If you’re a busy person who travels a lot for work or pleasure, a lunch box might not be the best choice.
While it may help carry food and some simple meals with you wherever you go, you may need a more intensive meal prep bag.
Thankfully, the strongest meal prep bag includes various elements that make them more than worth your consideration.
This article will define what we mean by a meal prep bag, highlight essential features you may want in the best meal prep bags, and review several of the best meal prep bags on the market.
Then, we’ll give you all the other important information that you may want. For example, we’ll talk about how the best meal prep bags use ice pack designs that help improve your overall food quality.
Beyond ice packs, we’ll also talk about shoulder strap designs, overall material quality, meal bag volume, various ingredient containers, and whether you need multiple ice packs.
We’ll also define what a shaker cup does for your meal prep bag, whether you need shaker cups or bottles, and much more.
By the time you’re done, you should feel comfortable picking the best meal prep bags for your needs and will likely be ready to make an intelligent purchase.
Table of Contents
What is a Meal Prep Bag?
A meal prep bag is an advanced bag that goes beyond simply storing your items and helping you keep cool food.
The best meal prep bags include multiple pockets, food containers, ice pack integration, shaker cup options, a shoulder strap, and an overall larger size to help make food preparation easier.
Your meal prep bag will keep food fresh and food cold, but this meal bag also helps prepare your food when you get to where you’re going.
For example, you may include cold meats, bread, and even toppings within your bag’s pockets and food containers.
You can then take these items out of the bag and prepare them when needed instead of preparing them before leaving.
The best meal prep bags also contain various amenities, like interior mesh pockets and exterior pockets, making storing your food more accessible and more approachable.
Some might even include a drawer where you can insert an ice pack or places where you can place multiple ice packs in your meal bag.
How These Bags Help With Meal Creation
This lunch bag option helps improve meal prep by letting you create your meals where you want without having to let the ingredients sit together too long.
For example, mayonnaise sitting on bread for hours may cause a soggy or unappealing sandwich that may get thrown out otherwise.
By contrast, the best meal prep bags let you keep these ingredients separate and fresh. You can you hot and cold foods together into a simple meal.
However, you can also use these bags as more than a sandwich-making bag or one that you can use if you’re a big fan of making sandwiches.
Unique Features in These Bags
There’s also room in the food containers for yogurts, nut butter, various types of drinks in a shaker cup, and even specialized and separate meal prep containers.
That said, you can also pack your meal prep bags with multiple ice packs and use this meal bag as a storage option for drinks and much more.
For instance, you may keep food fresh and food cold but also pack multiple cans of soda when hitting the beach.
But What Do They Do?
Packing the best meal prep bags in this way expands their use beyond meal prep and creates a simple bag that works for you.
Now that you understand these bags a bit better, it is crucial to explain why you’d want to do meal prep before going to work or on a trip.
After all, can’t you just save yourself the trouble of packing ice packs and food containers and just buy food wherever you’re going?
Absolutely, but prep bags like these provide benefits beyond minimizing ice-pack use, including the things we’ll highlight in the following sections.
Why Prep Your Meals Before Going to Work
The best meal prep bags let you prepare food before going to work or when you’re at work, creating a streamlined dining experience.
When choosing among the best meal prep bags on the market, it is essential to know why prepping your food before eating is such a wise choice.
The best meal prep bag options will provide you with the benefits that we’ve outlined below to make this process easier to understand.
Minimize Potentially Wasted Time
Are you tired of spending time trying to find out what you want to cook at work? Do you feel uninspired by the cafeteria choices at your school?
Then, you might want a meal prep bag. The best meal prep bag saves you time by placing your available meals right where you need them the most.
They also help to improve your meal prep by using separate food containers, including areas where you can place an ice pack.
A food bag option will save you time while keeping your food cool in a way that brown paper lunch bag types simply will not do.
How do meal prep bags save you money? Just think about the average costs of your meals at work and what you might unexpectedly spend.
If you’re spending $10-15 per day on lunch or even dinner at work, you’re going to pay between $200 to $300 every month. If you meal prep before work and bring a bag, you can save a lot of cash.
