The 13 Best Meal Prep Containers of 2021

Remove the stress from mealtime

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Meal prepping can be an effective strategy used to manage the volume and quality of food you consume while also saving time and money. Whether you’re working at the office or from home, preparing meals ahead of time can take the stress and guesswork out of meals and help you stay on track to reach your health and fitness goals. In fact, one study showed that individuals who planned their meals ahead of time had better overall diet quality and a lower incidence of BMI greater than 30.

If spending your Sunday afternoon prepping a week's worth of meals feels like a daunting task, rest assured it's not as cumbersome as it may seem. In fact, with the help of a new set of meal prep containers, it can be just as easy as cooking your standard go-to meal, only at a higher volume and in a more organized fashion. Great meal prep containers can simplify your life and set you up for success on your meal prepping journey.

Here, the best meal prep containers.

Our Top Picks
A massive time saver, Pyrex's six-piece container set can be used for cooking, serving, and storage.
This three-compartment bento box keeps food fresh and sealed and promises to be a leakproof travel companion.
Store sauces, soups, and dressings without any leaks using Rubbermaid’s airtight latch system for fuss-free meal prep.
Dishwasher and microwave-safe, this reusable bag can be used in lieu of pots and cookware to cook, reheat, and store food.
This glass container is a smart way to invest in your physical and financial health
The sleek, compact container fits seamlessly into lunch bags and backpacks and stack neatly for a clutter-free fridge.
This compact, three-compartment meal prep container features three sections that allow for a well-balanced snack.
Prep a week’s worth of meals with this 20-pack set of reusable bento boxes that are dishwasher and microwave-safe.
Keep salad toppings from getting soggy with this option, complete with separate space for your greens and dressing.
Made from lead-free borosilicate glass, a durable glass that won’t break under extreme temperatures - like the freezer.

Best Overall: Pyrex Glass Food Storage Containers

pyrex
Pros
  • Withstands heat and cold

  • Stain and odor resistant

Cons
  • Heavy for on-the-go carrying

One-pan dinner, anyone? Prep, bake, serve, store, freeze, and reheat meals all in the same container. Pyrex glass can adapt to and withstand extreme temperatures, from minus 40 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and is oven-, freezer-, microwave-, and dishwasher-safe.

This 6-piece set comes with three specially sized round containers with lids, including a 2-cup, 4-cup, and 7-cup container. Made from nonporous borosilicate glass, these containers won’t stain or absorb odors and flavors. The blue BPA-free lids deliver a leakproof fit and are also safe for use in the freezer, microwave, and top-rack of the dishwasher.

Volume Capacity: One 2-cup container with lid, one 4-cup container with lid, and one 7-cup container with lid | Material: Glass containers, BPA-free plastic lids | BPA-Free: Yes | Dishwasher safe: Yes | Microwave safe: Yes | Freezer safe: Yes

Best Budget: Simple Houseware Reusable Meal Prep Container Boxes

Pros
  • Stackable

  • Dishwasher-safe

  • BPA-free

Cons
  • Lack durability

Simple Houseware's three-compartment meal prep containers are a budget-friendly pick made from food-grade BPA-free polypropylene. Complete with three spacious compartments, each bento box delivers enough room to pack a full sandwich with two sides. Great for kids and adults alike, these containers feature a leakproof, airtight lid that travels well and keeps food fresh in the fridge and freezer. 

The Simple Houseware meal prep containers are top-rack dishwasher safe and easily stackable. This set comes with six 36-ounce containers with a variety of colored lids. Each container measures 9.5 x 6.3 x 2 inches.

Volume Capacity: 36 ounces | Material: FDA Approved, BPA-Free and Food-Grade Safe polypropylene  | BPA-Free: Yes | Dishwasher safe: Top-rack safe | Microwave safe: Yes | Freezer safe: Yes

Best Leakproof: Rubbermaid Leak-Proof Brilliance Food Storage Set

Pros
  • Leak-proof

  • Built-in vents

  • Stain and odor resistant

Cons
  • Lack durability

  • Smaller than other meal prep containers

Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Containers deliver an airtight seal with innovative latches that keep food from leaking. When released, the latches reveal built-in vents that eliminate microwave splatter. This set is conveniently safe for use in the dishwasher, freezer, and microwave. 

