The 5 Best Meal Prep Lunch Boxes For Work & Travel
We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.
Whether you work long shifts or like to fuel up when you’re on the go, the best meal prep lunch boxes provide an organized way to transport food and keep it fresh. They come in a variety of styles, including handled totes and multi-compartment bags, and the one you pick will come down to how much capacity you want and how long you need to keep items cold (or hot).
What To Consider When Shopping For The Best Meal Prep Lunch Boxes
Glass Versus Plastic Reusable Meal Prep Containers
The best meal prep food containers will be made from either glass or plastic. Glass offers a stain-resistant surface that won’t absorb flavors or odors, and it can generally be used in the microwave. Borosilicate glass will be relatively sturdy, but keep in mind even lab-grade borosilicate glass isn’t totally shatterproof. Plastic containers are durable and lightweight but can’t always be used in the microwave, and they tend to absorb flavors, odors, and stains over time. In any case, you may want to consider a material that’s dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.
Your containers’ lids should have an airtight design that prevents leaking so you can keep the goodness inside and maintain a clean lunch box. Snap-on lids with rubber gaskets are your best bet, especially if you like to travel with saucy or soupy recipes.
The level of insulation a lunch box provides is largely based on how thick the lining material is, how well the lunch box closes, and whether the seams are stitched or sealed. The thicker the insulation, the more capable the lunch box will be of keeping items warm or cold. As a best practice, all items should be held at the same temperature (in other words, don’t mix hot and cold items) to prevent potential food safety issues. As insulated as a lunch box may be, an ice pack is still essential for keeping food cold, and many lunch boxes come with reusable options that fit neatly alongside the included containers.
If you’re only looking for a way to transport meals from your home kitchen to a destination with access to refrigeration, you can get away with a slightly less insulated design. But for times when this isn’t the case, or if it happens to be a very warm day, you’ll be glad to have a lunch box cooler to keep your prepped meals fully sealed and chilled.
The number of food containers you take with you may change on a day-to-day basis, and in this case you may like a lunch box with expandable compartments and multiple sections. Beverage bottles can be tricky to store, so if you want to bring a drink with you on the go, side pockets are a nice feature and can also double as storage for items like hand wipes or a utensil case.
No matter where the day takes you, these are the best meal prep lunch boxes for work, road trips, and everything in between.
Shop The Best Meal Prep Lunch Boxes
In a hurry? These are the best meal prep lunch boxes:
- The Overall Best Meal Prep Lunch Box: DAS TRUST Meal Prep Containers and Lunch Box
- The Best 2-Compartment Meal Prep Lunch Box: FineDine Lunch Box Set
- The Best Meal Prep Bento Box: Keccido 3-Layer Bento Lunch Box
- The Best All-In-One Lunch Box Set: ThinkFit Insulated Meal Prep Lunch Box Set
- The Best Meal Prep Lunch Box In Multiple Designs: Fit + Fresh Westport Insulated Lunch Bag Set
1. The Overall Best Meal Prep Lunch Box
Pros: includes a container for each weekday, glass containers are odor- and stain-resistant
Cons: no shoulder strap, no ice pack included
This insulated lunch box has a secure double zipper that opens wide for easy access and a tote bag style with two sturdy handles. The five divided lunch containers are made from borosilicate glass and can hold up to 4 cups each. When fully loaded, the lunch box can fit three stacked containers with room left over for an ice pack and other items. The interior of each container has a fixed divider for storing two items separately without intermingling of flavors, and the containers themselves are safe for use in the dishwasher, oven, microwave, and freezer (the lids are not safe for use in the oven or microwave).
This pick is also available in several different options, including three-piece sets and sets without internal dividers.
A helpful review: “I was looking for a glass lunch box with compartments so I can separate my side dishes without mixing them and keep each of them delicious. This product is very reasonably priced and I'm very glad I found it. The bag that comes with the containers is big enough for a few glass boxes and some fruits. The material isn't very thick but it does keep the temperature of the food very well. I got a compliment of how pretty the bag looks. The quality of the containers are very good too.”
What’s included: 5 containers, carrying bag | Container material: Borosilicate glass | Dishwasher-safe? Yes | Microwave-safe? Yes, without the lids | Oven safe? Yes, without the lids
2. The Best 2-Compartment Meal Prep Lunch Box
Pros: 2 insulated compartments in lunch bag for keeping items separate, mesh pockets for water bottle or utensils, glass containers are odor- and stain-resistant
Cons: included ice pack is a little small
FineDine’s lunch box features two insulated compartments plus two mesh side pockets that allow you to tote a variety of food and drink items at once. Included with the bag are an ice pack, plus three glass food prep containers (two 12-ounce and one 35-ounce), all with leakproof, clip-on lids.
The containers are oven- and microwave-safe, and all pieces can be cleaned in the dishwasher. The zipped, padded, and reflective design of the lunch box provides excellent temperature retention, whether you want to keep food warm or cold with the ice pack. The lunch box comes in seven colors and has a top handle and long, adjustable strap for carrying your meals on the go.
A helpful review: “The glass containers make this heavy, but this is one of the best lunch bags I’ve bought. Larger sized, definitely not for children. This is an adult bag. I’m very happy with the ease of cleaning and the durability. Leftovers never traveled so well.”
