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Bean Sidhe

Quest Difficulty : High, No fridge and No microwave lunches

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Okay all, I am out of ideas. I am tired of eating the same like 3 things for lunches. The problem is, I have some things I need to work around.

A ) I Do not have a fridge at work that I can put food in. It must be something that can live in a lunchbox with an ice pack and still be safe to eat.

B ) I do not have a microwave at work that is safe for food. The one we have is for lab use only. (And trust me, I don't want to use it).

C ) I am allergic to all nuts (peanuts and tree nuts). This means I cannot do the "grab a bag of nuts, protein shakes, some granola bars, ect).

D )  I don't do sandwiches for the most part. I grew up on the "Do you want round or square meat" sandwiches, and I have a really really hard time eating them in this scenario.

 

I have a thermos and I can do baked beans and some soups. But as it warms up, I don't really want soup right now. We do most of the lunch prep for the week on Sundays, so we can just dish and go during the week. I don't have time at work to assemble anything (So wraps failed when we tried). I also will do a vinaigrette pasta salad with lots of veggies. But you can only do that so many times in a row.

I will say veggies are always good. My lunch always has a ton of veggies and a few fruits in it besides the "main" but since my lunch is about 5 minutes long, These are generally eaten on the way home. The few times I have tried to use chicken cold, it has a bit of a weird texture.


So does anyone have some ideas? I am really really tired of beans, pasta salad or soup.

 

Thanks for the help.

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I'm just posting so I can follow along because I am getting tired of my lunches (the thought of eating them makes me feel sick), and I need new ideas as well.

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I mostly have ham and cheese sandwiches, sometimes turkey. I just don't give myself time in the morning to make something. I need grab and go. Nothing too spectacular or interesting I'm afraid.

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Can you make nut-free protein bars at home? Does your nut allergy extend to common seeds (e.g., flax and hemp)? Can you tolerate/do you like wheat flour and/or oats? I could pretty easily whip up a nut-free protein bar recipe for you to cook up at home if you've got an oven (I bake a lot and often have to do the "Oh crap, I don't have [crucial ingredient], what can I substitute?" thing so I have at least one nut-free protein bar recipe in my notes somewhere already - short version is that seeds like hemp make a good substitute for nuts and have almost as much protein). Wouldn't solve all the problems but would give you a bit more variety.

 

Another thing I used to do when I was in the same boat: Hard cheese and jerky. Both tolerate warmth well - jerky's a bit high in salt but it does have a lot of protein to it. 

 

Another thought: If you don't mind eating them cold, pre-made bean burritos should do ok. You can assemble them on Sunday and hold them together with toothpicks.

 

 

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Google "bento lunch" and you'll get a bazillion ideas (try "bento lunch for adults" if you want to skip the cartoon character "charaben" lunches).  Bentos were invented before they had fridges and microwaves, and traditional ones are designed to stay edible after several hours at room temperature.  One of my favorite resources is here:

http://justbento.com/

 

I don't usually pack my lunches in a real bento box, cause I'm too lazy to play food Tetris in the morning, but I've learned some great lunch dishes from the kind of stuff that goes in them. I just put the foods in separate containers, or smush them all into a big glasslock and try not to shake it too much on the way to work.

 

Also, go check out your favorite deli (the supermarket has one) and look at what they've got.  Anything they have in there, you can make yourself and put in a lunchbox with an ice pack.  I've been inspired to try things like peas with pesto, sesame broccoli, arancini, and so forth from deli counters.

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On 4/17/2017 at 0:44 PM, hurley8604 said:

I mostly have ham and cheese sandwiches, sometimes turkey. I just don't give myself time in the morning to make something. I need grab and go. Nothing too spectacular or interesting I'm afraid.

 

I actually got in the habit of making pasta salad with like salami  or baked beans or potato salad, on like Sunday and then I just dish into a container and go. In fact, in the mornings I am making up to 3 lunches, so almost everything is precut and ready to be thrown in containers or ziplocks and go. This also means that part of Sunday is for meal prep, but we also make pancakes for the kids on Sunday and they have those for breakfast most days along with homemade fruit syrup that we can throughout the year (I buy the fruit on stupid good sales, and we freeze it till we are ready to can).

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On 4/18/2017 at 6:12 AM, chemgeek said:

Can you make nut-free protein bars at home? Does your nut allergy extend to common seeds (e.g., flax and hemp)? Can you tolerate/do you like wheat flour and/or oats? I could pretty easily whip up a nut-free protein bar recipe for you to cook up at home if you've got an oven (I bake a lot and often have to do the "Oh crap, I don't have [crucial ingredient], what can I substitute?" thing so I have at least one nut-free protein bar recipe in my notes somewhere already - short version is that seeds like hemp make a good substitute for nuts and have almost as much protein). Wouldn't solve all the problems but would give you a bit more variety.