Rubbermaid's stackable containers are crystal clear, so you can easily keep track of your meal prep inventory. Made from BPA-free Tritan, Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Containers look like glass but are durable and much lighter. These containers are also stain and odor-resistant, keeping their pristine appearance through many meals and dishwasher cycles. 

Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Containers are available in multiple sizes and quantities.

Volume Capacity: 1.3 cup | Material: BPA free Tritan plastic | BPA-Free: Yes | Dishwasher safe: Yes | Microwave safe: Yes | Freezer safe: Yes

Best Multifunctional: Stasher Reusable Silicone Bag

Stasher Silicone Reusable Sandwich Bag
Pros
  • Sleek design that doesn't take up much space

  • Oven, microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe

  • Latex-free, BPA-free, PVC-free

Cons
  • Only one compartment doesn't allow for separating meal components

The Stasher Bag is the unicorn of food storage containers because it’s not only reusable; it can also be used to cook. The silicone bag’s functions are limitless. It takes up less drawer space than a thin dishtowel and can replace bulky meal prep containers, as well as pots and pans. 

This magic little bag can be used for cooking in the oven up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, on the stovetop for boiling and sous vide cooking, and in the microwave. It can also be stored in the freezer and cleaned in the dishwasher.

The eco-friendly Stasher Bag is made from platinum food-grade silicone, which keeps food fresher longer and seals in smells through its airtight Pinch-Loc™ seal. Simply fold the bag and squeeze to secure it. It’s also latex-free, BPA-free, and PVC-free.

The Stasher Bag comes in various sizes, including ½ gallon, pocket, sandwich, snack, and the stand-up bag. It’s offered in a range of transparent colors, including Aqua, Clear, Blueberry, Citrus, Gray, Lime, Milky Way, Mint, Moonstone, Obsidian, Raspberry, and Supernova.

Volume Capacity: 15 ounces | Material: Non-toxic platinum silicone | BPA-Free: Yes | Dishwasher safe: Yes | Microwave safe: Yes | Freezer safe: Yes

Best Glass: Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers

Pros
  • Made from chemical-free glass

  • Leak proof

  • Odorless

  • Clear container keeps organizing simple

Cons
  • Heavy

  • Lid is not dishwasher or microwave safe

In comparison to plastic, glass withstands higher heat and repeat usage, so you don't have to worry about harmful chemicals leaching into your food. Prep Naturals' two-compartment meal prep container is made from high-quality borosilicate glass, which is safe to use in the microwave, oven, freezer, and dishwasher. The lid is not dishwasher or microwave-safe.

Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers are leak-proof and remain odorless, even if you cook with garlic on repeat. This set includes five 29-ounce containers that measure 7 x 5.1 x 2.6 inches and weigh 1.6 pounds. 

Volume Capacity: 30 ounces | Material: Glass | BPA-Free: Yes | Dishwasher safe: Yes | Microwave safe: Yes | Freezer safe: Yes

Best Stainless Steel: LunchBots Cinco Stainless Steel Lunch Container

Pros
  • Separate compartments

  • Free of toxins and chemical linings

Cons
  • Best for cold meals only

  • Not microwaveable

If you're looking for a durable, chemical-free meal prep container that's an alternative to glass, consider a stainless steel option like this one from LunchBots. This reusable meal prep container features five separate compartments of varying sizes to fit a well-balanced meal, complete with protein, fat, carbohydrate, fruit, and vegetable. This meal prep container ensures that each food stays separate, so it's perfect for meal portioning and satisfying picky eaters that don't like mixed foods.

The sleek, compact container fits seamlessly into lunch bags and backpacks and stack neatly for a clutter-free fridge. The LunchBots Large Cinco Stainless Steel Lunch Container and lid are made from ultra-durable, BPA-free 18/8 stainless steel, which is lightweight, sturdy, and free of toxins and chemical linings. This container is best for cold meals, as stainless steel cannot be microwaved. LunchBots containers are dishwasher-safe, making for easy cleanup. When packing dips and sauces, try the LunchBots Dips condiment containers.