For example, let’s say you pack the best meal prep bags with ingredients for a sandwich, a shaker cup of water, and an apple.
Water costs nothing, sandwich materials may cost no more than $20 per week, and apples may cost around $5 per bag. That’s about $100 per month instead of $300.
Improve Your Health
Meal prep bags can improve your health by giving you access to much healthier food. Pack your lunch bag with ice packs and healthy foods, and focus on filling your shaker cup with water.
You can then use the highest-quality meal prep methods for health, including serving foods raw to minimize unnecessary risks.
However, your lunch bag will do more than ensure you bring healthy foods. The best meal prep bag also helps you manage your portion sizes.
So rather than eating the far-too-big portions you get from restaurants, you can pick just as much as you need and keep your health strong.
People don’t always realize how much stress food may cause in their life. For example, you may be stressed trying to prepare your food every day or brainstorming various dining options.
Unfortunately, this stress might not be something you even realize or feels like something you can easily ignore.
Thankfully, these meal prep containers can help by ensuring that you keep food fresh and food cold and minimize your stress at the same time.
So instead of worrying about what you’ll eat each day or traveling to a restaurant, you’ll know what you have and won’t feel as stressed about eating.
You Might Help Others
How would the healthier meal prep inspire other people around you? First, you might show them better ways of eating.
For example, they may look at the food in their prep bags and feel inspired to change their diet. They may bring a lunch bag with healthy foods and minimize their health problems.
Beyond that, you can even set up fun preparation times between your co-workers. By this, we mean you can get together on Sunday and fill up your meal prep containers before work.
Such simple steps can help you keep food fresh and food cold and bring you closer to your workers and others within your office.
Cut Bad Eating Habits
People sometimes fall into bad eating habits that may cause lingering health issues. For example, you might find yourself continually eating the same unhealthy foods every time you go to a work cafeteria.
Thankfully, lunch prep bags can help by breaking that habit and introducing you to a broader range of food types.
You can create a healthier and more diverse diet and minimize the risk of falling into unhealthy eating patterns that may worsen your overall health.
The Top 7 Meal Prep Bags for Your Needs
If you’re looking for meal prep bags that meet your needs, the following options should work the best for your needs. We example each of these lunch bag options and go into detail on their various features, benefits, negatives, and much more. We also include a link where you can go to buy one.
Improve Your Decision Making Comfort
In this way, you should feel comfortable making a purchase and know what kind of accessories you may need to buy. For instance, you may buy ice packs or an ice pack holder and integrate these items into your unique meal prep bag.
Get Ready to Learn More
After this section, we’ll highlight some more critical information about meal prep bags that you can use when buying them. By understanding this comprehensive information, you should find it easier to purchase a bag that makes the most sense for your needs as a buyer.
This ThinkFit lunch container is a good option for a variety of different people. This insulated prep bag comes with a small shaker cup that should meet most people’s needs. We also loved the simple vitamin box, the unique logo on each side, the mesh pocket designs, and the overall dishwasher safe feel. In addition, we found many people loved this model’s overall style when reading reviews.
Features and Amenities
It was a great overall pick for both children and adults, though the smaller cup is probably better for kids. The BPA-free containers should keep hold and cold foods strong within this insulated lunch bag. The high-volume food storage can help with a healthy lifestyle by ensuring you get healthy meals in storage containers and that you can keep food cool for long times.
This meal prep bag makes hauling easier as it comes with a simple shoulder strap. This strap can adjust quickly to provide you with a comfortable feel for your needs. Even better, these lunch boxes also work with many container lids. Container lids for lunch boxes help with meal prepping by storing your food safely and keeping food cool and drinks cold for up to ten hours. Snap lid containers also help with meal prepping by replacing older and less efficient container lids.
- It can stay cool for up to ten hours
- Uses dishwasher friendly material
- Feels comfortable and easy to use
- The shaker bottle is pretty small
- The shaker bottle and containers may leak
This option is an excellent choice if you want a reasonably simple lunch bag that doesn’t cost money. While this meal prep bag doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, it may be helpful if you want to use ice bags for your meal prep containers. It may also be useful because it helps quickly store shaker cup designs, including BPA-free insulation, and has multiple containers you can utilize.
