So you want to meal prep, eh? Good thing you’re here because I’m all about that life with easy office and school lunch ideas and the meal prep shortcuts you need to make them happen!
And today, we’re talking about one VERY important component to making all those amazing lunches ahead of time- the meal prep containers! Watch the video below to see how these stack up.
Let’s face it, what good is that healthy Chicken & Farro Bowl if you don’t have the proper container to pack it in? That’s why I’m sharing my top choice for office and school lunch containers and take it from the expert- these will keep your fridge stocked with healthy meals for days to come.
How to choose meal prep containers
Choosing the right meal prep containers depends on what you’re going for? Since you’re here, I assume we both want containers that can pack enough food to satisfy adults as well as smaller appetites. Things that transport last night’s chili as well as the beautiful nicoise salad we made for the office, am I right?
Thankfully, I’ve tried enough containers through the past several years to discover which ones get the job done and make your food look good while doing it and which ones are a total waste of $$$.
When deciding which container is the best fit for you and your family keep in mind a few requirements:
- Do you plan on reheating the food?
- Will it pack safely into a lunch bag? Glass can be hazardous.
- What kind of meals do you plan on packing?
What are the Best Plastic Meal Prep Storage Containers?
Each of these plastic lunch containers are completely BPA-free, dishwasher, and microwave safe. I prefer containers with compartments so you can pack multiple items in one container. These are best for building bento and bistro box style lunches like the Chicken & Hummus or Pizza Bistro Box.
These are great for meals like Chicken Teriyaki or with a side of veggies or a Grilled Chicken Pesto Sandwich with fresh fruit.
This is the lunch containers you want for bento boxes, wraps, sandwiches- even pancakes! They’re dishwasher, and microwave safe and easy to open, which is a plus for the younger kids.
Not leakproof- literally, that’s the only con and I don’t think any of us planned on packing soup in these anyway.
Another favorite mini container! These are screw-top lids, and leakage is non-existent. These are a little on the smaller side, but perfect for salad dressings and dip.
The Best Glass Meal Prep Storage Containers
I’ll admit having a nice set of glass lunch containers makes one feel smart about their food and lifestyle choices, so why not get a set for yourself?! These are durable, microwave-safe, and hold up A LOT longer than plastic.
These high-quality meal prep containers are THE BEST for salads, stir-fry, and soups. They’re super durable and hold 32-ounces a piece, which is a plus for bigger appetites.
CONS: Round shape might be awkward to pack into a lunch bag.
If you are looking for a meal prep container perfect for packing to work, these are it! The size is perfect for packing salads, power bowls, or last night’s leftovers without leaving you starving 2 hours later.
CONS: Lids can be a bit tricky to latch on to the container.
How Many Meal Prep Containers do you Need?
The answer strictly depends on how many people will be using them. Assuming everyone will be packing lunches to school or the office, aim for 2-3 containers per person. That way everyone will have 2 to 3 meals starting out each week so rewashing dirty containers and packing lunches every night won’t be necessary. Just another meal prep shortcut so you’re family can eat fresh meals while you spend less time in the kitchen. Yes, dreams do come true.
Can Meal Prep Containers be Reused?
Meal prep containers can and should be reused! Any of the containers above are tested and have proved to be both durable in the lunchbox, and When it comes to plastic, that’s a personal choice, while I use it and reheat it, if you feel more comfortable with glass, stick with it. That’s why you want to make sure and select any of these glass or plastic containers. They’re durable to hold up in the microwave and dishwasher.
How Long Can I Leave my Meal Prep in the Fridge?
Since we’re on meal prep let’s talk a bit about proper food storage and how to store leftovers.
To be on the safe side, I have a system down for prepped meals. Anything I plan on eating within the next two days is safe in the fridge; everything else is stowed away in the freezer. The day before I plan to pack it, I transfer the meal from the freezer and let it defrost in the fridge overnight.