Diet, it’s a majority of the equation, or 50% at the minimum, of obtaining a physique worth ‘mirin.
With 9-5 jobs, relationships, kids, and gym time, it can be almost impossible at times to find the time to sit down and cook a fresh meal every day.
It’s completely understandable; after a long day, you just don’t have the time or energy. So you order a pizza. Or go grab a burger at the nearby sports bar. Or go through a drive-through on the way home.
Before you know it, no matter how hard you work and how many hours of dastardly cardio you do, you can’t get rid of your winter bulk body.
That’s because you’re losing on the diet front.
Cooking fresh meals every day is damn near impossible unless you’re either A) married to Martha Steward or B) a millionaire yourself, so you can afford to stay home and cook fresh, healthy, protein-packed meals daily.
It is not all doom and gloom, though. There are ways to eat healthily and efficiently.
What Is Meal Prep & Why Is It Important
Meal preparation is a critical aspect of all serious bodybuilders’ lives. If you watch any training footage on Youtube from any of the big-name bodybuilders, from Kai Greene to Big Ramy to physique competitors, you will see at some point them pulling out a little Tupperware box full of chicken and broccoli and maybe some white rice.
These meals are essential to help them hit their macronutrient carb/fat/protein goals for each day in order to maximize the anabolic environment in their bodies.
This regimented diet is one of the key differentiators that separate amateur bodybuilders from professionals. The great thing is, though, unlike gear, this is something you can easily replicate yourself!
Instead of going to get groceries multiple times a week and preparing food fresh nightly, you can go to the grocery store once a week, buy all the ingredients you need for the following week (or two), and then when you get home, spend a few hours cooking in bulk so that you have all your meals pre-made for the rest of the week(s)!
You can freeze the meals you plan to consume more than 1 week out and put the rest in your refrigerator. Now, when you head out, you simply grab a meal or two and bring them with you!
But how do I carry all of these prepped meals around all day? Well, thankfully, there are PLENTY of great solutions for that!
Portable Bags For Pre-Made Meal Storage
We’ve scoured the deepest darkest recesses of bodybuilding internet forums, review sites, Youtube interviews, and manufacturer sites to find the best meal prep bag options to keep you fed throughout the day, no matter where you go.
There are 3 main categories of meal prep bags. They include:
- Day Bags: These are perfect for taking to work or just out for the day as they only hold, on average 3 or so meals, sacrificing volume for portability)
- Big Full-Day Bags: These are much larger than their day bag counterparts, holding anywhere from 6-10 portions, larger meal containers, shaker cups, and everything a pro would need to stay anabolic from sun up to sun down
- Backpacks: These are a cross between day bags and full bags but with the ability to be worn on the back. These are great for students and travelers.
Things To Consider When Shopping For A Meal Prep Bag
Evolutionize EDC Meal Prep Bag
The EDC bag is kind of like the gold standard of meal prep bags. Its design is not flashy, and it doesn’t sport any fancy technical features. It is, however, very well made, durable as heck, and one of the most highly reviewed meal prep bags on Amazon.
- FULL SIZE, ULTRA VERSATILE - EDC Meal Prep Bag comes with 3 full sized meal prep containers, and one large non-toxic gel pack. Meal Prep Lunch Box has separately insulated top compartment that fits an optional 4th container, or other food items, at a...
The EDC has all the pockets and functions required of a good meal bag, from outside mesh pockets an inner silverware/utensil pockets to an insulated meal pouch.
The outside of the bag is made of waxed canvas, which is the same material Indian Jones jacket was made of, so you know it’s durable.
The bag also has a seatbelt shoulder strap, so you know that will last forever as well.
Overall the EDC bag is a solid choice for anyone looking for a solid 3-meal day bag to take to the office, to class, or to the gym.
We’re no stranger to the Jaxx brand. Their stainless steel shaker cup came in top runner-up in our best shaker bottle showdown review. Well, it turns out shaker cups aren’t the only thing Jaxx makes!
The FitPak is a solid little meal prep bag that looks more like a lunchbox than a big gym bag, like many other options on the market.
- MEAL PREP MADE EASY: Control portions, eat healthier and save money with JAXX FitPak, always BPA-Free
While compact, it still holds 6 leakproof containers for 6 (relatively small) meals, so if your meal timing is spaced throughout the day in smaller portions, this is the perfect bag for you.
The FitPak is insulated to keep cold things cold and warm things warm, has an external cup holder, and has a sturdy carrying handle for maximum portability.
The cool thing about the FitPak is it also comes with a Jaxx agitator shaker cup as well, so you got both your liquid and solid storage covered!
Oh, and the FitPak comes in a whole variety of rad colors. While other manufacturers play it safe with black, the FitPak is available in everything from bright neon pink to a cool turquoise blue/green.
ThinkFit Meal Prep Storage System
That’s right; this isn’t just a bag. It’s a complete meal prep system. The ThinkFit insulated meal bag comes with 6 portion control containers, a reusable ice pack, a pill box, and a shaker cup.
This is a serious bag for serious lifters. The comprehensive nature of the bag means it also makes great birthday/holiday gifts, as it’s got everything a bodybuilder could need. This is essentially the Cadillac of meal prep bags.
- BEST MEAL PREP LUNCH BAG: ThinkFit lunch boxes include 6 meal prep containers, a pill dispenser, shaker cup & 2 LARGE reusable ice packs. Popular with men and women who have active lifestyles, daily gym routines, hectic work schedules or body build.