In addition to the classic all-stainless steel container, this bento-style box is available with LunchBots’ additional snap-on colorful dot cover, which is offered in aqua, blue, green, and pink. The snap-on cover is also BPA-free. The LunchBots Large Cinco Stainless Steel Lunch Container measures 8 x 6 x 1.75 inches and features three individual 1/2-cup proportions and two 1 1/4-cup portions.

Volume Capacity: 32 ounces | Material: 18/8 stainless steel | BPA-Free: Yes | Dishwasher safe: Yes | Microwave safe: No | Freezer safe: Yes

What Experts Say

"Investing in high-quality meal prep containers is a great way to set you up for success with your nutrition goals. Planning—and preparing—meals and snacks ahead of time makes sticking to your meal plan simple. If meal prep feels overwhelming, I suggest starting with one meal, such as breakfast. Mixing up a large batch of overnight oats and storing it in individual containers makes mornings easier,"—Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN.

Best for Snacks: OTOR 25 Pack Stackable Bento Boxes

Pros
  • 3 compartments

  • Stackable & easy to organize

Cons
  • Compartments too small for some fruits

Planning ahead for snacks can empower you to make healthy decisions. Pack any trio—such as cut-up veggies, nuts, and hummus—in this compact, three-compartment meal prep container. The 16-ounce crack-resistant containers come with clear, airtight lids that prevent leakage and ward off steam to keep food fresh and prevent wilting.

OTOR's reusable, stackable containers are made from BPA-free polypropylene and are dishwasher, microwave, and freezer-safe. This set includes 25 three-compartment bento boxes with lids. The two outside containers measure 2.76 x 4.13 x 1.75 inches, and the center compartment measures 3.19 x 4.13 x 1.75 inches.

Volume Capacity: 16 ounces | Material: BPA-free plastic | BPA-Free: Yes | Dishwasher safe: Yes | Microwave safe: Yes | Freezer safe: Yes

Best Bento: EZ Prepa Meal Prep Containers with Lids - Bento Box

Pros
  • Stackable

  • BPA-free

  • Microwave-safe

Cons
  • Lacks durability 

  • May leak

Keep your portions in check with the reusable EZ Prepa Bento Box Set. These durable, BPA-free plastic containers feature three divided compartments. EZ Prepa's meal prep containers are microwave, freezer, and dishwasher-safe.  

Each container measures 9 x 7 x 6 inches and collectively holds up to 32 ounces of food. The lids and containers are stackable and take up very little shelf space, so your refrigerator will be perfectly organized. This set comes with 20 reusable, black meal prep containers with clear lids, so you can prepare meals for the whole week and easily manage inventory.

Volume Capacity: 32 ounces | Material: BPA-free plastic | BPA-Free: Yes | Dishwasher safe: Yes | Microwave safe: Yes | Freezer safe: Yes

Best for Salad: Bentgo Salad BPA-Free Lunch Container

Bentgo Salad BPA-Free Lunch Container
Pros
  • Contains separate containers for toppings & dressing

  • Includes reusable fork

  • Airtight lid

Cons
  • Not freezer safe

Prep a hearty, loaded salad in the Bentgo Salad BPA-Free Lunch Container. The 54-ounce bowl fits four cups of lettuce or veggies, topped by the upper compartmentalized tray that keeps three separate toppings fresh and crisp until mealtime. The upper lidded tray features one 10-ounce compartment and two 5-ounce compartments, along with a 3-ounce dressing container.

The Bentgo lid features a rubberized sealing ring with locking clips for a fresh, leakproof, portable salad. The main bowl is microwave-safe, and all parts are dishwasher-safe.

The Bentgo Salad BPA-Free Lunch Container is made from BPA- and PVC-free plastic with a Tritan cutlery cover. Never get stuck without utensils again, thanks to Bentgo’s built-in reusable fork. This portable salad container is offered in a variety of vibrant colors, including Blue, Blush Marble, Coastal Aqua, Gray, Green, Khaki Green, Purple, and Slate.

