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The Best Meal Prep Containers for Meal Prepping On the Go

Chef Cindy Mooney , On May 6, 2023


What are meal prep containers?

Meal prep containers are similar to Tupperware and are specifically designed for storing and transporting pre-made meals. These containers come in different shapes, sizes, and materials, such as glass, plastic, or metal. Each meal prep container can have a single or multiple compartments depending on how you like to arrange your food in the tray. Meal prep containers are popular among people who want to save time and money by preparing their meals in advance, as they allow you to cook and store several meals at once, which can be quickly reheated or consumed on the go. They are also commonly used by fitness enthusiasts and people who are following specific weight loss diets, bodybuilding diets or medical diet plans, or are simply trying to control their portions or food cost on the go. Meal planning is ideal to set yourself up for success when following a special diet plan. Here is a list of the best meal prep containers that you can review:

Glass or other heavy-duty material meal prep containers

heavy duty meal prep containers

Heavy Duty Meal Prep Containers.

From expret meal preppers to rookies everyone can appreciate the tempered heavy-duty glass meal prep containers. Not only are you skipping out on any potential BPA leaching, but glass is easy to clean, stands up well to heat and cold, and can be popped in the oven or microwave, and travels well. The only downside is that this type of material is expensive and will require dishes since it will travel back home with you.

There are some nuances in glass meaning that tempered glass is the type of glass that is safe to put in the oven or the freezer, so make sure you check what type of glass your container is made before exposing it to extreme heat or cold temperatures. Also, if you are freezing liquid in the glass it may break the glass since during the freezing process liquid expands.

Rubbermaid meal prep containers with blue and red lids placed on a wooden surface.

This is extremely important if you are taking your food on the go. Leaky lids will not only get food everywhere but also, why would one bother purchasing new containers that can not be trusted to do their job? When considering buying new storage vessels, ask yourself: does the lid snap shut tightly? If you give it a good shake, does anything spill out the sides?

We stand one-hundred percent behind this suggestion: buy new containers with lids that click shut or lock into place.

This will protect your food from the hardships of travel and potential temperature variances. And airtight lids will keep your meals fresher longer!

Glass meal prep container advantages:

  • BPA Free

  • Affordable and reusable

  • Smart locking leakproof

  • Microwave and oven safe

  • Dishwasher safe

  • A plus: stackable

Glass meal prep container drawbacks:

  • You will be doing dishes

  • Glass is likely to shatter if you freeze liquids

  • A little bulkier for the traveler since they will travel with you to your destination, and then travel back home with you. Not to mention they can build up and create odor if the lid stays sealed without airflow.

Paper Meal Prep Containers

meal prep containers

Leak Proof Meal Prep Containers.

Paper meal prep containers are biodegradable and recyclable, making them an eco-friendly option for take-out food. They are made from renewable resources, such as wood pulp, and are easily compostable, reducing their impact on the environment. In addition to this, they are lightweight and easy to carry, making them convenient to take with them on the go. They are also easy to dispose of, making them a hassle-free option that is relatively affordable considering the cost of paper.

Affordable Containers

At the end of the day, price matters. Don’t feel like you have to spend a fortune on a container if it’s not the right one for you. There are many affordable options out there that will stand up to the test and not break the bank. But if you are looking to invest in the best quality, make sure it’s worth the money and going to last for the long-haul. Think of it as a long-term investment for your own sake and peace of mind.

Mason Jars used as Meal Prep Containers

meal prep containers

Mason Jar Meal Prep Containers.

Mason jars are an affordable and stylish solution to your meal prep container needs. Their lids screw on super tightly, which helps avoid leaks, and their slim shape makes them easy to stack or fit into small spaces. They can be washed thoroughly and won’t retain any smells or food stains. Mason jars are also great since they allow you to jar sauces at home like tomato sauce, meat rag├╣ or other ingredients with a lower ph value.
Note that most mason jars are not made of tempered glass so aren’t safe to heat in the oven. If you want to freeze food in a mason jar, choose a plastic jar that is made of less rigid plastic. Remember that liquids expand when they are frozen, so a glass meal prep mason jar would crack or shatter when the liquid inside expands.

Plastic Meal Prep Containers

Different types of plastic are used in plastic meal prep containers. Most frequently they are made with polypropylene, or polyethylene plastic. These containers are microwave safe but they are not oven safe. Also, this type of material makes your containers more brittle and prone to shattering when frozen – which makes them more brittle.

