As a busy and broke college student, the last thing I have time to do is make myself a nutritious meal every night when I come home from class. When I try to adult enough and make my version of a gourmet and balanced meal, I get annoyed at all the clean up it requires. As a result, these meals often get scattered between dinners of fast food, dining hall punches, and simply forgetting to eat (Don't tell my Mom). 

However, there is a simple solution to this problem of inconsistent and incomplete meals. It's called meal prep.

What is Meal Prep?

For those of you who may be unfamiliar to meal prep, it's when you cook a larger batch of food in advance and then portion it out into meals to be eaten over a period of time (usually a week).

These pre-portioned meals are an awesome way to help eliminate the amount of time spent cooking and cleaning throughout the week. It can also save you some serious cash by not accidentally spending 30 bucks during a week on Panera and Chipotle (this may or may not have happened to me last semester). 

Karen Nolan

Recently, I've become obsessed with meal prep and planning. A big question I had when I started was what were the best meal prep containers? I did a little research to find out some of the best meal prep container options and thought I would share them with you

1. Lift Certified BPA-Free Microwavable Containers ($11)  

espresso, sweet, chocolate, coffee
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If you're looking for a lot of meal prep containers that are microwave safe, these are great. They are BPA-free, which is important when you are looking to buy plastic food containers because BPA has been linked to some pretty scary side effects.

The clean up on these containers is also simple since they are also dishwasher safe. You can find these babies for a little less than $11.00 on Amazon. 

2. Rubbermaid® Brilliance 22-piece Food Storage Container Set ($50)

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This is another great reusable meal prep container option that is BPA-free and is guaranteed leak-free. I also like that this set comes with a bunch of different sizes of containers. With this set, you would never have to worry about using an obscenely large container for that afternoon snack you packed to take to campus.

These are also freezer, microwave, and dishwasher safe. This set will set you back $50 bucks but for 22 separate containers, it's definitely worth the splurge.

3. FESTMÅLTID from IKEA ($5)

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I love how this meal prep container has designated compartments where you can separate your food. Two of these three compartments are also removable, which allows you flexibility on what you want to put in it. 

Like the previous two container options, this is safe for your microwave, freezer, and dishwasher. This container can be bought individually for $5.

4. Meal Prep Premium Glass Containers ($12-$40)

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If you're looking to avoid any sort of plastic, try these glass meal prep containers. They're specifically designed for meal prep so they're made to be durable enough to take your lunch with you.

Each one-compartment container can hold up to 28oz, which gives you plenty of room for your meals. There is also a two-compartment option that holds 40oz. The 28oz containers come in packs of three on Amazon for $25 or individually for $12. The 40oz go for around $40 for three containers.

5. Prep Natural Glass Containers ($24) 

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This is another great glass option that is not only microwave, freezer, and dishwasher safe, but the glass containers are oven safe for temperatures between 14-230°F. 

These containers are specifically geared to meal prep and portioning out meals, so you won't have to worry about dividing up your meal into a bunch of small containers. A pack of four costs $24.

6. Qianle 2-Piece Glass Bento Box ($34)

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This is a cute two-piece set that comes with a lunch box to carry your fancy prepped meals. Its glass top and tightly locked plastic lid are supposed to be really durable and leak-proof. This is because the glass is tempered. This set is 34 bucks. 

7. Seleware Food Prep Glass Container ($30)

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The glass portion of this container is microwave oven and freezer safe, and the container is also divided into sections. Seleware also claims the container to be scratch, stain, and oder-resistant. So, no weird stains or smells will be left behind after clean up.

This container also comes in three different colors, is BPA-free, and is supposedly 'Eco-Friendly.' This is the most expensive container on this list, costing around $30 per container.

There you have it, some of the best meal prep containers out there. Investing in one of these meal prep containers is one of the simplest ways to save money in the long run and eat healthfully.

If you are looking into meal prep but don't know where to start, try some of these awesome tips to start meal prepping like a pro.

And if you're looking for some inspo recipes to make this Sunday during your meal prep, I recommend getting creative with it by checking out all the amazing things you can do with just one simple ingredient. Happy meal prepping!