After years of trying to find the best meal prep containers, I’ve narrowed it down to a few options that work well for everything.
Let’s be honest, meal prepping is not my favorite pastime. However, it’s the most effective way to get results for my health.
Why meal prep?
Meal prepping saves time, money, and energy. No more asking, “What am I going to eat today?” Which is usually proceeded by a poor decision made out of sheer convenience.
There’s also the fact that you can get the exact ingredients you’ll need in the right quantity. The last thing we want to do is waste food, especially with these escalating food prices.
Did I also mention that the dirty dish pile seems much less massive when you meal prep? So you’ll even spend less time and energy cleaning up the kitchen throughout the week.
Sounds like a win, win, win, right?
Now that I’ve convinced you that meal prep is the way to go, let’s get into my favorite containers.
What to look for in containers:
One of my top priorities is to use non-toxic products, especially in the kitchen. So, in my opinion, the best meal prep containers are glass.
Glass containers are easy to heat in the microwave and oven. Plus, they aren’t subject to warping or lingering stains like plastic containers.
You also don’t have to worry about potential toxins from these containers leaching into your food.
Another thing I look for in containers is how the lid attaches. Now, this is where I do compromise on having plastic. All of my top picks do have plastic lids.
You’ve probably seen containers with bamboo lids, which are probably more eco-friendly. But based on many of the reviews of the bamboo lid containers, the lids don’t usually hold up as well.
Plastic lids tend to seal the container better, and they’re more durable. Having said that, I never expose plastic lids to heat.
Best containers for meal prep:
A container with dividers is a must-have. It’s convenient for everything to be paired the way you plan to eat it. Then, all you have to do is pop it in the microwave and enjoy.
A thing to note is that since the lids are plastic, I do not microwave these with the top on them. Instead, I cover it with a paper towel or simply use your microwave cover.
As stated previously, since these are glass, they work well in the oven, which is my preference for reheating. Reheating things in the oven just seems to make the food taste better. Almost like it was just cooked.
Just like with the other container, it’s nice to be able to heat these in the microwave or oven when needed.
These nifty little containers come in handy for smaller serving items like chia seed pudding, overnight oats, or even homemade desserts.
Sometimes I don’t portion off my soups and salads. These different size containers are perfect for throwing a salad together that you can grab portions of throughout the week.
Now that you have all the containers you’ll need for meal prep, here are some tips to set yourself up for success.
Tips for reducing meal prep overwhelm:
- Shift your mindset. Truthfully, meal prepping is not an activity that I look forward to. However, I do look forward to pain-free periods, less bloating, and more energy. Meal prepping helps you achieve those things. So, instead of focusing on the dread of the task, I focus on the joy of the results.
- Set the mood. Put on your favorite playlist or create a special one for meal prepping. Make sure your space is clean the day before. Open a window. Anything that makes you feel good about the experience.
- Do your planning and grocery shopping on the weekends. I separate the process into three parts: planning meals, grocery shopping, and the actual prep. Do the planning on Friday and the shopping on Saturday.
- Plan for eating out. Unless you’re on really strict eating plan or an extremely tight budget, you’ll likely eat out at some point during the week. Add that to your meal prep calendar. Bonus points if you can even note what your plan to eat from the restaurant. (insert wink emoji, if possible)
- Prep twice a week. Prepping on Sunday and Wednesday allows you to adjust your plans if necessary. For example, maybe you have more food leftover from Sunday’s prep, and you don’t need to make as much as you’d planned.
- Or focus on one mealtime. If prepping every meal feels overwhelming, start with just breakfasts or lunches.
- Consider grocery pick up or delivery. Ordering online is a timesaver. You get to avoid long lines and searching aisles for items. I also find that it saves money because I’m not tempted by impulse buys.
- Keep food expiration in mind. Remember that items like fish need to be refrigerated immediately and eaten within a day or two. I suggest cooking items with shorter shelf lives on prep days and eating a portion that day.
Be gentle with yourself. A meal plan is just that – a plan. Things change. Adjust your plan accordingly to meet your goals.
Amazon Fresh is my personal go-to right now for grocery delivery. It gives me access to staples that I buy at Whole Foods and other alternatives that may be more cost-effective.