With the general public becoming ever more health conscious, fast food outlets and even office canteens have had to alter their menus to accommodate this new appetite for quick yet wholesome food. Where once we may have been content with a greasy burger and fries, we are now preferring lower fat, higher nutrition meals such as salads and pastas. But even with these important strides forward, there is still no substitute for a good home-cooked meal. Not only do they offer unrivalled cost benefits, they are also able to be catered to your individual dietary needs, something of supreme importance for anyone serious about getting in shape.
Comparison: Best Meal Management Bags
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Why do I need a Meal Prep Bag?
With our lives becoming ever more cluttered with a plethora of everyday essentials and must-have gadgets, it can often be difficult to keep our lovingly prepared culinary creations close to hand, never mind in an appetizing state. This is where a meal prep bag can be invaluable. To the uninitiated, these bags might appear expensivenonessentials but for many, they provide a hugely important service in their battle towards better fitness, helping to ensurethat their health routine does not end when they leave the gym but rather continues throughout their entire day. But given the huge number of styles and brands already on the market, it can be difficult to know which meal prep bag is right for you. This is where this handy guide hopes to help.
What Types and Styles Of Meal Management Bags Are Available?
As is fairly obvious, the backpack design comes with two shoulder straps; perfect for anyone who finds themselves on their feet all day. In addition to the food storing capabilities, this type of meal prep bag is often capable of holding many extra items, from laptops to school books, essentially meaning that it can be adopted for everyday use, whether this be a visit to the gym or an afternoon of study classes.
The Single Strap Food Prep Bag
With only one strap, this design of meal prep bags is not quite as comfortable as the backpack design and thusly, is perhaps not ideal for those who endure the more challenging of commutes. What the single strap bag lacks in comfort however, it more than makes up for in storage space and it is, generally speaking, one of the more spacious types of bags on the market. Despite efforts from manufacturers, this style is not generally considered to be the most aesthetically pleasing and are often labelled clunky and cumbersome.
The Lunch Box
This particular design is simpler, often with only a small handle. It is not designed to be utilized by itself but remains more compact so as to be fitted inside most gym-bags. None of this impacts on its food storing capacity however and the lunch box represents some of the best meal prep bags available. For anyone who already has a sizeable and reliable gym-bag, this design is ideal.
Who Are The Big Meal Prep Bag Brands On The Market?
$$$ – 6 Pack, Core 150
Sitting atop the best meal prep bags are some of the health industry’s most recognizable and most trusted names. These manufacturers – the aforementioned 6 Pack and Core 150 – have a range of products that have proven to be consistently at the head of their field, excelling in storage space, comfort, appearance and of course the all-important ability to keep your food cool. The downside however, is that these come bags can retail for as much as $100 and above, prices that may deter all but the most avid of customers. Nevertheless, whilst these brands demand a much greater initial cost, for the most serious gym-goer, it also earns you quality and even with daily use, both the Core 150 and 6 Pack meal prep bags may well bethe last you need buy for quite some time.
$$ – Isolator,Fitmark
The mid-range options of the Isolator and Fitmark bags offer no shortage of quality but perhaps do not afford the same array of additional functions that their more expensive competitors do. While the Fitmark has been an industry favourite for quite some time and has earned consistently good reviews from users, the Isolator cannot be overlooked and generally stands up well to independent tests. While these bags are not exactly inconsequential purchases, it is possible, with a little shopping around, to find yourself a bargain.
$ – Jaxx Fitpak, Fuel Pack
For anyone who is somewhat unsure about whether or not a meal prep bag is for them, or simply someone trying to stay fit on a budget, there are a number of options out there that offer great food storing potential without breaking the bank. Essentially, these perform exactly the same functions as the more expensive meal prep bags but sometimes without employing the same quality of materials to do so. Whilst a vast majority of these bags perform their jobs admirably, reports of production failings or premature wear and tear are more common, particularly with defects with the Ice Packs or the containers. Nevertheless, these reports are very much in the minority and should not deter anyone who is in the market for their first meal prep bag.
How Do I Choose A Meal Prep Bag?
Aside for the price however, there are a number of other aspects of meal prep bags that must be considered before finalizing your decision. How often will you be using the bag? How many meals do plan to store inside it? How much do you value comfort? Do you need your bag to be able to accommodate more than simply food? Whilst everyone will have their own reasons for buying a meal prep bag, there are a number of considerations that everyone should first ask themselves before parting with their cash.
Depending on how big your appetite, how often you plan to use your meal prep bag and how many meals you plan to store in it, not every meal prep bag will be suitable for your needs. Some brands such as 6 Pack will offer variations of the same bag that can house between three and five meals while other meal prep bags offer containers that can be adjusted to better suit your needs. Whatever size your appetite however, there is sure to be a meal prep bag for you out there.
As mentioned previously, the style of the bag plays a huge part in how comfortable or uncomfortable a meal prep bag is. While some people, those who may drive to work or the gym, may be content with a single-strap bag or a lunch box, for anyone who will spend large amounts of time walking around with their meal prep bag on, it might be worth shelling out for the more expensive but infinitely more comfortable backpack option.