Volume capacity: 54 ounce salad bowl & 3 ounce sauce container | Material: Food-Grade Safe ABS, PE, PP, Tritan, and Silicone | BPA-free: Yes | Dishwasher safe: Yes | Microwave safe: Yes | Freezer safe: No

Best for Freezer: C Crest 5-Pack Glass Food Storage Containers

C CREST 5-Pack Glass Food Storage Containers
Pros
  • Stackable

  • Come in two sizes

  • Leakproof lids

Cons
  • Lids cannot be microwaved

  • Recommended to wash lids by hand

  • Heavy

If you’re looking to prep meals and freeze them, try these sturdy Glass Meal Prep Containers, which can go straight from the freezer to the microwave. However, the lid is not microwave safe. These containers are made from lead-free borosilicate glass, a durable glass that won’t break under extreme temperatures - like the freezer. The containers (not the lids) can also withstand oven heat up to 700 degrees fahrenheit!

The lids are BPA-free plastic and snap on to prevent leaks. It is recommended to wash them by hand, but the glass containers can go in the top rack of the dishwasher for easy cleaning. The silicone seal inside the lid is removable, which is not a defect, but rather allows for thorough cleaning under the seal. These containers stack neatly keeping your freezer tidy and organized.

Volume capacity: Five 12 ounce and five 34 ounce | Material: Containers: Lead-free borosilicate glass. Lids: BPA-free plastic | BPA-free: Yes | Dishwasher safe: Yes but recommended to hand wash lids | Microwave safe: Container is microwave safe; lids are not microwave safe | Freezer Safe: Yes

Best for Reheating: S'well Prep Food Glass Bowls

Pros
  • Leak-resistant lids

  • Durable

Cons
  • No compartments or separation

  • A bit small

  • Heavy

These glass bowls from S’well are great for portioning out meals that need to be reheated like soup, oatmeal, or pasta. Made from durable, tempered glass, these bowls are safe to pop in the microwave and the lids are too. The pop-top lids are leak resistant, and you can further prevent leaks by putting these bowls inside of S'well Eats™ food bowls, sold separately. The glass bowls include measurement lines on the outside making it easy to portion out food.

These bowls hold 12 ounces, about 1.5 cups, which may work best for breakfast or sides versus an entire meal. The other downside is that they are heavier than plastic containers, since they are made from glass. S’well glass bowls are BPA-free and top-rack dishwasher safe.

Volume capacity: 12 ounces | Material: Glass | BPA-free: Yes | Dishwasher safe: Yes | Microwave safe: Yes | Freezer Safe: Yes

Best for Organization: Joseph Joseph Nest Lock Plastic 10-Piece Food Storage Container Set

Pros
  • Stack inside each other to save space

  • Leakproof lids that snap

  • BPA-free

Cons
  • No compartments to separate meal components

The most annoying part of meal prep containers is storing them when not using them. That’s not a problem with Joseph Joseph Nest Lock Plastic Food Storage Container Set. These five containers fit neatly inside each other, with accompanying color coded lids that keep organizing easy, whether in the cabinet or the fridge. This set comes with five different sizes from 8 oz to 101 oz so you can keep the main dish separate from sides and sauces and portion them out as you go throughout the week.

The airtight lids snap shut preventing leaks. Both the containers and lids are BPA-free and can safely go in the microwave, freezer, and dishwasher. Joseph Joseph sells a variety of sets and sizes so you can add more as you go, depending on which sizes you like best.

Volume Capacity: 8, 18, 37, 63, and 101 ounces | Material: BPA-free plastic | BPA-Free: Yes | Dishwasher safe: Top-rack safe | Microwave safe: Yes | Freezer safe: Yes

Best for Kids: Bentgo Children's Lunch Box

Bentgo Children's Lunch Box
Pros
  • Rubber-coated edges protect from dropping or breaking

  • Easy-to-open, leak-proof latches

Cons
  • May be too small for teens

The Bentgo Kids Children’s Lunch Box was made with kids in mind, specifically kids ages 3-7 years old. The inside tray features five compartments - a 1-cup section great for sandwiches and three ¼-½ cup sections perfect for fruits and vegetables. There is also a sauce compartment that holds two tablespoons. The tray is removable and can be frozen or refrigerated and then popped directly into the microwave. It is also top-rack dishwasher safe.