You may have heard of cpet material – this material is both oven and microwave safe. It is also more expensive and less common to find this type of plastic. Each meal prep container will be rated as microwave safe for a different duration of time. For example, the MealPro cpet containers are oven-safe for up to 30 min at up to 300 degrees.

Pictured here is a one compartment meal prep container:

Compartment in Meal Prep Containers

Pictured above is a single compartment meal prep container. However, you can also purchase two or three compartment meal prep containers. The compartments in containers help ensure you are getting an even balance of fat, carbohydrates and protein, 3-compartment containers are a smart new buy. They will be a gentle reminder to keep your portions in check and are a great reminder to keep your meals well-balanced. These are also a great option if you’re someone who doesn’t like your food touch. They’ll keep your food items separate so you can enjoy them each on their own.

Microwave Safe Containers

If you are planning to reheat your food at any point, you probably don’t want to have to dirty up a new container or extra dishes. And not all prep containers can be used in the microwave for a quick reheat. Stainless steel and even some plastic containers are not microwave friendly. Check the label and look for “microwave safe,” usually on the bottom of the package.

Similar to the dishwasher safe options, glass containers and some sturdier BPA free plastic containers are two possible safe options here.

Oven Safe Containers

If you aren’t into using a microwave to reheat your food and prefer the oven, it is much more convenient to have new prep containers that are oven safe – this way you can just pop it into the stove when you’re ready. And unlike microwave-safe containers, there isn’t always an easily identifiable symbol on the container.

It depends on the brand and durability of the product. Most steel and glass can handle the oven, but plastic containers will melt. For your best bet, buy new containers that are advertised as oven-safe or labeled accordingly.

You may also want to consider if the storage container can hold your food frozen and how well they would retain cold temperatures.

Aluminum Containers

aluminum meal prep containers

Aluminum deli containers with plastic lid

Aluminum meal prep containers are food storage containers made from aluminum. They are designed to be durable and lightweight, making them a popular choice for meal prepping and storing pre-made meals.
Aluminum meal prep containers are particularly useful because they are able to withstand high temperatures, making them safe for use in the oven or on the stovetop. This means that you can cook your food directly in the container, saving time and reducing the number of dishes you need to wash.
In addition to being oven-safe, aluminum meal prep containers are also airtight and leak-resistant, which helps to keep food fresh and prevents spills. They are also recyclable, making them a more eco-friendly option than many other types of food storage containers.Sealing Mechanisms for Meal Prep Containers

Lidded Meal Prep Containers:

Lidded meal prep containers are food storage containers that are designed for meal prepping and storing pre-made meals. They typically come in sets of several containers, which are usually made from durable plastic or glass and have airtight lids that snap or lock into place. These containers are ideal for meal prepping because they allow you to prepare multiple meals in advance and store them in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to eat. The airtight lids help to keep food fresh and prevent leaks, which is especially important when storing soups, stews, or other liquids. Lidded meal prep containers come in a variety of sizes and shapes, ranging from small containers for snacks or sides, to larger containers for main courses. Many also come with compartments, which allow you to separate different foods within the same container, making meal prepping even more convenient. Overall, lidded meal prep containers are a great tool for anyone who wants to save time and money by prepping meals in advance. They are also a more eco-friendly option than disposable containers, as they can be reused over and over again.

Hinged/Clamshell meal prep containers:

A clamshell container is a type of food packaging that is designed to resemble the shape of a clamshell. It is a hinged container that can be made from various materials such as plastic, foam, or paper. The container has two halves that are joined together by a hinge, allowing it to open and close easily.
Clamshell containers are commonly used in the food industry to package a wide range of items, such as sandwiches, salads, and baked goods. They are often preferred because they are easy to use, stackable, and provide a secure closure that helps to keep food fresh and prevent spills.

Vacuum Sealing Meal Prep Containers:

  • Locks in juices for better taste

  • Protects food from dehydration

  • Naturally preserves food

  • Leak-proof

  • Prevents frost buildup over the food

Meal Prep Containers Summary

The best meal prep container is the one that meets your personal needs. You can find these meal prep containers at your local grocery outlet or online. If you are too busy to meal prep and portion your food in meal prep containers you can use our custom meal prep service to count your macros or choose from one of our meal plans.

Chef Cindy Mooney

With a personal mission to spread the good name of nutrition through mouthwatering recipes, Chef Cindy's philosophy around nutrition is deeply rooted in food as medicine. In the kitchen, she offers a conscious, restorative, and functional approach to cooking; an approach she has cultivated during her years working in farm-to-table restaurants.