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Author Topic: Food: No Fridge, No Microwave Budget Lunch Ideas?  (Read 1114 times)

Finn

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No Fridge, No Microwave Budget Lunch Ideas?
« on: September 03, 2013, 10:02:49 pm »
I expect a lot of you have jobs with access to a fridge and microwave, but I was wondering if any of you had ideas for cheap, healthy lunches that don't need either and would survive sitting in my car for a few hours? I'm a dogwalker, and I have been forced to admit that a granola bar is just not going to get me through my day anymore, especially not if I have to drive, starving, nearly 40 minutes to home from a walk in the suburbs. Also, I'm getting kind of tired of pb&j, and could really use some more fruits and veggies in my diet, despite their not being as cheap as my beloved carbs.

Bonus points if I can snack on these lunches while driving. :whis: :ashamed:

(In the vein of cheap, I'd like to avoid getting any new "equipment" like ice packs, an expensive Thermos, or a cooler -- though I may spring for an insulated lunch bag if I can wrangle enough tips for it.)

Thanks!
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 01:54:41 pm by RandallS »
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beachglass

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Re: No Fridge, No Microwave Budget Lunch Ideas?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2013, 10:19:44 pm »
Quote from: Finn;120799
I expect a lot of you have jobs with access to a fridge and microwave, but I was wondering if any of you had ideas for cheap, healthy lunches that don't need either and would survive sitting in my car for a few hours?


Hmm...bean/rice/pasta salad can sit around a good long time (provided it's not got anything meaty or eggy in it). Homemade hummus or baba ghannoush plus veggies.  Maybe even Greek/strained yogurt with nuts and dried fruit. Also any kind of vegetarian sushi-type roll (Korean kimbap rolls travel well).

Often for breakfast I make smoothies with fruit & veg plus oatmeal and nuts/seeds, which are pretty filling.

And sandwiches can be a lot more than PBJ, get some nice crusty bread (check the day-old rack for extra cheap points) and put roasted vegetables and cheese on. And from my college days I can attest that pizza lasts pretty well out of the fridge. :)

Quote
In the vein of cheap, I'd like to avoid getting any new "equipment" like ice packs, an expensive Thermos, or a cooler -- though I may spring for an insulated lunch bag if I can wrangle enough tips for it.


Get the lunch bag if you can.  I carry one to work and don't even bother with the fridge (and I haven't given myself salmonella yet). I do use an ice-pack, but a frozen water bottle is just as good and then you have water, too.
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Aspiria

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No Fridge, No Microwave Budget Lunch Ideas?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2013, 11:33:01 pm »
Quote from: beachglass;120801
Hmm...bean/rice/pasta salad can sit around a good long time (provided it's not got anything meaty or eggy in it). Homemade hummus or baba ghannoush plus veggies.  Maybe even Greek/strained yogurt with nuts and dried fruit. Also any kind of vegetarian sushi-type roll (Korean kimbap rolls travel well).

Often for breakfast I make smoothies with fruit & veg plus oatmeal and nuts/seeds, which are pretty filling.

And sandwiches can be a lot more than PBJ, get some nice crusty bread (check the day-old rack for extra cheap points) and put roasted vegetables and cheese on. And from my college days I can attest that pizza lasts pretty well out of the fridge. :)



Get the lunch bag if you can.  I carry one to work and don't even bother with the fridge (and I haven't given myself salmonella yet). I do use an ice-pack, but a frozen water bottle is just as good and then you have water, too.

Pint beans and white rice are an awesome combo. And can sit out for a bit. I also keep cashews around. They're delicious, good for you, and filling. Thoroughly cooked steak can sit out. Dice steak, fry with little or no grease, add tomato sauce hest together and put them over white rice. Delicious.

Finn

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Re: No Fridge, No Microwave Budget Lunch Ideas?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2013, 12:55:26 am »
Quote from: Aspiria;120805
Pint beans and white rice are an awesome combo. And can sit out for a bit. I also keep cashews around. They're delicious, good for you, and filling. Thoroughly cooked steak can sit out. Dice steak, fry with little or no grease, add tomato sauce hest together and put them over white rice. Delicious.

 
I should note that I'm vegetarian, but I figure there are plenty of people around here on a budget who aren't veggies who want more lunch ideas! :)
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Re: No Fridge, No Microwave Budget Lunch Ideas?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2013, 06:32:16 am »
Quote from: Finn;120807
I should note that I'm vegetarian, but I figure there are plenty of people around here on a budget who aren't veggies who want more lunch ideas! :)


Mmh, let's see...

