance 3.2-Cup Food Storage Container, 5-Pack
What We Like: Inexpensive, comes in a set, durable
What We Don’t Like: Single compartment
The Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Container is leakproof and it traps in odors with ease with its rubber seal. Unlike other plastic containers, it has a clear finish so you can see right inside of it, mimicking glass.
This container is versatile, with the ability to go from your freezer to your microwave in a matter of minutes, and none of your containers will stain from food, including tomato sauces. This container comes in a set of five, all the same size and is extremely durable. But as with any plastic container, it will break down over time with continuous use.
The only con of this container is a minor one, it’s only designed with a single compartment. If that’s not an issue, this meal prep container is a solid option.
Material: Plastic | Number in Set: 10 | What's Included: (5) 3.2 cup rectangle
Best Glass: OXO Good Grips 16-Piece Smart Seal Glass Container Set
What We Like: Comes in a large set, leakproof
What We Don’t Like: Can be fragile
This leakproof meal prep container is made of glass and comes in two shapes, rectangle and circle for variety.
Because these meal prep containers from OXO have multiple sizes, you’ll have the option to use any container to store your food successfully. While there are other single compartment choices out there, this one makes it easy with its large and small options to lighten your load if you’re carrying it or to save space.
With any glass container, there is the expectation that it remains stain-free over time and these containers deliver on this promise. It’s great in the freezer, microwave, and oven. The only downside is that it’s a bit fragile.
Material: Glass | Number in Set: 16 | What's Included: (1) 7-cup round a, (1) 4-cup round, (1) 2-cup round, 1-cup round, (1) 8-cup rectangle, (1) 3.5-cup rectangle, (1) 1.6-cup rectangle, and (1) 4-oz rectangle.
Best Plastic: Snapware 10 Piece Rectangular Food Storage Set
What We Like: Dishwasher safe, BPA-free, Comes in a set
What We Don’t Like: The lid can be a bit finicky
This plastic container is similar to what most people are used to and that’s the “cloudy style” plastic that you can’t see through. While this container isn’t flashy, it doesn’t detract from its quality.
Snapware’s meal prep storage set is microwave, freezer, and dishwasher safe and it is leakproof. While there is a potential issue with the lid, once it snaps on it is effective at keeping all of your food sealed airtight until you’re ready to heat it up.
These inexpensive storage containers are all the same size, but because they’re plastic, it’s easy to carry one or more of these on the go. This container only has one compartment, but it is great for people looking for a simple choice.
Material: Plastic | Number in Set: 10 | What's Included: (5) 3-cup rectangle
Best 3-Compartment: Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers
What We Like: Durable, comes in a set, has compartments
What We Don’t Like: The compartment sizes are small
Prep Naturals is a three-compartment glass meal prep container that is dishwasher, oven, freezer, and microwave safe.
This container is made from borosilicate glass, making it tough for any use and small drops if you happen to drop it on accident. What’s great is that this BPA-free container comes as a set of ten and has smart locking technology to keep liquids from escaping from the inside.
The only downside of this meal prep container is that the compartment sizes are pretty equal in size. But even that is minor to the quality this container provides.
Material: Glass | Number in Set: 10 | What's Included: (5) 4.5-cup rectangle
Related: The Best Pressure Cookers in 2021
Best for Kids: EasyLunchboxes Bento Lunch Boxes 4 Pack
What We Like: Comes in sets, kid-friendly, lightweight
What We Don’t Like: Isn’t leakproof
While adults can use this meal prep container, it is made for children in mind.
This portion control meal prep container has three compartments. The largest section is 2.5-cups, the next one is ½-cup and the last one is ¾-cups. With this design, it is a great way to organize food easily for children.
Additionally, this container is microwave, freezer, and dishwasher safe as well as an easy, kid-friendly lid that stays on but can be removed by children, young and old. While there are many great things about this container, it’s not leakproof.
Material: Plastic | Number in Set: 6 | What's Included: (3) 3.75-cup rectangle
Best for Freezers: Pyrex 10-Piece Glass Meal Prep Set
What We Like: Durable, BPA-free, nonporous
What We Don’t Like: One compartment only
The Pyrex Simply Store Meal Prep Containers are made from tempered glass. Like other glass containers, this one is not only see-thru, but it is also microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe. What makes this glass container different is that while you can use it in the oven, as expected, it must be used in a preheated oven for your safety.
These containers are nonporous, so it won’t absorb food odors, flavors, or stains. And they come with a two-year warranty. This one is best for single portion meals and that is the only downside of this container.
Material: Glass | Number in Set: 10 | What's Included: (2) 3-cup rectangle and lid, (2) 6-cup rectangle, and (1) 11-cup rectangle
Related: The Best Rice Cookers in 2021
Best Budget: Oxo Prep & Go Salad Container
What We Like: User-friendly, durable, has multiple components
What We Don't Like: One compartment only
The OXO Good Grips Leakproof Container is designed with two leveled components that can hold about 2-cups in total. This container is leakproof keeping wet and dry ingredients separated through four locking tabs to give it an airtight seal.
What’s great about this container is that you can choose to remove the top-level component if you’d like and there is a 2-oz dressing container for sauce. Though this container is mostly used for salad, it can also be used for hot foods too.
The only thing that’s a con is that it only comes in a set of one. So, whatever you decide to put in this container has to fit perfectly.
Material: Plastic | Number in Set: 2 | What's Included: (1) 2-cup round, 2-oz dresser container
If glass meal prep containers are important, OXO Smart Seal 16-Piece Glass Container Set (view at Amazon) is a great choice in terms of variety, especially for single compartment meal prep containers. If plastic is more your speed, then Snapware Total Solution Meal Prep Food Storage Set (view at Amazon) will work just fine for your needs. If you need a meal prep container that has multiple components and durability, try Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers (view at Amazon). Finally, Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Container (view at Amazon) is sturdy, inexpensive, and comes in a set.
What to Look for When Buying Meal Prep Containers
Glass containers are durable. They can be used in a microwave, an oven, and can freeze food well. But it’s also a fragile material, so taking the right precautions is important when using them, especially in the oven. Plastic containers can also be used in the microwave and the freezer, but it isn’t durable enough to use in an oven. There is also the issue of intense heat transfer that some cheaper plastic containers have issues with, making it vital that you choose a higher quality plastic for your containers.
Sometimes one container isn’t enough. If you’re the type of meal prepper who is planning meals at least a week out, then having set variety helps. Some meal prep glass containers won’t come in large sets, and for those that do, they can be a bit pricey. Plastic on the other hand can come in large sets and for cheaper prices.
Whether you should choose a meal prep container with one or more compartments is solely dependent on your needs. Obviously, choosing a container with more than one allows for easier packaging.
How often should you replace meal prep containers?
Considering that glass can last a bit longer than plastic, you won’t have to replace it immediately. Once you notice any cracks in your glass container, then it’s time to get a new one. Plastic can break down quicker. If there are several scratches or tiny micro-cracks then it’s time to replace your container. And there are some plastic containers that can take on smells and stains as well, so you should replace them as soon as this happens.
How do you clean meal prep containers?
Both glass and certain plastic meal prep containers are dishwasher safe. Also using a non-abrasive dishwashing liquid and sponge is also effective. For your health and safety, washing daily washing your containers is essential.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
As a professional trained in research and amateur baker, Robin Mosley understands the importance of choosing the right kitchen appliances. She is always researching and testing the latest kitchen appliances, utensils, products as a food writer and recommending them to interested food aficionados.
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