3

votes

Shelf-stable meals?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 18, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Hello,

My family and I have been eating primally for a few months. It hasn't been going too well for my husband. He works in a place that only has a tiny fridge for all of the employees to share. It's one of those really tiny ones that are meant to hold a six-pack. So there's not enough room to put anything substantial. He tried taking a salad once, and it didn't fit in the fridge. So he's been mostly been getting fast food every day, which is terrible.

To make things worse, he works during both lunch and dinner times. So even though I make nice nutritious dinners, he never gets to eat them. He can't even bring the leftovers for lunch the next day, because of the fridge issue.

I'm trying to come up with things he can take that don't need to be refrigerated. I suggested beef jerky and some fruit and nuts, but he says that's just a snack, and wouldn't feel like a meal.

They do have a microwave, so that increases possibilities a little.

He also wants to be able to just leave a stockpile of food on a shelf at work, so he was thinking of getting a bunch of "cup of noodles", but I don't want him to have to eat that crap.

What kind of things would you eat in this situation?

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on January 19, 2012
at 04:51 PM

There is a difference between "Bento" (Japanese crafted lunch with an artistic flair), and a "Bento Box"... one is just a container that happens to be designed rather well with compartments and very efficient cooling methods.

026dde5c5ed48e30d006ac075410871e

(288)

on January 19, 2012
at 05:10 AM

Me neither. I think most foods are fine if they are un-refrigerated for a few hours.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on January 19, 2012
at 04:17 AM

Maybe I've been lucky, but I've frozen lots of stuff in quart mason jars. I leave plenty of head space!

F4d04667059bc682540fdfd8b40f13a7

on January 19, 2012
at 02:41 AM

I freeze in foodbags and haven't had any issue with overexpansion. I am concerned about plastic - but the bags I use are phthalates, polycarbonate & BPA free - and it's the best solution I've come up with so far.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 19, 2012
at 02:29 AM

pfft if the fridge is disgusting I wouldn't use it either....and if I dont use it then it sure as heck is "not my job".

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 19, 2012
at 02:27 AM

Yup easy fix with an ice pack and cooler. Look at what a lot of outdoor laborers use to take their lunch in and get him something like that.

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on January 19, 2012
at 12:19 AM

Dealing with co-workers who are angry or melting down because you threw out their mold covered food is not my job, no. If people were reasonable then I'd do it no problem.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on January 19, 2012
at 12:16 AM

Do you freeze in a bag or one of those single serving plastic containers? I had some issues with overexpansion with those.

0bf4aaa16b8532ca8fb773d86900d153

(203)

on January 18, 2012
at 10:43 PM

What are his favorite food?

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:35 PM

is there room for a mini fridge?

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:34 PM

Because taking 15 minutes to clean it would be a major waste of time or are you one of those people who think 'its not my job'?

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:25 PM

Ahh I typed too slow! Bento Box = Awesome!

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9 Answers

8
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on January 18, 2012
at 09:19 PM

Egads! Get him an ice pack, stat!! Not just for soothing bumps or bruises, they keep food nicely chilled until it's time to eat :)

You could do a small cooler and container things up - so food to be heated remains nicely stable and things that are to be cool stay.. cool. Berries with cream, salad, chopped veg, soups, stews, frittata, protein and veg oh my! Much better than cup o's.

A really tasty meal is sauteed rapini (or any other greens), curried cauliflower, roasted sweet potato and chicken breast. All heat up super well at a low heat in a microwave. I don't own one anymore but when I did, low heat was always best so things didn't get cooked too quickly and turned into rubberballs.

Cheers!

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 19, 2012
at 02:27 AM

Yup easy fix with an ice pack and cooler. Look at what a lot of outdoor laborers use to take their lunch in and get him something like that.

6
78972387772c994caa78513a83978437

on January 19, 2012
at 03:04 AM

A thermos is my best friend! It keeps food piping hot until you are ready to eat it. If you know it's going to be a long day: Pour boiling water into the thermos and let sit for a few minutes before putting food in it. Seriously. I packed the thermos at 7am, and opened it at 2pm and burnt my mouth. Maybe you could pack some food in this way, and have your husband heat food up in a glass bowl if it needs to be a little steamier for him.

shelf-stable-meals?

5
F4d04667059bc682540fdfd8b40f13a7

on January 19, 2012
at 12:13 AM

I make up lots of lunches at the weekend (i.e. soup or beanless chilli) and freeze them in individual sized portions. I take one in each morning, leave it on my desk to defrost and by lunchtime it's defrosted enough to microwave.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on January 19, 2012
at 04:17 AM

Maybe I've been lucky, but I've frozen lots of stuff in quart mason jars. I leave plenty of head space!

