Home Cooking 15

Bag lunches for adults

elustaz | Jan 28, 201212:23 PM

All right, I think I need to crowd-source this for best results. I'm coming to the end of my pre-paid meal plan at the almost unbearably schlocky cafeteria at the university I work at. The cost per meal there, on a plan, is something like $7 at a minimum, and the food is just gross and unhealthy. Dietitians would faint at the sight of what they serve. I have hypertension, and I want to limit the amount of salt, sugar, and fat that I eat. I'm good at doing this in my own cooking, but of course that goes out the window fast when I buy prepared meals. I want to start packing my own lunches, so I eat better stuff for cheaper.

The trick here is temperature. I don't have access to a refrigerator: the department doesn't have one, and I certainly cannot afford to buy one for my office. (I'm not a long-term employee anyway.) My office is in a building kept heated to some awfully hot temperature — I'd estimate about 72 degrees. By the time that ends, the ambient temperature will probably be at least that warm. I'm guessing the food would be unrefrigerated for approximately five hours, on average.

What kinds of things can I take to work that won't start to spoil in warm and humid conditions, assuming I bring them in a tightly sealed reusable plastic container? I remember all the basic sandwiches that my parents made for me lo these many years ago, but I'd kind of like to eat a more varied diet than when I was seven. Will curried meat and vegetables over rice be okay? What about cold roast meats? Can I even think about fish and seafood, or is that too dodgy a proposition here?

I'd love to know what people have found to be trustworthy packed lunches under such conditions.

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