Features and Amenities
When examining meal prep bag reviews, we found that users loved the special mesh pocket on the side, as this mesh pocket helped hold snacks and other items. They also liked the simple shaker cup that came with the bag, the two-cup food containers, and the two one-cup containers that hold a large amount of food. In addition, they typically include an ice pack storage center and even vitamin storage.
This item is dishwasher safe and includes leak-proof containers that make it the perfect meal prep bag for hold and cold food. That said, there’s something that we have to highlight about this meal prep bag: its lack of a shoulder strap. Some people may find this is a real problem and may decide that this dishwasher-safe large meal prep bag is not suitable for their needs.
- An exquisite and streamlined design
- Leak-proof containers
- High-quality insulation
- It lacks a shoulder strap
- The containers may seem a bit small
When buying an insulated meal prep bag, you should make sure that you choose an insulated lunch bag that maximizes food storage, keeps food cool, provides many storage containers, includes a shaker bottle or shaker cups, lets you store your storage containers, and provides room for water bottles. This bag is one that should easily handle all of these unique needs.
Features and Amenities
First, it comes with many amenities that beat most meal prep bags and make this much more than a basic lunch bag. You can add water bottles, insert various ice containers, adjust the padded shoulder pad, fill the mesh pockets, and maximize food storage by carefully balancing your storage containers. You can then remove these items to leave just the bag for cleaning and other steps.
In this way, your cooler lunch box should help you store things like a shaker bottle or shaker cups and is the right meal prep bag for you if you want to keep food cool in a leak-proof environment. These BPA-free containers should keep cold foods separate without causing any significant heat loss.
- The storage containers are substantial.
- The padded shoulder strap should be pretty comfortable
- The three food containers hold many food items
- Some people might find it hard to store their storage containers
- The price might seem a bit high to some people
This fun meal prep lunch box should provide you with the meal container you need for many situations. You can easily fit a large amount of food into this pack, as it is backpack-sized with a leak-proof design. In addition, this bag boasts the ability to store laptops and many other items without running into a lot of space issues with its overall design.
Features and Amenities
It comes with three large gel packs that help keep your food cool and frosty for many hours. They are particularly useful for people who plan on going on long hikes and can keep your food in great shape for many years. You can even bring things like a laptop, wallet, snacks, and other small items within this bag to ensure that you get where you need to go with minimal issues.
We could see people taking this bag with them when camping and using the multiple prep options to keep their food tasty and healthy. Beyond that, we could see people taking it to work and preparing meals right at work for numerous people. Its vast size makes it suitable for this need and a useful item if you have a large office that enjoys your food and meals.
- You’ll have plenty of space
- The gel packs keep food cold
- Bring along anything else you want to take
- The size may be a bit intimidating
- Not great for general use situations
Like many meal prep lunch box designs, this option is pretty significant. However, it is probably the biggest option on our list. It can hold up to 12 different tasty meals and snacks and keep your food cool or cold for many hours. There are multiple container sizes, meaning that it should be reasonably easy to find an option that makes the most sense for you.
Features and Amenities
In this way, we could see this being an excellent option for people preparing food at parties, going hiking, or handling food preparation at an office. It might also go well for those who plan to travel for many days and want to streamline their food storage. The leak-proof design should remain pretty strong, and this bag boasts a comfortable and attractive top handle.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a strap (even a detachable shoulder strap) which may be frustrating for many. People planning on going hiking may find it impossible to carry this bag for a long time without getting worn down or frustrated. While that problem isn’t what we’d call a significant deal-breaker, it is something that must be considered because it might turn off many people from buying one.
- Keeps your food in great shape for 12 hours
- It comes in a surprising range of styles
- The side pockets are rather attractive
- The lack of a strap kills this one in many ways
- Some people may find it way too bulky for general use
Last but not least on our list is this unique container that includes a very simple design. It is designed primarily as a lunch carrier, though it can be used to prepare food. The simple strap and handle on the top help keep your hands free while carrying this item and minimize strain. In this way, it may work well as an everyday option for many different people.