What’s included: 3 containers, ice pack, carrying bag | Container material: Glass | Dishwasher-safe? Yes | Microwave-safe? Yes, without the lids | Oven safe? Yes, without the lids
3. The Best Meal Prep Bento Box
Pros: stackable pieces make for efficient transport, additional storage for smaller items
Cons: no ice pack included, plastic may retain odors and stains over time
This meal prep bento box from Koccido comes with a three-tier, BPA-free, wheat-derived plastic bento box, a soup cup, a sauce container, reusable snack bags, and a set of utensils. Each container of the bento box can hold about 10 ounces, and they stack together to fit neatly inside the lunch box. The containers have adjustable and removable spacers that lets you separate food, while airtight and leakproof partitions and locking lids help keep contents fresh and contained.
The bento box can be placed in the microwave without the lid or partition, and while dishwashing instructions are not noted, several reviewers mentioned that they’ve successfully placed the containers and lids on the top rack without any warping — but you should avoid putting anything in the oven. In addition to the insulated compartment, which is lined in reflective foil for extra temperature retention, the tote also features a large outer pocket for stashing snacks and miscellaneous items.
A helpful review: “I love this bento set! Three compartments [perfect] for separating foods, and beautiful design. I love the reusable snack bags and microwaveable cup. Comes with all utensils and extra container for condiments. The bag is insulated and large enough to fit the bento boxes, drink and additional snacks- with a front pocket as well. Great purchase for the price, and has motivated me to pack more meals instead of buying out!”
What’s included: 3 bento containers, soup cup, sauce container, snack bags, utensil set, carrying bag | Container material: wheat-derived BPA-free plastic | Dishwasher-safe? Yes | Microwave-safe? Yes, without the lids | Oven safe? No
4. The Best All-In-One Lunch Box Set
Pros: has the most accessories of all the options on the list, plastic material is lightweight and durable, large ice packs included
Cons: large size may be overkill for some people, plastic may retain odors and stains over time
This lunch box kit from ThinkFit comes with all the bells and whistles needed to pack your meals — and supplements — for a full day on the go. The lunch box itself is double-insulated for superior temperature retention and comes with two ice packs, six BPA-free plastic containers (two that hold 1.5 cup, and four that hold 2.5 cups) with locking, leakproof lids, a shaker cup, and a pill dispenser. The tote’s large main compartment features a zipper closure, and there’s a small secondary zippered compartment as well as mesh pockets on the exterior for bonus storage of beverages and smaller items.
All six of the containers stack to fit in the lunch box, with or without the included ice packs, enabling you to store items cold or warm when on the go. The containers are dishwasher- and microwave-safe without the lids but not oven-safe.
A helpful review: “Most of the time I don't even use all of the provided containers. I personally love the portion sizes. This is an extremely durable material, and it's not big and bulky. The freezer packs are great and hold a freeze all day. If you are on the fence about this, you should definitely buy this. It is well worth the price.”
What’s included: 6 containers, shaker bottle, pill dispenser, carrying bag, 2 ice packs | Container material: BPA-free plastic | Dishwasher-safe? Yes | Microwave-safe? Yes, without the lids | Oven safe? No
5. The Best Meal Prep Lunch Box In Multiple Design Options
Pros: design doubles as a purse, plastic containers are durable and lightweight
Cons: snap closure is less secure and reduces insulation power, plastic containers may retain odors and stains over time
This insulated carrying bag from Fit & Fresh comes in several stylish patterns and is a great option for anyone who wants more options in the aesthetic department. The bag opens wide for easy loading and unloading, and while it has a simple snap closure, the bag’s material is triple-lined to keep contents cold or hot for hours.
Included with the bag are two stackable 1-cup, lidded BPA-free containers with volume measurement lines, an ice pack, and a drink tumbler that matches the exterior pattern of the bag. Though the containers are microwave- and dishwasher-safe, reviewers noted that the lids should not be used in the microwave and are best hand-washed to retain their shape and integrity. And since the containers are plastic, you’ll also want to avoid putting them in the oven.
Due to the somewhat small size of the containers, the bag provides plenty of additional space to stash other food containers, snacks, or everyday items if you decide to use it as a purse. Two large side pockets provide bonus storage for beverages and other items you want to access quickly, such as keys and a smartphone.
A helpful review: “I love the large size and the matching water bottle. I am surprised how well foods are able to stay cold (with an ice pack), considering it is a snap closure. Great price, especially considering that it comes with two storage containers and an ice pack. Would purchase again!”
What’s included: 2 containers, drink tumbler, ice pack, carrying bag | Container material: BPA-free plastic | Dishwasher-safe? Yes, without the lids | Microwave-safe? Yes, without the lids | Oven safe? No
About The Recommender
Vanessa Spilios has been writing about cookware and kitchen appliances for Bustle since 2019. She previously worked in culinary product development and marketing at SharkNinja and consulted for Cuisinart Grilling, and she has extensive experience testing and evaluating housewares. Vanessa has reviewed products and created content for publishers including Bustle, The Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, Forbes Vetted, and America’s Test Kitchen. She received her culinary training at Boston University, and enjoys developing original recipes, which she incorporates into private cooking classes for kids and families.