I wouldn’t call myself a meal-prep skeptic, per se. I love the idea of owning a fleet of different-size containers, each perfectly suited to toting around a specific kind of dish. I also love the idea of being someone who, when 1 pm rolls around, can triumphantly whip out a premade gallimaufry of organic yams, rice, and vegetables that under normal dining circumstances, would never be served together in a large bowl—but when thrown together for meal-prep lunch purposes taste divine and make the meal-prepper look like Ina Garten’s protegée. “Oh this?” says the yam-wielding gourmand. “I just threw it together this morning—I don’t follow a recipe.” Such ingenuity! Such foresight! Such culinary savvy!
But this is not who I am. I’m the person standing in line at Pret a Manger four weekdays out of five, ordering the same sad little soup whose price tag taunts me and whose plastic top haunts me.
In an effort to be more sustainable, I’ve taken to bringing food to work every now and then, but somehow the habit doesn’t stick. My main problem with meal-prepping is twofold: One, I suffer from food fatigue and find the idea of bringing leftovers from last night’s dinner unappealing. And two, I have a tiny kitchen and no cabinet space for bulky meal-prep containers. Currently, when I bring food to work, I use leftover takeaway containers. Given that these plastic bins are cheaply made, they start to leak in my bag.
Enter: Stashers. At the risk of being dramatic, I feel fairly confident in saying that these little $20 bags are going to completely change the meal-prep game. These nontoxic silicone bags were created as alternatives to plastic storage containers. However, the comparison with Tupperware ends there: Stasher bags are a sort of kitchen wunderkind and can literally do everything short of actually preparing your meal for you. Stashers are freezer- and fridge-safe, microwave-safe, sous-vide-safe, and oven-safe. For workday lunches, they seal tight to avoid leaking and can live safely in the refrigerator until you’re ready to pop them in the microwave for mealtime.
One of my favorite aspects of these bags is how low maintenance they are. Cleaning is easy (I put them in my dishwasher’s top shelf—though since my dishwasher’s heated dry isn’t the best, I do have to let them air dry for a bit afterward), and they take up as much valuable cabinet space as a notebook would. I currently have the half-gallon size and the sandwich size, though I’ve found that the sandwich size (which is only $12) has plenty of room to hold my lunches. If you’re a salad person, get the half-gallon.
And as for the cooking fatigue? I’m working on it. I’ve taken to cooking more on weekends specifically for weekday lunches. Since these bags can go in the freezer, there’s no risk of leftovers going bad in the fridge, and I don’t feel I need to eat something I’m not craving purely because it’s about to expire. In the spirit of transparency, I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to keep up this meal-freezing business—and whether or not I’m only doing it because I’d feel guilty if I didn’t use the Stashers staring at me from inside my cupboard—but for now, I remain cautiously optimistic. Today I’m bringing spanakopita to work. I’d like to think Ina would be proud.
See our favorite make-ahead recipes:
Easy Lunch Recipes for a Healthy Start to the Week
Big-Batch Dinner Ideas That Can Double as Meal Prep for the Week
12 Healthy Salad Recipes on a Mission to Eradicate the “Sad Desk Lunch”