Life should be about taking the time to do things right. But sometimes, after putting together an exquisite meal, we shovel the leftovers into whatever container is handy. But is it microwavable? Can it go in the dishwasher? Is it toxic? Is it even mine? Settle these questions once and for all by learning how to choose the best food containers.
Unless you have the good fortune to be putting a deluxe set of containers on your wedding registry (Congratulations!), you’ll first have to survey the mess of different lids, colors, shapes, and sizes in your container cabinet. Maybe you avoid it at all costs: just reach in, grab something, and hope for the best. But if you can sort out what works and what doesn’t, organizing your food containers can be ridiculously satisfying.
If you love pretty bowls that you can cook, serve, and store with, look for a good set of oven-safe glass containers. You can use them in the microwave, dishwasher, and even freezer, and most brands have a variety of sizes that you can even use in food prep.
But if you need containers that are inexpensive, non-breakable, lightweight, and won’t make you cry if they go missing, there’s nothing wrong with plastic containers. Just make sure they’re composed of non-toxic polypropylene so that they won’t leach chemicals into your food when you microwave them. There should be a “BPA-Free” stamp on the bottom.
The Kid Question
If you have children who will be using these, you’ve got a host of factors to consider. You’ll need lids that are easy for little fingers to remove but won’t leak in an active kid’s lunch bag. You might want a set with color-coded lids that you can use for each child or different kinds of food.
Storing the Storage
For some people, this might be the top priority. There’s just something about having 10 containers and 10 lids and none of them going together. Shop for a set with lids that can stack or snap into the bottom of the container. Or commit to the same general shape like a square so that they’ll fit inside each other and take up less room. If you’re lucky, you may find the holy grail—storage with interchangeable lids.
Outside the Box
If you have unique needs, don’t be afraid to invest in storage that provides solutions—even if it’s not part of your overall system. For instance, you might prefer:
- Airtight canisters that you can keep on your counters.
- Flexible silicon bags that fold flat when you’re not using them.
- Bento boxes or containers with dividers.
- Colorful novelty containers that help convince your kid to eat vegetables.
Learning how to choose the best food containers for you isn’t about being perfect. It’s about making your life easier and taking back a little control—even if it’s just in the cabinet.