Best Meal Prep Containers 2018

Best Meal Prep Containers – 2018 Buying Guide

Best Overall – Prep Naturals Glass Food Prep Containers

Out of all the meal prep containers out there, these seem to easily beat any competitors. Glass is the most durable and versatile material of all container types, and these include snap-on lids along with a moving vent. They’re freezer safe, oven safe up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit, and are easy to clean.

Best Plastic – Misc Home 32oz 2 Compartment Food Containers

The best thing about these containers is if you’re on a budget and need something that will do as its advertised, this is the way to go. For less than a dollar per container, you can have generous compartment space and a product that will last as long as it’s not abused.

Best Silicone – KUUK Collapsible Silicone Food Container

Limited cabinet space, but big on meals? This one is for you. These 19oz collapsible food containers are made of high grade silicone, are microwave, freezer, and dishwasher safe, and even feature a pop-up vent on the top of the lid.

Best Metal – Mighty Hippo Rectangle Bento Lunch Containers

If you are willing to spend a little more now, you’ll get a product that will last much longer. These stainless-steel bento lunch containers will not break, are leak proof, and perfect for a child’s lunch. The snap on lid and metal body is strong, yet lightweight and can handle the day to drops that sometimes happen.

Best Set – Rubbermaid TakeAlongs Set

If variety is what you’re looking for, the Rubbermaid TakeAlongs Set is the way to go. This set gives you more than a week’s worth of containers for your main dishes, side items, sauces, and liquids like soup. With some containers featuring screw-on lids, you can be sure your meals will stay secure.

Honorable Mention – PickMe Bento Lunch Box Set

I couldn’t leave these lunch containers off the list, despite their higher price tag. These stainless-steel containers are stylish, yet practical. They feature a pop-up vent, adequate space, and a colorful top that makes them stick out from other containers.

Best Meal Prep Lunch Box – Sable Insulated Lunch Box

If you have a longer commute to work or school, I highly recommend investing in a good lunch box. Luckily for me, work is only 5 minutes away, but for those that have a longer distance, Sable’s insulated lunch box is an affordable option that will keep your meals fresh until lunch.


Factors to Consider


Materials are fairly straight forward when it comes to meal prep containers. The most common ones you’ll see are plastic and glass, however you also have the option of purchasing metal or silicone ones as well. Each have their own pros and cons, which I’ll try to explain below.


Plastic containers have the lowest price per container. You can usually get them for around a dollar or less per container, and as long as you take care of them, they can easily last a year or more. You’ll only begin to run into problems if you try and place them in the freezer as they’ll become brittle and break. You can usually heat these up in the microwave, however it’s usually better to place your meal on a plate, then heat up to improve the longevity of the container.


If you think long term and are looking for versatility, glass is the way to go. It’s one of the longest lasting and most are safe to place in the freezer or use in the oven. The lids are generally better on glass containers, so you can store liquid items like soup without a problem. Although they’re more expensive upfront, they’ll almost always outlast plastic containers.

Paleo Meal Prep Containers

Glass and plastic meal prep containers –


You won’t find many people using silicone meal prep containers, but that doesn’t mean anything is wrong with them. The main benefit of silicone tupperware is it collapses when not in use. This means you can easily keep your cabinet from becoming cluttered and store these in drawers or other tight spaces. Silicone doesn’t crack, so it can also be used in the freezer, microwave, and is dishwasher safe.


Metal meal prep containers are the most durable on this list. Being metal, they’re virtually indestructible for day-to-day travel, considering you’re not moving through an active war zone. Metal Tupperware is ideally meant for dry foods and the only downside is they can’t be microwaved. Perfect for children.


You’ll see almost all meal prep containers advertised as “BPA-Free,” but what does this mean? BPA stands for ‘Bisphenol A’ which is a chemical used in certain food contact materials, like the inside of metal cans. The big concern has been whether you end up ingesting BPA from certain containers. BPA normally does not end up in your food, BUT if it were to, in low levels, the resin is harmless, according to the FDA.