The outside of the Bentgo Lunch Box is coated in rubber, protecting it from breaking should your child drop it on the cafeteria floor. Bentgo knows parents don’t need anymore messes to clean so they carefully designed the lid of the Bentgo Kids Children’s Lunch Box to be leak proof with two easy-to-open latches for little fingers. Choose from a variety of bright colors.

Volume Capacity: Left: 1 cup; Back: 1/2 cup; Right: 1/2 cup; Front: 1/4 cup; Sauce: 2 tbsp | Material: BPA-free, food-safe plastic (outside edges are food-safe rubber) | BPA-Free: Yes | Dishwasher safe: Top-rack safe | Microwave safe: Yes | Freezer safe: Yes

Final Verdict

For long-lasting, high-performing meal prep containers that can go straight from the oven to the table and to the freezer, we recommend Pyrex Glass Food Storage Containers (view at Amazon). For a container that goes beyond meal prep, we recommend the Stasher Silicone Reusable Storage Bag (view at Amazon). These reusable silicone bags are an eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic sandwich bags and can even be used for cooking in the oven, on the stove, and in the microwave.

What to Look for in a Meal Prep Container

Material

The first step in choosing a meal prep container is deciding on your preferred material. The most popular materials used in food storage containers are glass, plastic, stainless steel, and silicone. Each material has its pros and cons; overall, it's a personal preference.

Glass containers are a sturdy, low maintenance option that are dishwasher and microwave-safe, and typically also freezer and oven-safe. Another major selling point is that glass is nonporous, meaning there’s no space to trap odor and bacteria. Glass is also free of potentially harmful chemicals. On the flip side, glass containers are much heavier, fragile, and can be more costly.

BPA-free plastic containers are another great option to consider. In addition to being mostly dishwasher and microwave-safe, plastic containers are lightweight and budget-friendly. High quality, sturdy plastics wear well and won’t warp or dent in the dishwasher. Plastic is not the most eco-friendly pick of the bunch, and it’s important to note that if your plastic containers crack, they are no longer safe to use and should be disposed of properly. Be sure to choose BPA-free plastic to avoid potentially harmful chemicals.

Stainless steel containers are a popular option for preparing cold meals. These eco-friendly metal containers are often offered in compact bento-style lunch boxes, packing seamlessly in a work or school bag. While stainless steel cannot be heated, it is generally dishwasher-safe.

Due to its malleable nature, silicone is a smart choice for anyone looking to save space, either in the kitchen or in a lunch bag. Silicone bags are designed to replace single-use plastic bags and can usually be used for a variety of cooking methods. 

Capabilities

The idea behind meal prepping is to make life easier and spend less time cooking and cleaning. To get the most out of your efforts, look for meal prep containers that are safe to use in the microwave, dishwasher, freezer, and oven.

Compartments

Compartmentalized meal prep containers are a popular choice, especially for kids or for preparing multi-course meals. Bento boxes are a great option for packing a variety of food in one compact container and keeping wet and dry foods separate.

Ease of Cleaning

There's nothing worse than cracking open your lunch container after a long day and spending what seems to be endless amounts of time scrubbing. The beauty of a nonporous material like glass is that it doesn't absorb odor or bacteria, making cleaning much easier. Ideally, find a container that is dishwasher-safe to cut down on cleaning time.

Durability

Invest in meal prep containers that will last for years and will stand up to a little roughhousing and the occasional tumble. Additionally, make sure the material is sturdy enough to handle the microwave, freezer, and dishwasher.

Lid Design

Look for a lid that incorporates a seal, suction, or locking mechanism. This ensures a secure hold, keeping liquids from seeping in between the cracks and spilling.

Size

Meal prep masters seek the ideal balance between storage space and food capacity. Since every meal and family member is different, we suggest investing in a variety of container sizes for different meals and portion sizes.

FAQs

How many containers do you need for meal prep?

“This depends on how many meals and days you’re looking to prep at a time,” says Laney Morse, CPT, BCS, nutritionist and personal trainer. “For example, if your goal is just to prepare one meal per day, then you can purchase seven individual containers and portion the meals out ahead of time so that you can grab your meal and go. An alternative is to prep each part of the meal (such as chicken breast, rice, and a vegetable) and then store the components in large containers, which would require portioning out the meals each day into the same prep container that you wash each day. This strategy is a little more labor-intensive as you have to portion out the meal every day, but it can save space if you don’t have room for stacks of containers in your refrigerator.”

