The question I get asked actually weekly is, “what kind of containers do you use for your meal prep sessions?” I’m going to share my favorite meal prep containers.
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Package meal prep as family-style or as individual servings?
I offer my meal prep services as family-style, so will store a casserole in one dish instead of individual storage dishes for each family member. When cooking for a single individual, three meals of two servings each, I’ll store those meals in individual dishes.
For a family of four or five, placing each serving in individual containers is assuming everyone in the family eats the same quantity. In reality, a young teenage girl will eat a smaller serving size than a teenage boy a couple years older.
What storage containers are best for meal prep?
I like to use glass Pyrex containers that come with plastic lids. The various sizes are one cup (condiments, nut toppings), two cup (salad toppings, garnishes, small single serving), four cup (individual serving dinner) and seven cup (family-style dinner) sizes. I encourage clients to get all the sizes. I especially like the seven-cup size to store dinner for a family of four which requires one or two of them, depending on food quantity and age of the kids.
Should I charge a meal prep container fee?
Gone are the days as a personal chef when we show up with food storage containers and charge a $50 container fee. We’re trying to save on time in our business. Instead, email links for clients to purchase the containers online themselves. When you arrive at the next cook session, the containers will be waiting for you.
Do most clients already have food storage containers on hand?
I’m surprised about the number of cupboards I view at consultations that don’t have food storage containers for leftovers. I also see a fair amount of families using old takeout containers, the black plastic with clear plastic lids. Little do they know that they’re not actually meant for reuse. They definitely aren’t meant to go into the dishwasher as that’s when chemicals are being leached out of them. For the safety of your client, I highly recommend encouraging them to get rid of those old takeout containers.
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Virginia Stockwell has been in the professional catering and personal chef business since 2005. She offers mentoring advice at VirginiaStockwell.com and her YouTube channel “How to Become a Personal Chef”.