There are muffin recipes that are not sweet.
With cheese for example. And if you use whole-grain flour they will last for a while, too.

Different kinds of rice, potato, noodle salads that can be eaten cold and can sit.

Tortillas rolled and filled with refried beans and salsa, cut in handy bits and wrapped separateley, can be eaten without heating, when they have been prepared and not been stored in the fridge.

Vegetable pies, self-baked bread with (for ex.) tomatoes and mushrooms baked in, rise cakes (those little balls out of rice flour) filled sweet or otherwise, fresh fruit, fresh salad (dressing stored separately), smoothies...
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Re: No Fridge, No Microwave Budget Lunch Ideas?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2013, 09:06:36 am »
Quote from: Finn;120799

Bonus points if I can snack on these lunches while driving. :whis: :ashamed:


Mini-quiche.

 I make mine crustless: grease your muffin tin, put a pinch of cheese in the bottom of a mini-muffin tin, add whatever the filling is - I like spinach and feta, ham and gouda, caramelised onions and sharp cheddar, but you can do all kinds of veggie things.) Pour mixture of egg and milk over the top to fill.)

I do 6 eggs, half cup milk, half cup cheese, half cup other filling to make 24 miniquiche. They freeze well, and if you take them out of the freezer in the morning and don't refrigerate them, they'll be thawed (but still cool) by lunch.

You can make them in a regular muffin tin, but you'll need to play with the cooking time (or I know Google can find some recipes for you.)

For ice packs: the classic "don't want to buy an ice pack" is to freeze one of the freezeable items - a plastic bottle of water, a juice box, yogurt - and let it thaw. (If you go for the bottle, I'd go for something like one of the little bottles that are designed for regular reuse, but they can often be found quite cheaply, like a couple of bucks. This time of year, you might also find cheap ice packs, though because of back to school sales.)
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veggiewolf

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Re: No Fridge, No Microwave Budget Lunch Ideas?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2013, 10:20:44 am »
Quote from: Jenett;120826
Mini-quiche.

 I make mine crustless: grease your muffin tin, put a pinch of cheese in the bottom of a mini-muffin tin, add whatever the filling is - I like spinach and feta, ham and gouda, caramelised onions and sharp cheddar, but you can do all kinds of veggie things.) Pour mixture of egg and milk over the top to fill.)

I do 6 eggs, half cup milk, half cup cheese, half cup other filling to make 24 miniquiche. They freeze well, and if you take them out of the freezer in the morning and don't refrigerate them, they'll be thawed (but still cool) by lunch.

You can make them in a regular muffin tin, but you'll need to play with the cooking time (or I know Google can find some recipes for you.)

For ice packs: the classic "don't want to buy an ice pack" is to freeze one of the freezeable items - a plastic bottle of water, a juice box, yogurt - and let it thaw. (If you go for the bottle, I'd go for something like one of the little bottles that are designed for regular reuse, but they can often be found quite cheaply, like a couple of bucks. This time of year, you might also find cheap ice packs, though because of back to school sales.)

 
Finn, I'll second Jenett's recommendation on the mini quiches.  I made some, per her recipe, and used veggie protein (faux sausage, crumbles, etc.) for extra punch.  I don't like eggs, and they rock.  Seriously.
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Re: No Fridge, No Microwave Budget Lunch Ideas?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2013, 11:51:27 am »
Quote from: Finn;120799

(In the vein of cheap, I'd like to avoid getting any new "equipment" like ice packs, an expensive Thermos, or a cooler -- though I may spring for an insulated lunch bag if I can wrangle enough tips for it.)

 
My personal fave: peanut butter sammiches.  And an apple.  ;)
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yewberry

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Re: No Fridge, No Microwave Budget Lunch Ideas?
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2013, 12:23:47 pm »
Quote from: Finn;120799
I expect a lot of you have jobs with access to a fridge and microwave, but I was wondering if any of you had ideas for cheap, healthy lunches that don't need either and would survive sitting in my car for a few hours?


I'll brainstorm food ideas later, but I wanted to mention that the seats of your car have great insulation potential because they're made mostly of foam.  I've put cold/refrigerated items in my car in the morning (on a towel to prevent condensation getting on the seats) covered with a pile of old comforters/blankets/towels and found them still nice and cool after leaving the car in the baking sun for hours.  You can extend the time with a ziploc bag of ice placed on top of the food...though I'd double-bag to prevent leaks, or use a mason jar instead of a bag.

Make sure the top piece of insulation is light in color.  A white towel will reflect heat instead of soaking it up.
 
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