 

Another thing I used to do when I was in the same boat: Hard cheese and jerky. Both tolerate warmth well - jerky's a bit high in salt but it does have a lot of protein to it. 

 

Another thought: If you don't mind eating them cold, pre-made bean burritos should do ok. You can assemble them on Sunday and hold them together with toothpicks.

 

 

To be honest, I have never really done much in the way of seeds other than sunflower. I would be willing to try it. I can do wheat flour and oats fairly easily. ANd yes, we have an oven that we are usually putting to use. I am all about variety right now, I am going on year 4 of this kind of thing for lunches so I am getting really tired of the same few things.

I have yet to find a jerky I like. we we actually talking about trying to make our own jerky and see if that is better than the store bought stuff. We already have a dehydrator from drying herbs in the summer so it may not be too far a leap.

The burritos I may have to try. I am not generally a burrito person but I am ready to try something new.

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16 hours ago, Raincloak said:

Google "bento lunch" and you'll get a bazillion ideas (try "bento lunch for adults" if you want to skip the cartoon character "charaben" lunches).  Bentos were invented before they had fridges and microwaves, and traditional ones are designed to stay edible after several hours at room temperature.  One of my favorite resources is here:

http://justbento.com/

 

I don't usually pack my lunches in a real bento box, cause I'm too lazy to play food Tetris in the morning, but I've learned some great lunch dishes from the kind of stuff that goes in them. I just put the foods in separate containers, or smush them all into a big glasslock and try not to shake it too much on the way to work.

 

Also, go check out your favorite deli (the supermarket has one) and look at what they've got.  Anything they have in there, you can make yourself and put in a lunchbox with an ice pack.  I've been inspired to try things like peas with pesto, sesame broccoli, arancini, and so forth from deli counters.

 

The bentos are a good idea. I had looked at those previously and everything seemed to look like it needed heated. That website I will definitely be looking at once I get a few more minutes. I doubt I would be putting them in fancy containers but its the recipes I am worried about, not the presentation

 

The deli is where I got the pasta salad idea. And while I have done Greek salad with chicken, or the salami with black olives, ect, it gets old after like 4+ years.  I tend to shy away from pesto anything since the pinenuts I am nervous about. I do know I have issues with sesame and ginger so I have to be careful with anything that is Asian.

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You can make pesto out of anything, pine nuts aren't required.  I usually make it with kale and walnuts, since basil is hard to get in big bunches in my climate, and pinons are appallingly expensive.

 

There is sooooo much more to pasta salad than feta and olives.  You can make it with sundried tomatoes, roasted red pepper, the aforementioned pesto, parmesan and black pepper,  smoked salmon and cream, asparagus and lemon rind..... etc etc.  I eat pasta several times a week and I don't get tired of it, it's like a blank canvas for anything, same as bread. 

 

That being said, there's way more to lunch than pasta.  What do you like to eat at other times of day?  You can adapt almost any meal to a lunchbox, with a bit of thought and the right container.

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I am eagerly following this thread too, because I have the opposite problem - the only thing I can consistently get myself to eat for lunch is Lean Cuisine prepared dinners, and while their ingredients are pretty good and they're low in calories, they're terribly high in sodium and quite expensive. I do not do well in disciplining myself to make my lunch the night before, either, so I'm looking for super-quick but healthy things.

 

Don't need any special advice, just wanted to pop in and listen to you guys and your good ideas. :)  If I come up with anything I'll share too!

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On 4/19/2017 at 4:02 PM, Raincloak said:

You can make pesto out of anything, pine nuts aren't required.  I usually make it with kale and walnuts, since basil is hard to get in big bunches in my climate, and pinons are appallingly expensive.

 

There is sooooo much more to pasta salad than feta and olives.  You can make it with sundried tomatoes, roasted red pepper, the aforementioned pesto, parmesan and black pepper,  smoked salmon and cream, asparagus and lemon rind..... etc etc.  I eat pasta several times a week and I don't get tired of it, it's like a blank canvas for anything, same as bread. 

 

That being said, there's way more to lunch than pasta.  What do you like to eat at other times of day?  You can adapt almost any meal to a lunchbox, with a bit of thought and the right container.


The few times we have tried making pesto, it just tastes weird and my husband says it tastes wrong without the nut element (Walnuts are a no too). For me to do pesto its generally just garlic, oil and whatever the green componet is. Basil in a few weeks I will have in abundance (Youngest loves Basil Jelly) since we grow our own. We have tried Parsley pesto too and it doesn't stick around long.

