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View Full Version : Packing Lunches


abcd123
10-06-2018, 08:52 AM
So I am going to try to do the cooler thing and pack some lunches and meal planned stuff.

For those of you who do this, what are you packing? How are you keeping it cold?

I am looking for some good ideas because I am getting fat as **** eating fast food.


cbrpilot
10-06-2018, 09:57 AM
So I am going to try to do the cooler thing and pack some lunches and meal planned stuff.

For those of you who do this, what are you packing? How are you keeping it cold?

I am looking for some good ideas because I am getting fat as **** eating fast food.

Crockpot meals are the easiest. I usually do chicken breasts with onion, carrots, broth/water, bay leaves, assorted spices of your choosing. Cheap, easy, healthy.

I usually bring protein powder (double bag that **** and get all the air out or get ready to clean up a mess) and a shaker cup. Protein bars also take up a small amount of space for how full they make you.

This trip I made split pea soup with bacon. It's pretty filling and easy/cheap to make.

My favorite is a crockpot/instantpot roast. Not as healthy due to fat content, but in moderation it breaks up the monotony of protein bars/shakes and the crockpot chicken.

Hmm, I'll add more as I think of things.

Also, invest in one or two good freezer packs. I'm not a YETI nut hugger, but their freezable pack is the best I've come across. I've tried 2 generics and one other that the wife bought. YETI is the best so far. If Ozark brand makes one it's probably pretty damn similar in quality and cheaper.

Edit: you're missing out if you don't have a crockpot. Most time effective thing to make enough of one type of meal at a time to last 1-2 full trips. They're cheap, like $35 for a big one.

MD-11Loader
10-06-2018, 10:43 AM
I mea prep and freeze everything. The crockpot is my friend and I usually have three dinners with me, sometimes four if itís not commutable before dinner on the last day. I also bring snacks for the day. I usually have a Cliff Builder bar, peanut butter sandwich, and some other protein snack like a Kelloggís Bar or a P3 pack. It works really well for me and has aged me a lot of money and helped me lose weight. I have five ice packs in my lunch bag and make sure to freeze everything again when I get to the room.


Tellheritwasntu
10-06-2018, 11:49 AM
Get some good containers for your food that seals well. That way when you inevitably leave your food in the refrigerator for three weeks we donít have to smell it.

But seriously, good containers. I grill or bake chicken before I go. It stays fresh, itís low fat, easy to prep, and low cost. I also make rice which is also easy to make and reheat.

Podrick
10-06-2018, 12:24 PM
Meal prep two containers of veggie stir fry and rice, usually works out to be 3 or 4 meals and since theres no meat it holds up well and I worry less about it staying cold. I Also pack uncrustables (im a child), trail mix, cliff bars, some fruit.

I also pack a handful of oatmeal packets for breakfast, easy to pack and easy to make using the kuerig and coffee cups in the hotel. Even with all this I usually end up having to by a meal or two on a 4 day, but still spend far less and much healthier compared to airport food.

highfarfast
10-06-2018, 12:30 PM
I use the aerocoast EFB + cooler bag II. 4 day trip would include 3 dinners and depending on when the trip started/ended 2 to 4 lunches + snacks. It can hold everything I need cold EASILY for that kind of 4 day trip. Add an extra night for commuting, it's doable but things are getting tight now.

When we cook at home, which is most of the time, we generally have leftovers. If it's of the sort that freezes easily in Rubbermaid 2.9 cup container with little air, then it goes in one, gets labeled and set in the chest freezer for a trip. These will make up my dinners. We consider ourselves good cooks and I do generally look forward to these dinners all day when I'm working. This point is very important. If you don't want to eat it, you're going to eat out.

For lunch, I make up a salad in the same kind of containers, one for today if necessary, and one for tomorrow. Salad dressing in used baby food jars. For days after that it's sandwiches. I've seen guys make a full on sandwich in cockpit, pulling out a loaf of bread and packets of cheese and lunchmeat and such. I prefer to make mine in advance rather than try to make the cockpit my kitchen.

I always carry snacks in the cooler too and it depends on what we have when I'm packing. It can be carrots, oranges, boiled eggs, cheese sticks, and sometimes a banana for the first day. I also generally have peanutbutter crackers on hand.

