Clean Pantry

The Cleanest Ways to Store Food Without Using Plastic

Even if it's BPA-free, plastic still isn't a great choice when storing leftovers. Instead, try these clean, safe and more sustainable options.

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When you’re batch cooking and making meals ahead, there’s one essential that’s often overlooked: How to store your food. I mean that literally!

As a clean eater, I’m not only concerned about what I eat, but how that food is packaged and stored. It all matters.

As a general rule, I try to avoid the use of plastics because liquids, oils and acidic foods (such as citrus and tomatoes) can make the plastic leech. Instead, I look to alternatives such as glass, parchment and even stainless steel.

Here are my recommendations for the cleanest ways to store your food without using plastic:


I always choose glass. From Tupperware-style containers to mason jars, it’s a versatile, sustainable option and there are so many great brands to choose from. Some of my favorites include: Glasslock, Anchor Hocking and Ball.

Stainless Steel Tins

I love stainless steel tins, which are so lightweight. They’re great for taking lunch to work. I prefer U Konserve.

Coated Canvas Baggies

Instead of plastic sandwich bags, I use Neat-Os, which are made of BPA-free polyethylene-coated canvas cloth. I store prepped produce in these and stash them in the refrigerator or freezer—it makes assembling lunch and dinner so easy during weekdays.

Recycled Paper Boxes

When I’m traveling, packing a picnic or eating on the beach, I like to use recycled paper-based containers such as ice cream pints or craft paper boxes (which are perfect for salads). I buy them in bulk for the best price.

Parchment Paper

Storing food in unbleached parchment—such as the If You Care brand—is a great option, and it can be used interchangeably for foil, except on the grill. (Though if you want to make a hobo pack for the grill, you can wrap your food in parchment first and then the foil.) 

Ready to become a batch cooking boss? Sign up for Batch Cooking 101: Cook Once, Eat All Week with Pamela Salzman.