Meal preppers, look no further: Pre-portioned bento lunch boxes are the best food storage containers out there.
Photo: Asya Nurullina / Shutterstock.com
If you're a fan of meal prepping, you likely live by the mantra "Fail to plan, plan to fail." And while it can sound cliché, when it comes to healthy eating, it's actually true—having reliable food storage containers in your kitchen and packing preportioned meals ahead of time are vital to your nutrition goals.
Many people swear by meal prepping for convenience (and saving money!). Bento lunch boxes, in particular, add another level of convenience because they include preportioned compartments within the container, making it easier to estimate the correct portion sizes of the food you're packing. (Already lost? Here's the beginner's guide to meal prepping.)
Based on your preferences, you can opt for a bento lunch box that's separated into two compartments—like this dual-section glass option with a leak-proof, snap-lock lid—or three compartments. If you're not sure which you prefer, you'll also find bento lunch boxes with removable dividers, so you can switch up the number and sizes of sections whenever you want.
Plastic vs. Glass Bento Boxes
One thing to keep in mind? These bento containers typically come in two different materials: plastic or glass. Plastic options—like this value pack of 25 plastic containers for just $25—are often cheaper, and they'll still keep your food freshly sealed. Plus, they often weigh less than glass (which is key if you're lugging multiple meals around with you every day).
Glass containers have a few advantages too: They're less likely to stain or absorb food scents, will keep your food fresher for longer, and can be put directly into the oven for easy reheating. (It's not advised to reheat plastic containers in the oven, though some can be microwaved.) If you're interested in meal prepping with glass containers, take a cue from Sam Anne, the creator of @samanne.fit, who uses bento boxes that can be packed with hot food and easily reheated later.
PREP!? I think sometimes highly organized preps are overwhelming but y’all they’re not!! I cooked these babies up in 45 minutes! Shredded chicken for the win. If you can shred some chicken you can prep the microwave comes in handy too between rice and steaming veggies. That. Is. It. It’s not complicated! Cook and Shred chicken, spice it up with your favorite spice/sauce add some sides and be done for the week! Breakfast: Got a *little* more complicated and made breakfast quesadillas Lunch: 4oz Shredded chicken with taco seasoning, 1/2 cup Spanish rice, grape tomato, 1/4 cup cheese and broccoli Dinner: 4oz shredded chicken with sugar free bbq sauce, sweet potato waffle fries and broccoli Snacks: Banana, Sargento packs, Greek yogurt @squareorganics (“samanne” for 20% off) #mealprep #lifemadeeasy #macros #macrocounting #foodprep #healthyrecipes #healthyeating
Regardless of which material you choose, you'll want to look for durable containers with leak-proof lids so you never have to worry about spills. Below, we've rounded up six of the best bento lunch boxes you can find on Amazon, including both plastic and glass containers. Along with having leak-proof lids, all of these options come in budget-friendly value packs, meaning you'll get multiple containers (for multiple meals!) at once—without a putting a dent in your wallet. If you're always on the go, you'll be so thankful to have one of these lunch boxes on hand next time you need a healthy grab-and-go meal (like these meal prep ideas that aren't sad chicken and rice).
The Best Glass Bento Lunch Boxes on Amazon
The Best Plastic Bento Lunch Boxes on Amazon
How to Use Bento Boxes to Meal Prep
If you're still not sure where to start, there's a lot of bento box meal-prep inspo on Instagram. (You can also consider splurging on this smart bento lunch box that comes with an app and meal-prep recipes.) With all the different compartments, you can pack sweet and savory items side by side. We love how Madeline of @mad_about_food packs a sesame garlic-glazed salmon and avocado over romaine lettuce right next to strawberries and pistachios in her bento box for a nutritious lunch.
The leftover salmon from my burrito went it it this perfect lunchbox. I was feeling so thankful to be diving into all these good fats today because it was a buuuusy Monday and I needed some brain fuel.⠀ I worked my tail off to get the majority of my blog content for the week shot over the weekend and I can’t wait to share it with you all! ⠀ Whole30 day 8 and I am feeling ⠀ In my lunch romaine salad with carrots, avocado and a sesame garlic glazed salmon, pistachios and strawberries.⠀ #mealprep #mealplan #lunchbox #madaboutfood #foodstagram #eatrealfood #fuelyourbody #goodmoodfood #healthyish #buzzfeedfood #huffposttaste #food52grams #eatwellbewell #eeeeeats #makesmeswhole #bonappetit #thenewhealthy #feedfeed #allrecipes #tasteofhome #realfood #homemade #recipe #foodblog #thekitchn #realsimple
Winnie Liong of @winniesbalance_ also uses her three-compartment bento box to divvy up preportioned amounts of meat, fish, grains, veggies, fruit, and more.
Smaller meal prep this week because I'm on winter break & have a little more time to cook Veggies : roasted eggplant , steamed broccoli, green beans, sweet potato Protein : spinach curried tofu, tamari scallops, cumin spiced turkey, salmon Fruit : strawberries, blueberries (I also have banana, pears, oranges, etc) Grains : quinoa, brown rice (currently making) Currently making some more sweet potatoes, quinoa & tempeh too hope all you girls are having a fantastic day! #balancedeatingrealfood
If you prefer a two-compartment bento, take inspiration from Liza of @ljadeparker, who uses her containers to pack shrimp scampi and zucchini noodle pesto pasta. It keeps everything tidy and organized.
Prepping like it's my job this week! All meals & snacks covered Preworkout snack - Cookie dough balls from @katiecreweBreakfast - Vanilla blueberry cake protein pancakes via @njstramfamAM snack - Trailmix (nuts, seeds, dried fruit)Lunch - Rainbow salads with oil free tahini goddess dressing from @thevegan8 & honey sesame chickenPM snack - Cinnamon roll protein muffins via @wholefoodsnewbodyDinner - Shrimp scampi with zucchini noodle pesto pasta Not pictured - The obvious essentials...Post workout shakes, coffee & my daily dark chocolate intake