Features and Amenities
The overall design of this bag is very durable and sturdy, and it includes multiple compartments with zippered pockets that should keep your food and ingredients separate. It should be pretty simple to pack and store food in these insulated chambers, especially because they are reasonably broad and easy to understand. Make sure that you take the time to handle this preparation to get the best results properly.
One upsetting thing is that this box doesn’t include individual containers, meaning you’ll have to buy them separately and add them if you like. In addition, while some people may simply wrap their meal ingredients, cutlery, and other items in plastic wrap, others may find this choice does not work for their needs. So, make sure that you understand these factors before making a purchase.
- It should work for cold and hot foods
- PEVA lining insulation remains very strong
- The overall size is very nice
- It lacks separate storage containers
- The overall quality may seem a bit cheap
Are you trying to keep cold foods separate or drinks cool by using reusable ice packs within your meal containers? Do you want a healthy meal and a great lunch bag with a container large enough to stay fresh for hours? Are you hoping that a leak-proof design pairs well with strong insulation and a microwave-safe design? Then, you might want to consider this bag for your needs.
Features and Amenities
This food container includes several containers, a leak-proof design, two reusable ice packs, a microwave-safe design, and a cooler lunch box design with a BPA-free overall feel. You can store a large amount of delicious food within these meal containers, as this bag boasts food-grade material. As a result, your healthy meal should stay safe within this excellent lunch bag for ten or more hours.
It comes with ten sets of reusable napkins and other cutlery items that you can use when you go hiking, camping, or when you’re eating at home or in the office. These benefits are enormous and make this one of the most fun BPA-free lunch container options on the market today.
- It uses a very high-quality polyester design
- Includes ten meal container sets
- The space options are versatile
- The size may seem a bit too overwhelming for some
- The drink compartment could be a bit bigger
Elements to Consider in Meal Prep Bags
As you can see, there are many things to consider when buying meal prep bags. But do you still feel uncertain about which meal prep bag is right for you? You’re not alone. The best meal prep bag will vary depending on your needs.
For example, some people may want a lunch bag with an ice pack and multiple food containers. Others may want prep bags that keep food fresh and food cold.
Others may focus more on the meal prep bag volume and the insulation type within each box. This situation is understandable and will require a little work to handle appropriately.
Thankfully, we can break down all of the elements you’ll need to consider for your meal prep bag before buying one.
Then, when you’re done reading, you should feel comfortable buying a meal prep lunch bag that works the best for your hot and cold food.
Meal prep bags come at a variety of different prices. It might be hard to decide which of these prices is suitable for your needs in some situations.
For example, do you want to spend $50 or more to keep food fresh or food cold? Are you going to buy multiple ice packs or ice pack holders that will add to the price?
How about a shaker cup or shoulder strap? These factors all matter when purchasing. However, a high price doesn’t always indicate high quality.
That’s something many may learn the hard way when buying an overpriced meal prep lunch bag. So how do you know what price is the best for prep bags?
That all depends on the factors below. We’ll outline these different elements to help make your purchase smoother and minimize the risk of spending too much money.
You likely want the highest-quality insulation for your meal prep bags. Who could blame you? A good meal prep bag may be out of a cooling environment for a few hours.
By finding meal prep bags with ThinkFit insulation, you may improve your chances of finding a bag that keeps your food cold for hours.
A ThinkFit insulated lunch box typically includes the highest-quality insulation, and, thankfully, many ThinkFit insulated lunch box models are on the market.
Beyond this factor, you also need to balance your insulation thickness and avoid any that takes up too much room in your meal prep bags.
While a meal prep bag with the thickest insulation will stay cooler longer, it may not be the best lunch bag option if you want to hold a high volume of food.
Instead, you might want a meal prep lunch bag with medium-thick insulation that will still hold a surprisingly large amount of food for your needs.
Meal prep bags come in many different material types. These typically include things like canvas and some cloth options. Which of these is the best choice for you?
That does depend on your taste. Some people like canvas because they’re a little more durable and can fold flat easily. However, others may find cloth a better choice for their pocketbook.
We usually suggest going for higher-quality material, which may add years of life to your meal prep lunch bag.