In the roller back, I carry a packet or two of microwavable rice packets to go with a dinner or two if appropriate for that dinner as well as some crackers. Also carry sachets of oatmeal for those hotels that don't offer a free breakfast. I also keep some sardines (the more expensive ones really do taste good) with crackers as well as some individual salmon packs (taste so much better than tuna) as backup but I almost never need them... to the point of not really being necessary.

I stack the frozen dinners together on top of each other to reduce the surface area from touching non-frozen items and air. Next to them, I stack the refrigerated lunches. Two thin ice packs on the sides and one on the top. Cool snacks that I intend to eat that day go on the top.

If hotel fridge has no freezer, I stack the frozen dinners together in the fridge to reduce exposed surface area. I don't mind if they thaw over the course of the trip, as long as they stay cold enough to be safe (use common sense here and if you're really unsure about how common your sense is, you can buy a thermometer). I have felt the need to use the freezer in the crew room from time to time (after a night with a particularly week fridge) but not often and never had it stolen. Only time I've felt the need to throw something out it was due to the hotel fridge turning off with the light switch and I didn't realize it until the morning.

Empty tupperware is filled with ice before leaving the hotel and is stacked on bottom and top of frozen dinners.

I usually end up bringing some food back because I will eat out some too. I just don't want to beholden to eating out. After my last trip, I had an extra dinner that went back into the freezer, an extra lunch that I simply eat the day after I got back, and a couple oranges that went back into the household fruit bowl.

I have carried grilled meats in zip lock bags before as we grill a lot and in theory, this works really well as zip lock food takes up way less space than tupperware (though the tupperware I referenced does very will in the bag I referenced) but I'm just not a fan of reheated grilled meats so I found I tended to eat out more often when I was carrying those.

We actually don't use a crockpot in our cooking very often but I will say that about half of what I currently have stocked in our freezer for trip dinners are the type that work well in a crockpot. If you're looking to just make up a bunch of food at once for a trip rather than just taking bits of regular meals, this would be a good move.

Naviator
10-06-2018, 01:20 PM
I also keep some sardines (the more expensive ones really do taste good) with crackers as well as some individual salmon packs (taste so much better than tuna) as backup but I almost never need them...

No offense, but I really hope we never fly together.

NoValueAviator
10-06-2018, 01:36 PM
lol im dying

Anyone doing MRE's or some other kind of ration? it might be survivable if you can poach enough bananas and stuff from the hotel lobby.

highfarfast
10-06-2018, 01:55 PM
No offense, but I really hope we never fly together.

lol

filler

pitchattitude
10-06-2018, 02:20 PM
Keep in mind if you go to Mexico there are very few things you can take that are not store bought pre-packaged. No fresh fruits or vegetables or prepared meals. And they tend to dig through your stuff.

I know Canada asks you to declare, but Iím not sure what they will actually let you bring in or what is required if you do.

MD-11Loader
10-06-2018, 02:31 PM
lol im dying

Anyone doing MRE's or some other kind of ration? it might be survivable if you can poach enough bananas and stuff from the hotel lobby.

Just remember if you buy military MREís that they are around 1,250 calories each. They add up quickly.

ENH017
10-06-2018, 03:10 PM
Keep in mind if you go to Mexico there are very few things you can take that are not store bought pre-packaged. No fresh fruits or vegetables or prepared meals. And they tend to dig through your stuff.

I know Canada asks you to declare, but Iím not sure what they will actually let you bring in or what is required if you do.

It probably depends on the individual working but I've told customs in Canada the only food I have is my personal lunch and they don't even look inside.

highfarfast
10-06-2018, 03:22 PM
It probably depends on the individual working but I've told customs in Canada the only food I have is my personal lunch and they don't even look inside.

I don't do much Canada now that I'm DFW based and senior enough to avoid the fly through Canada stuff. But when I wasn't, I just left the fresh food at home (or crew room fridge) and put frozen dinners not for that specific night in crew room freezer and when asked in Canada what I had, I said "frozen dinner". I don't know that it was OK but I wasn't lying and they never bothered to look that I had my own frozen dinner and not store bought.

Because I didn't have anything on the return, I didn't have to worry about US customs.

I don't bring food to Mexico. I LOVE the food there and it's cheap as hell. Probably not as healthy as what I'd normally bring but it's good and cheap enough I don't care.

PilotPete4You
10-06-2018, 03:42 PM
All good stuff here. I swear up and down by the concus packs, like the old Snoopy I epack. They have them at any Walgreens. The big perk is that they are large enough to form to you bag and they DO NOT SWEAT.



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