BPA typically doesn’t seep into your food on its own, it’s needs some sort of activator, like heat to aid in that process.

In the fall of 2014, FDA experts across the agency that specialized in a number of scientific fields completed a 4-year review that spanned over 300 scientific studies regarding BPA and its contact with food. Long story short, the FDA did not find any significant information for a revision of current policies regarding BPA’s use in food containers.

However, because of the widespread concern, this has prompted many manufactures across the food container industry to manufacture and advertise their products as “BPA-Free.” Whether or not this makes a difference in the quality of the product isn’t clear. Even if you decide to purchase containers that are not marked as BPA-Free, you should be fine as long as you place your food on a separate plate before heating.

Watch out for “FDA-Approved” Containers

Any manufacturer or seller claiming to have “FDA-Approved” meal storage containers is making false statements. If you would like anymore proof, here is the email response I had received from the Food and Drug Administration. My inquiry is in GREEN, their response is in ORANGE.

This message is being sent in response to the following submitted inquiry:

Good Morning!

I am writing about blog post on a guide to meal prep containers. One of the biggest concerns many people have is whether or not the containers they’re buying are “safe”.

One distinction I’m seeing on many amazon listings, like this one:

are sellers are advertising their containers as FDA certified with no immediate proof. For one, I wanted to know if the FDA does certify certain food storage containers, and if so what is the process and requirements for a food storage container to receive approval. Also, what does that approval look like? Does it come in the form of a certification number, actual certificate, etc.

Any info provided would be a huge help!

Thank you!

Brian Fischer 

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food and Cosmetic Information Center (FCIC)/Technical Assistance Network (TAN) has prepared a response for case number 00151451.

Response: Thank you for writing, we are happy to assist you. FDA does not certify food containers. FDA regulates food containers as a food contact substance. It is the manufactures responsibility to be in compliance with the food contact substance guidelines. 

FDA does not approve food contact substance products. It is the manufacture responsibility to ensure the product is safe to come in contact with food. Food contact substance is defined as “any substance intended for use as a component of materials used in manufacturing, packing, packaging, transporting, or holding food if such use is not intended to have a technical effect in such food. You can view information about food-contact substance on the FDA website. It is the manufacture responsibility to ensure the product is safe. Reference for determining the regulatory status of components of a food contact material. Reference for packaging & food contact substance (FCS). If your product comes into contact with food, then the FDA regulates it as a food contact substance. Any chemicals or compounds that make up a food contact substance must be authorized to be used in a food contact substance along with the chemicals or compounds not becoming part of the food. You can review the List of Indirect Additives Used in Food Contact Substances at for a listing of the authorized chemicals or compounds for a food contact substance.
We hope this information is helpful. 

Thank you for contacting FDA’s FCIC/TAN.

View popular Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) questions and answers identified by the Technical Assistance Network (TAN), on our website.

This communication is intended for the exclusive use of the inquirer and does not constitute an advisory opinion (21 CFR 10.85(k)).  Also note that this response is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all applicable requirements.  Please check FDA’s web page ( regularly for guidance reflecting our current thinking.  Additional information on FSMA can be found on FDA’s FSMA web page (  This communication may contain information that is protected, privileged, or confidential.  If you have received it in error, please immediately delete all copies.

**Please do not reply to this email box. If you would like to submit a follow-up question or need clarification to this inquiry, please click here and reference this inquiry’s case number.


While the food containers may meet the FDA’s regulatory requirements, this does not certify them as “FDA-Approved.” They may be FDA compliant, but this is based on the seller or manufacturer’s own merit, rather than through a government agency.

Lid Quality

Another important feature you will want to pay attention to is the quality of the lid. A well-made container isn’t complete without a secure lid, and your lunch isn’t any good if it ends up leaking all over your bag.