I have currently made Pasta salad with black olives, peppers, onions, salami and Provolone (go to answer), the Greek pasta salad, the spaghetti salad, Chicken pasta salad, ham pasta salad. I have thrown most veggies in, usually with a vinaigrette or similar dressing. I don't like Mayo much, so those don't work too well. I am not a big bread eater either. I eat a few bread sticks when I make them from scratch (or anything other bread like that), but it is not a usual thing.

Breakfast -  I have to eat my thing of yogurt (that I hate, but I need it) with orange juice at 5:30- 6 am.

 

Second Breakfast is either a Belvita cracker (not great, but its food) or a small homemade muffin or banana bread or Bagel with cream cheese. (about 9 am)

 

Elevenses is the issue. Its usually the pasta salad, I have done potato salad till I was HONESTLY sick of it, baked beans, soup, salads. This is also where there is no microwave or fridge so i eat at room temperature or with whatever the insulated lunch box and maybe thermos can do. I get about 10 minutes maybe (sometimes 5) so I have to be quick. However, due to Lunch, I always have at least one ice pack in the lunch box. I sometimes will grab a fruit or veg from lunch and eat it with it.

 

Lunch is usually veggies and fruit (green pepper, carrots, celery, sugar snap peas, pineapple, watermelon, ect) and maybe a cheese stick in the car on the way to pick kids up about 2. I love my lunch since I love my veggies.

 

(Technically Afternoon tea, but my fitness pal only has 6 choices) Dinner is usually a banana (which I hate) or cottage cheese. I tried to cut out the sugar stuff (cookie, candy, ect), but its crept back in.(about 4)  this does not always happen.

 

Supper is family choice. This varies greatly since I am one of 4 in the house and I hate doing separate meals. Plus sometimes its something I am not fond of but the rest of the family is. Bahn mi bowls, spaghetti, meat with rice and veg, BBQ sandwiches, burgers, salmon, taco, quesadillas, nachos, salmon, (mostly with ground turkey) stir fry, Pizza,(about 630)
 

Depending on the meal or day (Or if I didn't get dinner), there may be a end of day snack. that can be whatever Husband finds from chips and dip, to wings to a thin mint or 2. However, I am trying to cut this out since I think its extra calories I don't need most days. (anywhere from 9 - midnight depending on when I get to bed after homework)

 

Other note, aside from the OJ I am only drinking water all day. we are also trying to combat a possible Hypoglycemic thing where if I don't eat regularly (2-4 hours) I get really tired and have a hard time staying awake or I get really melted and no one wants me near them (I am a living snickers commercial).

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11 hours ago, SkyGirl said:

I am eagerly following this thread too, because I have the opposite problem - the only thing I can consistently get myself to eat for lunch is Lean Cuisine prepared dinners, and while their ingredients are pretty good and they're low in calories, they're terribly high in sodium and quite expensive. I do not do well in disciplining myself to make my lunch the night before, either, so I'm looking for super-quick but healthy things.

 

Don't need any special advice, just wanted to pop in and listen to you guys and your good ideas. :)  If I come up with anything I'll share too!

 

There are days I wish I didn't know what had been in the microwave 3 feet from my computer at work. I would be happy right now with a Lean Cuisine. And I don't have time for elaborate lunches either. Nor do I have the energy for night before since I make 3 lunches some days (mine and 2 kids). So feel free to share if you think of something or just look for ideas. Honestly, I would be doing the same thing.

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I'm a massive fan of onigiri when I need to take lunch somewhere.  Quick, simple, filling and the variations mean I rarely get tired of them.

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I know you said you're tired of soups, but have you looked into gazpacho? It's a soup of Spanish origin intended to be eaten cold in hot months.

 

As far as chicken having a weird texture, what cuts of chicken are you using and how are you cooking it? I find white meat almost intolerable cold, so I stick with dark meat. My local grocery store sells packs of dark meat quarters (leg and thigh still joined). I brine a batch of quarters, roast 'em on high heat, and then let them cool on a rack. I put the rack either in the sink or over a baking sheet to catch the drippings. Once they've cooled to about room temperature, wrap 'em in foil, and stick 'em in the fridge for up to two weeks. You can either eat them whole (have napkins on hand) or remove the skin and de-bone the meat. You can mix the meat with vegetables, rice, or what have you, in a Tupperware (or whatever the non-trademarked name is). If you do a whole bunch at the beginning of the week, you can just grab it out of the fridge on your way to work. It'll keep fine without being chilled until lunch so long as its not in direct sunlight or really high temperatures (90 degrees Fahrenheit).

 

If you just get tired of the straight chicken flavor, replace the brine with a marinade. Chicken is a very flexible meat and plays well with a whole variety of flavors. My personal favorite marinade is beer, liquid smoke, and paprika, but your culinary imagination is really the only limiting factor here.

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Construction worker here, often no fridge or microwave.

 

my go to for the last while has been:

 

2 servings Greek yogurt, 1 serving of oats, one serving protein powder. Mix it up in a container in the morning,drop in an ice pack and eat for coffee at 10 am.

