Trying to ditch single-use plastic bags? It’s tough. There’s something so irresistibly convenient about plastic zip bags for packing lunches or freezing leftovers, but it adds up — as landfill waste and also on your grocery bill. However, with the right food-grade reusable containers, you can stretch your budget by keeping foods fresh longer, not to mention you’ll have a better-organized kitchen! We’ve rounded up our favorites below, from clear canisters to get that Pinterest-worthy pantry look to top-rated containers that you can take from the freezer straight to the microwave and then right into the dishwasher. Yes, really. Take a look at our picks below and say goodbye to single-use plastic bags.
When shopping for food containers, the first thing to consider is the seal. Most dry foods in the pantry, such as pasta or rice, need an airtight seal. Most leftovers in the fridge do, too. However, other foods, such as produce in the fridge, need vents, moisture control and some even need to sit upright instead of on the side. I’m looking at you, asparagus. It’s also important to check the materials. Make sure you’re using food-safe silicone and BPA-free plastic. Glass is another great material for food storage as it’s typically dishwasher, microwave and even oven safe which comes in clutch when reheating casseroles and other leftovers, but always check the container first. Some food storage will say dishwasher safe but may only be safe in the top rack, and some oven-safe containers can only withstand heat up to a certain degree.
These freezer-safe storage containers are a gamechanger for saving bulk items and leftovers. We’ll get to why we love Stasher bags later in this article, but for the freezer, you have to try the half-gallon Stasher bag. It’s the easiest swap if you’re used to using plastic zip bags. These Souper Cubes from Shark Tank are a godsend for freezing individual portions as well as broths, stocks and herbs for cooking. For on-the-go bites, these PackIt bags are super nifty as they eliminate the need for ice packs. The washable bag has freezable gel built into the lining of the bag so it’s both the food storage and the bag. Genius.
There is nothing more disheartening than buying a bunch of produce on Monday only to find it wilted and gross by Wednesday. Some items — especially leafy greens — need extra help for moisture control. These Rubbermaid FreshWorks tubs are vented and keep greens crisp longer. For batch meal prep, Rubbermaid has several food container sets, including this collection with vented lids for reheating meals in the microwave. As for organizing prepped meals in the fridge, I’m a big fan of the Sistema containers. They stack easy, pack easy, and they’re dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe. There’s also something incredibly satisfying about that extra snap lock on the side.
If we’re talking lunchbox food containers, the only brand worth mentioning is Bentgo. These leak-proof, nearly indestructible bento-style trays have become quite popular for packing kids’ lunches, but adults are catching on, too. And Bentgo has added more modern styles for adults such as this glass salad container with a tray for dressing and toppings. Like a good drawer insert, Bentgo creates a dedicated space for every part of the meal, meaning the Bentgo itself becomes the lunchbox. No more cramming bags on bags into a lunchbox. Plus, these babies are dishwasher safe, too.
A pantry of clear canisters a la The Home Edit isn’t just for the aesthetic. It’s practical, too. Brands such as OXO have an airtight lock that keeps dry goods fresh longer. And that’s also important for deterring pests in the kitchen or spills should something fall over. These containers are also perfect for baking ingredients, too. We love the brown sugar attachment for keeping it soft and clump-free. However, not all pantry staples need an airtight lock. Produce such as potatoes and onions need room to breathe. This Snips Potato Keeper is perfect as it’s best to have opaque storage because potatoes don’t like the light.
Did you know that different types of fruit, veggies and herbs like different levels of humidity? Yep. That produce drawer in your fridge is not a catch-all. And giving leafy greens too much moisture can make them go soggy real fast. These OXO Green Saver containers actually have two options for high humidity and low humidity and come in several sizes. We love the tall, vertical one for herbs and asparagus.
How do we love Stasher bags? Let us count the ways. Number one: travel. These bags, especially the sandwich and smaller snack sizes, are perfect for road trips, long flights, camping coolers, beach picnics and so much more. The new Go Bag comes with a clip for easily attaching snacks to strollers and diaper bags. If you’re new to the Stasher craze, check out our full review here, but the quick synopsis is that these bags are freezer, dishwasher and microwave safe. They’re incredibly durable, come in tons of colors and have earned our editors’ seal of approval.