“If you’re looking to do multiple meals per day and portion them all out ahead of time, then you should plan to buy that amount of containers. Three meals per day would require twenty-one separate containers if you were to lay out all of your meals in the beginning of the week,” Morse says. “Alternatively, if you choose to do the strategy of storing each component in bulk and portioning them out each day, you would realistically only need the number of containers as meals per day you plan on making (e.g. if you cook components for three separate meals per day and you store the components in bulk, then you would need three meal prep containers to set your breakfast, lunch and dinner each day). Again, this is a more labor intensive option, however it can still save space in the refrigerator.”


What size meal prep containers should you get?

“If you are planning on prepping full meals, then you will want a substantial container. Better yet, choosing a container with separate compartments can help separate each part of your meal for more precise and equal portions across your meals. If you are looking to prep full meals, then take into consideration the need to accommodate for multiple components (e.g. a main protein, starch, and fruit or vegetable). If you are only looking to prep snacks or single components, then purchase containers based on the items you plan on making. Typically a 32 ounce container will fit a full meal easily, and a 12 to 16 ounce container can be used to store snacks.” -Laney Morse, CPT, BCS

Are plastic meal prep containers safe?

“This depends on the brand. Many companies are now taking the process of creating plastic containers more heavily into consideration, and focusing on removing harmful chemicals. On the bottom of food containers, you’ll find a number printed somewhere that will be between 1 and 7, which indicates what the plastic is made of. Plastics with number 1, 2, 4, and 5 are generally considered safe to be used with food. Numbers 3, 6, and 7 are generally considered unsafe or higher risk of contaminating food and should be avoided for use as storage containers.” -Laney Morse, CPT, BCS

Can you freeze meal prep containers?

It depends on the material of the container. “Most heavy glass containers such as Pyrex, and most plastic containers can be frozen for short or long periods of time without any issues. Be sure to read the details of the product prior to buying, as companies may disclose information about increased risk of cracking or breaking of containers based on the material, however most should have no trouble being frozen,” says Morse.

Can you microwave meal prep containers?

It depends on the material of the container. Look for “microwave-safe” in the product description or on their website. “Metal should never be microwaved as it is a conductor of electricity, and can cause serious damage and harm to the microwave, product, and yourself. For plastic, be sure to read the fine-print of the product description or find out which type of plastic the container is made of,” says Morse. “If the company states a plastic container is microwave safe then it likely won’t melt or overheat, however the type of plastic will determine if any chemicals are at risk of being leached into your food when heated,” Morse says. Look for BPA-free containers. Glass containers are safe to microwave but the lids are not always microwave-safe so check the product description.

How long do meal prep containers last?

“As long as you take care of your containers, they will last forever. Glass containers are not porous, and therefore will not get stained or wear out over time as long as they are properly washed, dried and stored. However, glass is prone to breaking, so if you notice a chip, crack or broken part on any glass container, discard it immediately to prevent injury. Depending on the brand, thickness, and type of plastic used, plastic containers can also have a very long lifespan as well. Plastic is a porous material, and therefore is prone to stains and discoloration. Typically this is harmless, but if this is off-putting to you then glass may be a better choice. As long as plastic is washed thoroughly after each use, it should be fairly easy to prevent stains. As long as the containers are microwave-safe, then they should not melt or lose their shape when heated. However, if this occurs, it’s probably a good idea to discard the container to prevent leaking or contamination of food if the container is no longer air-tight.” -Laney Morse, CPT, BCS

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

Emily Stone researches and reviews products for Verywell Fit and Verywell Health. As a health and fitness writer, she knows how food plays an integral role in one's health, wellness, and fitness journey. Emily suggests Pyrex containers for weekly meal prep as they’re durable, oven and freezer-safe, and free of toxins and chemical linings.

 

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  1. Ducrot P, Méjean C, Aroumougame V, et al. Meal planning is associated with food variety, diet quality and body weight status in a large sample of French adultsInt J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2017;14(1):12. doi:10.1186/s12966-017-0461-7