Whether your New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier by packing lunch, to save time by pre-portioning meals or or to save on food waste (by actually taking leftovers to work) it’s worth giving that jam-packed container drawer a rethink and investing in pieces that will work best for your needs.
Start by doing a serious cull of your existing collection (does it spark joy? or frustration?) and scrap anything you aren’t using regularly.
Think long and hard about keeping pieces that shouldn’t be microwaved or put in the dishwasher: is it really worth the hassle?
Second, identify your actual food storage needs: do you need a portable breakfast kit due to your morning time crunch? Do you want your containers to pull double-duty and go from oven to freezer with ease? Are you looking for snack sizes, or containers that seal in oily vinaigrettes for a fuss-free lunch salad?
Whether it's a lunch kit with a built-in-freezer pack or collapsible boxes that take up little space in your cramped kitchen, here’s our picks for the top food storage containers to round out your collection.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and there’s no reason to skip it just because you’re running late. This container from Hudson’s Bay will keep your yogurt and granola separate until you’re ready to eat them. The Bay also carries a milk and cereal version, if that’s more your speed in the a.m.
$10, The Bay.
When space is a concern, consider nesting containers. British manufacturer Joseph Joseph makes a brightly coloured set, and the lids conveniently snap into each other so they don’t sit loose in the cupboard. If variety is what you crave, the plastic version, which is dishwasher and microwave safe, comes in a number of different sizes for all your storage needs.
$55/set of 6, Amazon.
Joseph Joseph also makes a glass version of its nesting containers. The lids still clip together, but as an added bonus, the bases are also safe for the oven and freezer.
$45/set of four, Crate & Barrel.
If you’re really tight on cupboard space, give collapsible containers a try. These round bins are made of a flexible silicone that smush down to a third of their size for storage.
$30/set of three, Amazon.
This container has four compartments so you can keep your various meal components separate. The largest part holds up to two cups worth of food, while the mini side sections can hold a ½ cup each. And the best part is it collapses to a smaller size when not in use!
Flashback to your elementary school days with these adorable, modular lunch kit containers. Each package includes two snack boxes (for your healthy or more indulgent treats), as well as a side and a main-dish compartment. But, the coolest thing is that each piece snaps into an ice pack – so even if your co-workers steal all the office fridge space, your tasty ham sandwich will be kept nice and chilly.
If eating more veggies is your goal for 2018, this salad kit will help take your greens to the next level. It comes with one big salad container, but also a topping tray (so you don’t have to worry about soggy croutons) and a dressing jar. The big container will let you give your salad a lunch-time shake to so your dressing is well distributed.
$8, (on sale, while supplies last) Canadian Tire.
Winter is cold. Have soup for lunch. Warm your soup up before you leave for work in the mornings and this thermos promises to keep it toasty for seven hours. Bonus, it’s dishwasher safe and it comes with a fold-up spoon.
This Rubbermaid Fasten + Go jar is made for folks who can’t live without crackers when slurping their lunchtime soup. The base holds 2 ½ cups of liquid, while a second container keeps your sides from getting soggy. It even has a mini tray, should you want to add some shredded cheese to your dish.
These simple, microwave and dishwasher-safe bento boxes aren’t much to look at, but if you want to keep your food separate, they’ll get the job done. The containers stack nicely without the lids, which can be kept in a separate bin nearby.
$28/set of 10, Amazon.
This wee bento box has two food containers, an inner tray to store garnish, a silicone seal to keep any liquids locked in (and not in your purse), and a handy strap to keep it all together. It comes in a couple of different shapes and a variety of colours.
No home is complete without at least one big set of tupperware. With 12 different shapes and sizes, we like Rubbermaid’s Easy Find Lid system. The lids snap to the bottom of their bases, so you never have to worry about finding the matching set, while the gradual sizes mean you can nest them together to save space.
$24/set of 12, Walmart.
These beautiful snap-lid containers are made in Italy of tempered glass. The air-tight seals mean no food leaks and the glass means they’re oven safe. Plus, did we mention how pretty they were?
$49/set of four, Crate & Barrel.
These nesting containers are colour coded so you can easily find the lid that matches the base. If you have a variety of containers in all shapes and sizes, buy three inexpensive bins to store them in. Designate one bin for lids, one for your everyday containers that can nest nicely into each other and one for those odd-shaped pieces, like your soup or breakfast carriers.
$8/set of three, Walmart.
These mini containers hold up to a ½ cup of food and have a handy measurement bar along the side if you’re serious about portion control. But the coolest thing is the set comes with two mini ice packs that clip into the lids so you can be sure your fruits are chilled all day.
$14/set of four with two ice packs, Amazon.
Instead of putting your treats and goodies into little baggies, Ziploc has a variety of small plastic containers you can use instead. The set comes with a number of mini- and medium-sized bins, as well as a couple larger sizes for your main meal. As a bonus, they all fit within each other for storage and the lids snap down with one easy press on the lid (but be aware these are probably not going to fare well in the dishwasher).
$10/set of 13, Amazon.
Step away from the office microwave: Crock Pot has a lunch warmer. The portable, mini slow warmer (it would be a stretch to call this a slow cooker), promises to heat your meals over time so they’re ready when you are. It sounds perfect for those dishes that develop flavour as they cook – like stews or chili. Just don’t forget to plug it in when you get to the office, or else you might be enjoying that meal for dinner. Store it with your other small electronics.
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