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@Bean Sidhe what kind of work environment is it? I work at a university and same, all the labs have lab only microwaves. but if you wander around there are food microwaves hiding in other parts of the building. 

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Wow The responses. Thank you @Taddea Zhaan  For mentioning me. Apparently my follow button stopped following.

 

2 hours ago, Taddea Zhaan said:

@Bean Sidhe what kind of work environment is it? I work at a university and same, all the labs have lab only microwaves. but if you wander around there are food microwaves hiding in other parts of the building. 


I work at a community college.  The closest microwave for me to use that isn't in a lab is upstairs and across the building. The floor I am on is either classroom or labs spaces. I could use it, I just don't know if I can get the time to get there, heat it, maybe eat it, or walk it back to where I was and eat.  I know there are a few microwaves hidden in offices on the second floor as well, or I Can walk to another building on the first floor (about the same distance as upstairs) to the cafeteria and use that microwave, if students aren't using it. I just can't guarantee when I get time to go get something.

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On 5/10/2017 at 1:09 PM, Guzzi said:


ooh, Ideas thank you. I may have to alter these some, but I will see how they work cold.

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On 5/11/2017 at 9:32 PM, Dalish said:

I'm a massive fan of onigiri when I need to take lunch somewhere.  Quick, simple, filling and the variations mean I rarely get tired of them.

 

This looks interesting. I will have to look into it. Although I did figure out one time that sushi (well cucumber sushi) got weird after a day. Thank you.

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On 5/14/2017 at 1:10 AM, Nomad Jay said:

I know you said you're tired of soups, but have you looked into gazpacho? It's a soup of Spanish origin intended to be eaten cold in hot months.

 

As far as chicken having a weird texture, what cuts of chicken are you using and how are you cooking it? I find white meat almost intolerable cold, so I stick with dark meat. My local grocery store sells packs of dark meat quarters (leg and thigh still joined). I brine a batch of quarters, roast 'em on high heat, and then let them cool on a rack. I put the rack either in the sink or over a baking sheet to catch the drippings. Once they've cooled to about room temperature, wrap 'em in foil, and stick 'em in the fridge for up to two weeks. You can either eat them whole (have napkins on hand) or remove the skin and de-bone the meat. You can mix the meat with vegetables, rice, or what have you, in a Tupperware (or whatever the non-trademarked name is). If you do a whole bunch at the beginning of the week, you can just grab it out of the fridge on your way to work. It'll keep fine without being chilled until lunch so long as its not in direct sunlight or really high temperatures (90 degrees Fahrenheit).

 

If you just get tired of the straight chicken flavor, replace the brine with a marinade. Chicken is a very flexible meat and plays well with a whole variety of flavors. My personal favorite marinade is beer, liquid smoke, and paprika, but your culinary imagination is really the only limiting factor here.

 

I have never had gaspacho. I grew up in a very picky family (My parents refused pork, Chinese, all Asian and Indian, some chicken, etc). I am trying to broaden my horizons. I will look into it.

We generally use boneless skinless chicken since I don't really like grease. I will have to try making dark meat and seeing how it works. It never occurred to me since I generally only eat dark meat if we are grilling or fried.

I love to marinade our chicken and do fun things to it. Hardest part there is figuring out the calories for it. No one said getting healthy would be easy I guess.

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On 5/22/2017 at 9:47 PM, Garris said:

Construction worker here, often no fridge or microwave.

 

my go to for the last while has been:

 

2 servings Greek yogurt, 1 serving of oats, one serving protein powder. Mix it up in a container in the morning,drop in an ice pack and eat for coffee at 10 am.


See I get a bit nervous about the protein powder. Most of the ones I have looked at have a nut component. Do you do anything else to the yogurt. The few times I tried Greek yogurt I was not really a fan.

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5 hours ago, Bean Sidhe said:


See I get a bit nervous about the protein powder. Most of the ones I have looked at have a nut component. Do you do anything else to the yogurt. The few times I tried Greek yogurt I was not really a fan.

 

I get magnum nutraceuticals Quattro, it is nut free. If not maybe a squirt of chocolate drink mix. I'm not a huge fan of Greek yogurt by itself. But I do use it for a sour cream replacement in tacos and on eggs.

 

or get the flavoured Greek yogurt.

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10 hours ago, Garris said:

 

I get magnum nutraceuticals Quattro, it is nut free. If not maybe a squirt of chocolate drink mix. I'm not a huge fan of Greek yogurt by itself. But I do use it for a sour cream replacement in tacos and on eggs.

 

or get the flavoured Greek yogurt.

 

The few times I have had the flavored, it tastes weird... I may try the drink mix or the protein shake. Thank you. 

 

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