Best Meal Prep Container Secure Lid

An example of a clip-on lid with a pop-up vent

There are two types of lids, those that snap on, and those that clip on. Clip on lids are typically the better of the two, but unless you plan on carrying soups or other liquids, snap on lids will be just fine.

Clip on lids have the added benefit of a locking into place, sometimes an added ‘o’-ring, or a venting hole at the top is also included. Features like this are almost always advertised, so look for an ‘o’-ring or rubber piece that lines the top of the container. This almost always guarantees the container is airtight and leakproof.

I’ve used both versions and found the plastic containers with snap on lids work just fine for most meals. Even if my veggies have a little juice in them, I don’t see it leaking out unless there is a rough commute between my home and office.

Temperature Capability

I briefly touched on this in earlier paragraphs, but you will want to pay close attention to what your food prep containers can handle. While some glass containers can be stored in the freezer and then be placed directly in the oven, this doesn’t mean all of them can. For a lot of glass containers, the sudden shock from hot to cold or vice versa can make the glass break instantly.

An example of thermal shock on glass can be seen in the video below.

Additionally, some may only be able to put in the freezer and not the oven. Others may be oven safe, but not freezer safe. Just pay close attention to the descriptions so you know what you’re buying.

For glass containers that are oven safe, make sure you see what temperature they’re rated to handle. Some containers can only be used up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, while others can go all the way up to 800.


Shape and Number of Compartments.

As far as the shape and number of compartments goes, that’s up to your own personal preference. If you’re someone who can’t stand their food touching, then you’ll obviously want to buy containers that have individual compartments.

However, the more compartments there are, the more space you lose to the material that divides your food. Single or double containers will have the most amount of space, which allows for you to pack more food on the go; a huge plus if you eat a lot like I do. Just be sure to pay attention to the measurements, as some containers may be a different size than they appear in the pictures.


Take into consideration the journey your food will be traveling on a day-to-day basis. If it’s a quick drive from your home to office and all you need is a plastic bag to carry your food, glass containers are not in the danger zone for being broken. On the other hand, if you have to walk to the subway, then walk another few blocks where your bag may toss and tumble, plastic or metal containers may be a better option.

Don’t forget to consider the size of your bag, what you’ll be eating and what you already have in it. You can only fit so much in a backpack without certain containers getting crushed or bent. If needed, you can always purchase another lunch box specific for multiple containers.

Lunch on a Skyscraper

Construction workers eat their lunches atop a steel beam 800 feet above ground, at the building site of the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center. – Flickr


Oh the dreaded task of dishes. Not only can it be a pain in the butt, it can be easier or harder depending on the containers you choose. Personally, I think glass and metal containers are the easiest to clean in terms of materials. They won’t bend when scrubbing and you can easily force a sponge in the hard to reach areas.

Glass and metal containers also have no problem going in the dishwasher and don’t run the risk of melting or changing shape over time. I haven’t run into that problem with plastic or silicone containers yet, but that may vary depending on your dishwasher.

The more compartments your food prep containers have, the more difficult they will be to clean. There’s more corners in the container and they may be tighter, which makes it more difficult to get any sauces, or leftover food completely out of the container.

As a quick tip, I always wash my containers right after using them with a brush, and then stick them in the dishwasher. Doing so, makes it so the dishwasher only has to sanitize the container versus removing food debris.


Browse Food Storage Containers Now or Select One of My Picks


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Best Overall – Prep Naturals Glass Food Prep Containers

Best Plastic – Misc Home 32oz 2 Compartment Food Containers

Best Silicone – KUUK Collapsible Silicone Food Container

Best Metal – Mighty Hippo Rectangle Bento Lunch Containers

Best Set – Rubbermaid TakeAlongs Set

Honorable Mention – PickMe Bento Lunch Box Set

Best Meal Prep Lunch Box – Sable Insulated Lunch Box


Best Meal Prep Containers 2018

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