Research the different materials listed with each meal prep lunch bag we discussed her and find those that make the most sense for you.
Also, examine how well they work with an ice pack and multiple ice packs, including whether the packs cause damage to the material. In most cases, an ice pack is very safe to use.
Style and Fashion
Do you want an attractive meal prep bag that fits your personal style needs? Then, you might want to consider a lunch bag that features appealing looks and styles.
These meal prep containers keep food fresh and food cold and look great at the same time.
There’s no reason why you should buy an unattractive meal prep bag when you can buy one that looks and feels great.
In this way, the meal prep lunch bag that your purchase may vary based on your needs. For example, do you want a lunch bag that looks and feels attractive?
Or do you want a meal prep bag that simply works for your needs and isn’t exactly a fashionable option but does feel comfortable to use?
Meal prep bags can be a fashion accessory when chosen properly. Some people may even own multiple meal prep bags so that they can change up their wardrobe to match the bag every day.
Handle and Shoulder Strap Designs
A good shoulder strap is an essential accessory for meal prep bags. They help to make your bags easier to carry and minimize any potential difficulties.
These handles and straps may provide you with a lunch bag that fits easily into your life without requiring a lot of careful adjustments.
In addition, these prep bags keep food cold and fresh and provide a lunch bag that you can haul from place to place without getting your hands cold or wet.
However, some meal prep bags may even include high-quality handles on top of the box. A meal prep bag with handles is an excellent option because you can carry it as an everyday lunch bag.
You can also use the handles to hold your food upright and in the proper position and ensure that your shaker cup doesn’t spill on your food. You can also adjust the handle and shoulder strap to fit your needs.
Other Elements to Consider
Before buying any of these meal prep bag options, you need to know how several other lunch bag features.
These simple things may include whether your bag has a padded shoulder strap or a standard shoulder strap that doesn’t adjust.
It may also involve knowing multiple other elements about your prep bags. Just a few final things that you need to consider to include in your meal prep bag:
- Size: A large meal prep bag may be helpful if you want to store a large amount of food. However, big meal prep bags may also feel uncomfortable for some people. Make sure you know how many meal prep containers you plan on using and where you’re placing your meal prep bag. In this way, you should find it easier to store your bag and any ice packs that you may want to use.
- Material Safety: Try to identify an insulated meal prep bag with plastic containers or a reusable ice pack that utilizes safe materials. For example, your meal prep containers, shoulder strap, shaker cup, or reusable ice pack may use BPA-free materials that keep your food safer. You may also note other material headings, such as when an insulated meal prep bag receives EPA endorsements.
- Cleaning Ability: Will your meal prep bag be easy to clean, or will your lunch bag cause frustration? How can you easily remove the meal prep containers or other plastic containers from your lunch box? A dishwasher-safe design is excellent because it can improve your cleaning speeds.
If you’re uncertain about these elements, you may want to read meal prep bag reviews to learn more about what to expect.
They can highlight things about your lunch box that you might not understand, such as whether a compact meal prep bag fits easily into your home.
They can also discuss how the plastic containers fit inside of the insulated meal prep bag, what kind of shoulder strap and shaker cup it includes, and much more.
Finding the Best Option for You
By now, you should know which meal prep bags appeal to you the most. However, you may have narrowed your options down to a single meal prep bag or still feel uncomfortable pulling the trigger.
Confusion is Not a Bad Thing
You aren’t alone: this purchase is something you should take seriously, as the wrong meal prep lunch bag may cost you too much money or even hurt you if the shoulder strap isn’t good enough.
Typically, we suggest ThinkFit insulated lunch box models whenever possible, though many other prep bags may work for you.
Try to narrow down your meal prep bag options based on your budget and usage type, including how often you’re likely to use them every day.
A Wise Choice May Last a Lifetime
You can then choose a meal prep lunch bag that fits comfortably in your car, home, and office. With proper maintenance, such meal bags can last a lifetime, so buy wisely.
Hey, I’m Joey. I’ve been cooking since I was a little kid and love everything about it. You can find my writing about food, kitchen appliances (such as blenders) and much more. Thanks for stopping by!