Do you wonder which safe food storage containers to use for your family?

Whether you are storing food for meal prep or storing leftovers for later, your home kitchen needs a solid set of food storage containers that are ideally non-toxic.

5 best safe food storage containers for refrigerator organization of meal prep and leftover foods. Tips include glass, metal food storage containers and ideas such as bulk freezer cooking to lunch boxes, space saving using stackable containers for small kitchens, plastic use safety tips, and more! #foodstorage #mealprep #mealprepideas

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What Chemicals Are Found in Most Food Storage Containers?

Most conventional food storage containers are made of plastic.  These food storage containers are popular because of their low cost and ease of use.  However, using them improperly may cause damage to your health.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

BPA is a chemical that has been used to harden plastics.  It is a known endocrine disruptor, and there are specific concerns regarding its ability to mimic the female estrogen hormone.  

BPA has been linked to obesity in children and adults, and also increased heart disease, breast cancer, reproductive disorders and more [1,2].

Early childhood exposure to BPA has been linked in a study to ADHD behaviors like inattention, hyperactivity, and depression for boys and girls [3].

The FDA has only officially banned BPA from baby products such as baby bottles, sippy cups, and infant formula packaging.

While these efforts to remove BPA may seem beneficial at first glance, studies have found that BPA-free chemical replacements may have even more estrogenic activity than BPA [4].  Therefore, BPA-free plastics are still NOT considered safe for food storage.   

Phthalates

Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break.

They are widely used in many consumer products, from plastics to cosmetics and personal care products.

Phthalates are considered an endocrine disruptor and exposure can cause cancer, and negatively affect the human reproductive system and brain development[5].

Plastic food storage containers made with phthalates can leach this unsafe chemical into your foods and drinks.  

Avoid storing oily foods or heating plastic containers as this increase the leaching of phthalates.

Given all the potentially toxic chemicals found in plastic, it is best to avoid plastic use in the kitchen.  This may be challenging though, as plastics use is so widespread.

Which Plastic is Best for Food Storage?

Safe food storage containers - safe plastic use guide

It’s hard to imagine a kitchen completely free of plastic, so here are some guidelines for safer plastic use:

  • Check the recycling code number on the plastic container – avoid types 3 and 6.  Types 1, 2, 4, and 5 are generally safe to use. Type 7 depends on the chemical used in the making of the plastic.  Polycarbonates readily leach BPA into food and drink. New corn-based polylactic acid (PLA) plastics are generally considered safe.  So look for Type 7 that are BPA free to stay on the safe side.
  • Don’t save and reuse commercial food packaging and drink bottles.  They are usually made with type 1 plastic designed for single-use, and repeated use may cause leaching.
  • Reusable plastic containers made from #4 and #5 plastic should be retired and recycled if they are scratched or worn.
  • Never microwave any food in any plastic container.
  • Don’t serve hot food in plastic containers.
  • Don’t wash plastic containers and lids in the dishwasher.  Always wash plastic containers by hand with lukewarm water and mild dish detergent.

Is Tupperware safe for food storage?

Tupperware is a popular brand of plastic food storage containers.  As such, many people have questioned whether Tupperware material contains BPA.

According to Tupperware, their items are officially BPA free as of March 2010.  Follow the same guidelines for general plastic use for safe food storage in Tupperware containers.

Are plastic bags safe for food storage?

Plastic food storage bags such as the plastic sandwich or snack bags are typically made from polyethylene, which is considered non-toxic.  

Avoid reusing or washing these bags though, as it can make them prone to leaching.  

One way to prevent leaching is to line the plastic bags with unbleached wax paper.  

4 Safe Food Storage Containers

Given all the concern surrounding unhealthy chemicals leaching from plastic food storage containers, here are some non-plastic containers to consider for safe food storage:

Are glass food storage containers safe?

Safe food storage containers - glass

The glass is overall the best food storage container for leftovers and meal prep.  They are highly versatile and non-toxic.  

Advantages:

  • Freezer-safe
  • Oven-safe
  • Microwave-safe
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Freezer to microwave
  • Keeps food fresh longer – glass containers are more airtight compared to plastic containers
  • Stain-resistant
  • Odor-resistant
  • Recyclable
  • BPA-free
  • Phthalates-free

Disadvantages:

  • Heavier than plastic
  • Breakable – not kid-friendly
  • Glass container lids may be plastic.  This is not an issue if you don’t let the food come in contact with the plastic lid.

Safety Concern:

  • One safety caution regarding glass storage containers is that some glass manufactured in China may have high levels of lead or cadmium.  Some of the best glass food storage containers are made of durable tempered glass in the United States or Europe.

Is it safe to store food in metal containers?

Safe food storage containers - stainless steel

Metals such as aluminum may pose a health risk when the acidic properties of foods such as tomatoes or lemons come in contact and react with the metal.  