Whilst the aesthetics of a meal prep bag might not be the biggest concern for every gym-goer, most modern meal prep bags come in a range of color combinations and styles. The 6 Pack bags and the Isolator have earned particular plaudits for their efforts on this front and can be personalized to really make your bag stand out from the crowd.
In addition to storage space, the quality of the product is of course of foremost concern. With every new meal prep bag that hits the market, competition increases, manufacturers employing only the best materials; namely polyester and ballistic nylon in an attempt to stay ahead of the curve. Some of the cheaper brands have noted problems with the Ice Packs and more commonly, the stitching which has been known the come undone in the more economical Jaxx and Fuel Packs. Here, unfortunately, the old adage of “you get what you pay for” rings true.
It is an unfortunate fact that however much a manufacturer seeks to ensure that their product is free from faults, it is inevitable that the occasional less-than-perfect item will find its way to the market and in this instance, it is reassuring to know which brands offer good customer service. In this regard, 6 Pack have once again proven themselves the industry leaders and have consistently met customer concerns in a prompt and thorough manner.
Our Top Rated Meal Prep Bag Reviews
6 Pack Fitness Innovator
Like the aforementioned 6 Pack Expedition Backpack, the 6 Pack Fitness Innovator comes in two sizes, the 300 and the 500, each, again, able to hold either three or five meals while for a limited time, a further mini model is available which can also hold three meals. Regardless of whatever variation of the Innovator you choose however, all models come with a great number of side pockets and compartments while the containers are BPA/PVC free, microwaveable, leak proof, and dishwasher safe.
As you would expect from a trusted name such as 6 pack, the Innovator is extremely spacious and can contain virtually anything you may require. The containers are extremely secure but are easy to open when hunger does strike. The bag is also adept at keeping meals chilled for up to and over an eight hour period, something which cannot be said about all bags that make this claim. It is also reassuring to know that the shoulder and hand strap are both ergonomic meaning that even after a long day carrying your meal prep bag around, the 6 Pack will still remain comfortable.
Like the backpack version of the 6 Pack, the Innovator’s Ice pack has a tendency to rip which can prove disastrous although frankly, such instances are rare.
When making a purchase of $100 plus, it is of course important to weigh up all your options. Nevertheless, for those who are willing to take the financial hit that the 6 Pack Innovator demands, you will be sure to be rewarded with a bag that is not only expertly made and liable to last a lifetime but one also that boasts an array of compartments whilst also performing its most basic functions extremely well. A great, if not inexpensive choice.
6 Pack Fitness Expedition Backpack Meal Management System
As with other releases by 6 Pack, the Expedition Backpack comes in two versions, the 300 and the 500 models, each capable of storing three or five meals respectively. If this is not enough, the backpack comes equipped with an abundance of side pockets and other compartments and is versatile enough to carry virtually any other items you might require throughout the day.
The benefits of the 6 Pack Backpack are almost too numerous to mention but in addition to the huge amount of storage space it affords, some of the most notable areas that are praised by users, are its specialized containers that can be adapted to suit the needs of any gym-goer as well as the all-important laptop carrying facility that can house systems of up to 15 inches. Couple this with the sleek appearance of the 6 Pack Backpack and there is no doubt that you are onto a winner.
While the 6 Pack Backpack has received nearly exclusively positive reviews, one troubling complaint that can be seen arising is the Ice Pack’s tendency to rip, which can spell disaster for whatever technology you have stored inside. This misfortune however, is comparatively rare and should not unduly concern perspective buyers.
For a bag with this price tag, you would expect a backpack that is undeniably excellent and that is exactly what you get. It has more applications than anyone could reasonably require and with the ability to store books, laptops and other gadgets in addition to its already impressive food-storing capabilities, the 6 Pack Expedition Backpack is arguably one of the best meal prep bag on the market.
With six containers in total (two 1 Cup containers and four 2 cup containers), the Jaxx FitPak does offer a greater amount of variety when it comes to meal preparation and given its sizeable 12” long x 7” deep” x 9” tall measurements, there is plenty of room to supplement your meals with energy bars or fruit. The Shaker bottle that is included has also won many plaudits while the side pockets can stretch to accommodate your own water bottles or vitamin drinks.
One of the primary advantages of the Jaxx FitPak is that it is extremely compact and therefore, can be carried around with little fuss and can even be fitted into most gym bags. The well designed exterior is clear evidence of the good quality material (at least in relation to price) employed during production while the PEVA lining ensures that cleaning is relatively painless.
By far and away the most common complaint levelled at the FitPak is due to the containers which many consider to be too small while many more have been quick to point out that the lids can often prove impossible to open. Further grievances have come in the form of the Ice Packs which, despite their claims, often are not able to keep food cold for sufficiently long periods of time.
For anyone who has a large appetite, it is perhaps necessary to look elsewhere for a meal prep bag. For those of us who are happy with a quick snack however, the Jaxx FitPak may well be perfect. Its pleasing appearance and solid exterior also provide the user with the confidence that this is a meal prep bag capable of lasting for quite some time and given its reasonable price tag, it certainly is a worthy contender.