With over 1,258 reviews averaging 4.8/5.0 stars online, this is also one of the most highly reviewed meal prep solutions on the market.
Overall this is a dream come true solution for any bodybuilder looking to step his or her diet game up to the big leagues.
Isobag by Isolator Fitness
The Isobag is one mean meal prep machine. It comes in a multitude of sizes ranging from 2 mini meals up to 6 big meals. This makes it extremely flexible as there are options to suit all levels of athlete and diet requirements.
It’s no wonder then that the Isobag is a favorite amongst IFBB Pro bodybuilders like Kai Greene.
The Isobag has an insulated main compartment, an insulated top compartment, and insulated side compartments on the bigger models, meaning it won’t just keep your meals cold but can also keep your fruit/vegetables cold; your protein shake cold, and your pre-workout cold.
- ✔️ HIGH QUALITY! This durable 6 Meal ISOBAG is the ULTIMATE meal management system! It is fully insulated and designed to keep your food cold for 12-16 hours.❄️ It features an insulated top loading compartment & a zippered front-loading...
If the ThinkFit bag is the Cadillac of bags, then this is the Deathstar. It’s big. It’s bad, and it absolutely destroys the competition.
Also, a cool little add-on, the Isobag comes with a 200+ page meal prep encyclopedia, healthy recipes, and links to their own YouTube videos to help make sure you know exactly what you’re doing when getting into the meal prep game.
Meal Prep Backpacks For Travel
While the above units focused primarily on bags you carry by a handle or by a strap, meaning that while mobile, they aren’t designed to be carried very far, the bags below are all in the “backpack” style, which makes them much more travel friendly.
If you’re always on the go, running between multiple locations, or are just a student without a car, then a backpack-style meal prep bag makes perfect sense. We’ve rounded up the most highly reviewed, top-rated, best-selling backpack options and compiled them in this list.
EDC Backpack by Evolutionize
Yes, Evolutionize again makes our top bag list with its reliable construction and no-nonsense design. Their regular bag was one of our favorites in the day-bag category, and their backpack bag is equally impressive.
With the same waxed canvas exterior and quality insulation as their day bag, the EDC backpack is a no-brainer option for those looking for something that will keep your meals cold but won’t break the bank in the process.
- FULL SIZE, ULTRA VERSATILE - EDC Meal Prep Backpack comes with 6 full sized meal prep containers with snap lock lids, and two large non-toxic hard case ice packs. Holds 6 full size meals. Only need to hold 3 meals? Use one of the compartments to throw...
The backpack can hold 6 full-size meals stacked on top of each other and 2 protein shaker cups. It ALSO has a built-in laptop sleeve, tablet sleeve, and book compartment for those of you who take your meals to work or to class.
These bags are so iconic and so practical we wouldn’t be surprised to see university athletic departments making them standard-issue equipment for their athletes.
6 Pack Fitness Expedition 300 Stealth Bag
Yeah, we’re weary of anything with “6 pack” in the name, but this bag’s stellar reviews and top-seller status make it one of the rare 6-pack products that actually work.
The Expedition 300 is a hybrid design meal prep/daily use bag. This means it is not 100% dedicated to meal prep, which is why it only holds up to 3 meals.
What the Expedition Stealth bag lacks in meal storing capacity, it more than makes up for in its daily use practicality with a huge non-insulated storage compartment to keep other “backpack stuff” in.
The fleece-lined “technology compartment” at the top of the bag keeps electronics safe and scratch-free. It fits up to a 15″ laptop with ease and can also hold tablets as well.
The main lower body holds up to 3 meals, while 2 exterior insulated compartments on the side can hold water/fruit, or protein shakes. To compensate for all this potential food weight, the shoulder straps have been reinforced and double padded for maximum “wearability”.
The Expedition comes with 3 meal containers, 3 freezable gel packs, and 1 sports nutrition container for organizing vitamins/pills etc. Overall this is one of the best bags for travelers and students out there.
6-Pack Mini Innovator Bag
Aha! You thought you’d seen the last of the 6-pack branding! Well, sorry to burst your “expectations bubble,” but the 6 Pack brand is back on our list with their Mini Innovator bag.
While the Expedition backpack is for more serious athletes who need to carry around a larger quantity of food, the Innovator is a more compact bag that, while it still can hold 3 meals, doesn’t come with all the bonus storage space (for your laptop, tablet, sunglasses, etc.) like the Expedition.
This makes for a much more compact mobile design which results in weight savings as well. However, since you can’t carry your laptop or study materials makes it is not quite as versatile as the above-reviewed Expedition 300.
Ultimately, choosing between the two 6 Pack bags is relatively simple. If you are a student and will stay around campus or at work all day, then the Expedition 300 is better for you.
If you’re going on a short afternoon trip to the park and need something to throw in the car, or if you are traveling and have a secondary bag for all your non-meal gear, then the mini Innovator is a more practical option. It all comes down to whether or not you need to carry other gear with you.
Skinny Yoked Summary
There you have it, the top-rated and best-selling meal prep bags and backpacks available. We recommend you first narrow down your options by need, THEN compare brands that check off all the required boxes on your list.
If we missed a meal bag that you are currently stoked about, let us know, and we’ll look into including it in this roundup.
Meal preparation is one of the most overlooked but also potentially one of the most impactful areas in which bodybuilders of all shapes, sizes, and experience levels can benefit from. Get your diet on point, and your time in the gym will be that much more rewarding when it comes to your overall physique.
Last update on 2024-02-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API