F4d04667059bc682540fdfd8b40f13a7

on January 19, 2012
at 02:41 AM

I freeze in foodbags and haven't had any issue with overexpansion. I am concerned about plastic - but the bags I use are phthalates, polycarbonate & BPA free - and it's the best solution I've come up with so far.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on January 19, 2012
at 12:16 AM

Do you freeze in a bag or one of those single serving plastic containers? I had some issues with overexpansion with those.

5
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:25 PM

I bring my lunch every day. I pack it in an insulated bento box from japan. It comes with ice packs that have kept my lunch at fridge-coldness for upwards of 14 hours.

Apologies for pictures of a messy empty lunchbox...

Unpacked: shelf-stable-meals?

Powerup Complete - Chili and Arugula mix: shelf-stable-meals?

Repacked and ready to go home, DOMO approved: shelf-stable-meals?

I've been using this particular model of bento for about 3 years now... it has served me well. It used to have chopsticks in the top compartment until I lost one (melted on an element) in the dishwasher. I think my wife bought it from jbox.

3
A5410f987b53c5dc97e8a457c6832ed7

(434)

on January 18, 2012
at 10:20 PM

Maybe I'm playing with fire and I've just been lucky, but I don't refrigerate or chill my lunches. I don't get too worked up about the possibility of food spoiling beyond edibility just by being stored for a few hours at room temperature. I generally bring leftovers that I heat up in the microwave, or stuff I don't mind eating cold or at room temperature. I've been doing this for years without issue.

My experience aside, I would second the suggestion of an ice pack and insulated lunch box just to be on the safe side because your husband works through two meals.

026dde5c5ed48e30d006ac075410871e

(288)

on January 19, 2012
at 05:10 AM

Me neither. I think most foods are fine if they are un-refrigerated for a few hours.

3
35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:19 PM

I work in an office where the fridge is truly disgusting, so I don't store my food in it. What I typically do is to pack a bento style lunch that doesn't require refrigeration (fully cooked meats and raw or fully cooked fruits and veggies), or a hot thermos of stew/soup/chili or I pack general leftovers in a cooler bag with an ice pack to be microwaved later.

I also keep cans of kippers & tuna at my desk as well as olive oil & balsamic vinegar to use on salads from local take-out.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:25 PM

Ahh I typed too slow! Bento Box = Awesome!

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 19, 2012
at 02:29 AM

pfft if the fridge is disgusting I wouldn't use it either....and if I dont use it then it sure as heck is "not my job".

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:34 PM

Because taking 15 minutes to clean it would be a major waste of time or are you one of those people who think 'its not my job'?

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on January 19, 2012
at 12:19 AM

Dealing with co-workers who are angry or melting down because you threw out their mold covered food is not my job, no. If people were reasonable then I'd do it no problem.

2
C4ea0e0e12d924554ee197e5452c80a3

(240)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:47 PM

Can he buy a little fridge for his office. Or a mini mini one that plugs in. I eat canned salmon and sardine all the time when I do not feel like cooking. Boiled eggs also last a long time out of the fridge. He has to take some initiative to care for his own health.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 18, 2012
at 10:37 PM

I work in construction and am always taking lunches with me. I can't remember the last time I worked somewhere where I had access to a fridge.
Lunches are packed in either in a coolbag or if the weather is not too hot, in a carrier bag with a couple of ice blocks.
I sometimes take a nice meaty soup or casserole in a food flask.

0
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on January 18, 2012
at 11:08 PM

Like the others have mentioned, insulated bag + blue ice block here. Lasts all day for my purposes, but I'm indoors, and not in 100+ degree heat. Not sure how well it would last out there.

In re. beef jerky, fruit/nuts. Yah, I agree, I think they're snacks too, not real meals.

What kind of job is he doing? You say works lunch and dinner, does he start work late as well? i.e. you can make him a good sized breakfast/brunch before he goes? For me, 3-4 egg omlette, avocado, peppers/onions, bacon, etc. carry me over quite late into the afternoon, eating at 7-8am.

For my desk, I've got packages of tuna (the foil ones, not cans) for those times when I need a quick snack to tide me over. The foil ones you don't need a can opener or need to drain them after opening. I've also got a couple dusty cans of sardines for serious emergencies (because I'll never eat them otherwise. Nor will anyone else. :) ).

In reading the other comments, insulated bento boxes. Sounds like a nice idea, and it'd be cool getting something personally put together by someone. But some of those sure are a lot of work. Depends on your spare time I guess.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on January 19, 2012
at 04:51 PM

There is a difference between "Bento" (Japanese crafted lunch with an artistic flair), and a "Bento Box"... one is just a container that happens to be designed rather well with compartments and very efficient cooling methods.

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