Stainless steel is the most common metal used in the food services industry because it is non-reactive and a generally safe food storage container.  

Be sure to stick to food-grade stainless steel marked Type 304 or 18/8 and 18/10.

Advantages:

  • Freezer-safe
  • Oven-safe
  • Stovetop-safe
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Non-breakable
  • Lightweight compared to glass
  • BPA-free
  • Phthalates-free

Disadvantages:

  • Food-grade stainless steel is pricey – however, this should be a one-time, upfront investment as they don’t break and can last forever.
  • Can’t see through the container
  • Can’t go into the microwave

Safety Concerns:

  • There are no known chemical leaching or health concerns with food-grade stainless steel food storage containers.

Is ceramic a safe food storage container material?

Safe food storage containers - ceramics

Ceramic is a category of material made from clay that has been hardened by heat. It includes pottery, earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, fine china, and bone china.

Advantages:

  • Oven-safe
  • Microwave-safe
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Freezer-safe
  • BPA-free
  • Phthalates-free

Disadvantages:

  • Can’t see through the container
  • Breakable

Safety Concern:

  • The glaze used for ceramic dishes may contain lead or cadmium.  Look for brands that specify they are free of these toxic heavy metals.

Are silicone food storage containers safe?

Studies have generally shown silicone to be a safe material for food storage.  Be sure to check that the silicone in your food storage containers is food grade silicone.

Advantages:

  • Freezer-safe
  • No chemical leaching into food at low temperatures
  • Stain-resistant
  • BPA-free
  • Lead-free
  • Phthalates-free

Disadvantages:

  • May absorb food odors

Safety Concern:

  • Studies have indicated that silicone may not be safe for use at high temperatures.  It is best to keep silicone containers away from the oven, microwave, and dishwasher.

Best 5 Non-Toxic Food Storage Containers That Lasts Forever

Here are some of the best food storage containers that make meal prep and storing leftovers easy and safe:

1. Glasslock Assorted Oven Safe Container Set

This assorted glass container set is great because it comes with 9 different containers in different sizes for an amazing price! That means there is a container to meet all of your every day your needs.

It is also highly flexible so you can cook your meals right in the container in the oven, refrigerate or freeze your leftovers, and reheat them in the oven as well.   

These containers are also odor-free, stain-proof, and air+liquid resistant and come with airtight, leak-proof easy latching lids that are long-lasting.

2. Pyrex Simply Store Food Storage Containers

This stackable and nestable glass container set is made for space saving and easy storage.  The Pyrex glass is microwave, dishwasher, oven, and freezer safe.

The plastic lids are BPA-free, and top rack dishwasher, and microwave safe.  Lids are air tight to keep your food fresh longer, though it is not leak-proof.

This set comes with a 2-year limited warranty on the glass and lids.

3. Ball Mason Jars

Originally made for canning, mason jars of all sizes are highly versatile for all kinds of food storage. 

I use these jars all the time for storing make ahead green smoothies, detox waters, homemade bone broths, and overnight oats.

Get the wide mouth jars to make it easier to transfer food in and out of the jar.

These jars take up less horizontal space in your refrigerator and are perfect for storing your leftovers in the freezer.  Just make sure you save ½ inch space at the top of the jar for liquid expansion if you are storing liquids in the freezer.

4. Lifefactory Glass Food Storage Container with Protective Silicone Sleeve

The beautiful and functional design of this tempered glass container with silicone sleeve is oven, microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe. Do not bake or microwave the plastic lids.

This FDA approved safe food storage container is kid-friendly as the sleeve protects the glass from breaking.

All components are made in North America, BPA-free and phthalate-free.  

5. LunchBots Trio Stainless Steel Food Container

This high quality 18/8 stainless steel food container is the best cold lunch or snack tray for packing healthy food to on the go.

The compartments are convenient for packing sandwiches, snacks, and fruits in an all-in-one container.

They are virtually indestructible and easy to clean in the dishwasher.

Where to Buy Safe Food Storage Containers?

I have found that Amazon always has the best prices on safe food storage containers, especially glass containers.  The ones at the supermarkets and Target are way too expensive.  I highly recommend checking the prices on Amazon when you are at the stores before making a purchase.  You can also check out the Amazon Warehouse for even better deals.

Invest in you and your family’s health by eating real foods, practicing clean eating meal prep, and using non-toxic food storage container sets.

Sharing is caring!  What are your favorite safe food storage containers?  Comment below!

5 best safe food storage containers for refrigerator organization of meal prep and leftover foods. Tips include glass, metal food storage containers and ideas such as bulk freezer cooking to lunch boxes, space saving using stackable containers for small kitchens, plastic use safety tips, and more! #foodstorage #mealprep #mealprepideas