Author Topic: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?  (Read 3382 times)

Future Lazy

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Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« on: February 15, 2017, 10:43:46 PM »
Hi all,

My husband recently joined a plumbing apprenticeship and is working as a drain technician. He is on the road all day in his van, and generally doesn't have access to either a freezer or a microwave. This messes with our "last night's leftovers" lunch solution algorithm, and he's slipping into a tendency to take only crap snacks with him and/or eat out. Fast food is a death trap, financially and literally, so we're looking for a better solution.

Constraints:
- No microwave, so no meals that needs reheating (ex canned soup, typical dinner leftovers).
- No freezer, so no meals that require being kept frozen.
- Cooler/lunchbox with ice pack for 4-5 hours is totally doable.
- 5'11" 25 year old boy doing hard heavy labor all day requires extra protein and fiber to stay full and energized.
- $2-4 per meal is ok, I'm more concerned about balanced eating than being extremely frugal.

Right now, DH is taking Gatorade, Cheez-its, fruit leather and Cliff bars with him on a daily basis. This is high sugar, low fiber, low protein and frankly just not enough calories to carry him through the work day. He had some brief success with making a meat and cheese sandwich on a daily basis, but since hasn't been able to keep up on this habit. Ideally, the best solution is something high fiber and high protein we can batch cook on a weekend or cook in a crock pot, divide in to containers which can be grabbed quickly on the way out the door, and is still tasty when eaten cold.

Any suggestions from on the go mustachians with similar jobs working out of a vehicle?

Thanks bunches!
Kayla

sunnyca

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Re: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2017, 11:07:01 PM »
Soup or meals in a thermos?  I have one from Zojirushoi that's awesome- keeps things hot for hours.

Lews Therin

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Re: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2017, 02:46:12 AM »
Salads and Subs are good options; I'll use a whole chicken, cut it into strips and throw in with a ridiculous amount of other ingrediants depending on whats in my fridge, and it's easily a filling meal. For subs, cold cuts and lots of fillers will be options that can vary, so you don't always make the same meal, but can easily be made in large batches.

NotJen

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Re: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2017, 05:45:10 AM »
http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-spiced-lentil-sweet-potato-and-kale-whole-wheat-pockets-181100

I don't know if this particular recipe is one he'd like (I think they're delicious),  but I had great success batch cooking these, throwing them in the freezer, letting them thaw all day, and eating room-temp in the evening.  You might need to thaw beforehand in the fridge if you want to eat for lunch.

I use a very easy recipe for my pizza dough, too:
http://gwens-nest.com/easy-bread-recipe/

Can he throw things like carrots and apples in his bag?  Those are my staple work snacks.

Bradfurd

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Re: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2017, 07:03:14 AM »
I'm guessing that he might have a short lunch break also, so he probably values convenience? I've found that convenience and healthy/nutritious are usually both attainable only with some significant behind the scenes effort (like the whole chicken suggestion above).

The cost isn't particularly mustachian, but Quest bars are decent tasting (compared to other low sugar protein bars) high protein, high fiber, very low in sugar, and quick to munch on mid morning or mid afternoon.

Are there any foods that he won't eat?


MandalayVA

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Re: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2017, 07:38:26 AM »
Soup or meals in a thermos?  I have one from Zojirushoi that's awesome- keeps things hot for hours.

+1.  Heat up some soup or leftovers, dump them in the thermos, hot meal at lunchtime.

researcher1

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Re: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2017, 08:06:15 AM »
He had some brief success with making a meat and cheese sandwich on a daily basis, but since hasn't been able to keep up on this habit.

Don't make the solution more complicated than it needs to be.  He just needs to spend 5 minutes a day packing his lunch.
- 2 PB&J sandwiches or 2 lunchmeat/cheese sandwiches
- Apple
- Baby Carrots
- Wheat Thins/Popcorn/Ect
- Water in a refillable container

As others have said, a thermos will keep soup hot for 8+ hours.  He can take that if he gets tired of sandwiches.

GreenSheep

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Re: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2017, 10:44:15 AM »
He had some brief success with making a meat and cheese sandwich on a daily basis, but since hasn't been able to keep up on this habit.

Don't make the solution more complicated than it needs to be.  He just needs to spend 5 minutes a day packing his lunch.
- 2 PB&J sandwiches or 2 lunchmeat/cheese sandwiches
- Apple
- Baby Carrots
- Wheat Thins/Popcorn/Ect
- Water in a refillable container

As others have said, a thermos will keep soup hot for 8+ hours.  He can take that if he gets tired of sandwiches.

Yep, this is pretty much what I ate for lunch every day for the first 25 years of my life -- at school and then at work. I even had days when I'd carry it around in my pockets because I had no other way to carry it and no place to leave it, and I never knew when I'd have a moment to take a quick bite. Coworkers were forever peeking into my pockets to see what today's lunch was. Basically, you need to pack a school lunch, but bigger so that it's enough for a hard-working 25 year old man.

A thermos is also a great idea. They even make some with wide tops that are meant for soup or other hot foods.

A few other things I've picked up from hiking/camping...

Homemade granola bars can be cheap and can have endless variations, and they're easy to pack and eat on the go. I use raw buckwheat in the ones that call for "puffed rice cereal" because it's cheaper, probably better for you, and more filling.

When you can find mangoes in season (the small yellow ones), they're not too expensive, and they're surprisingly easy to eat on the go and provide a nice occasional change from apples. Just "massage" the mango with the skin on until it's a pocket of goo, then bite a hole out of the skin on one end and squeeze the goo into your mouth. Just like those expensive like packets they make for kids, only made by nature.

If he doesn't mind eating oatmeal at room temp, there are tons of recipes out there for overnight oatmeal. Throw it all together the night before, let it thicken overnight, then eat the next day. Or you could just put oatmeal in a Thermos. Just another thing that's cheap, healthy, and endlessly variable.

MommyCake

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Re: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2017, 02:10:41 PM »
For work I often bring
  - boiled eggs
  - cottage cheese
  - string cheese
  - greek yogurt
  - protein shakes
  - tuna

All of these are easy to prep, high in protein, and can be kept in an insulated lunch bag (with an ice pack) all day. 





Future Lazy

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Re: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2017, 04:39:11 PM »
Soup or meals in a thermos?  I have one from Zojirushoi that's awesome- keeps things hot for hours.

+1.  Heat up some soup or leftovers, dump them in the thermos, hot meal at lunchtime.

Soup in a thermos is something I didn't even think about! Apparently this brand makes "vaccum insulated lunch jars", which he totally COULD take heated leftovers in. Thanks for the tip!

Salads and Subs are good options; I'll use a whole chicken, cut it into strips and throw in with a ridiculous amount of other ingrediants depending on whats in my fridge, and it's easily a filling meal. For subs, cold cuts and lots of fillers will be options that can vary, so you don't always make the same meal, but can easily be made in large batches.

This isn't dissimilar from the meat and cheese sandwich option. Except, you make a bunch of sandwiches at once and take them throughout the week? Don't the veggies and stuff on them get sad/icky and make the bread soggy over time?

http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-spiced-lentil-sweet-potato-and-kale-whole-wheat-pockets-181100

I don't know if this particular recipe is one he'd like (I think they're delicious),  but I had great success batch cooking these, throwing them in the freezer, letting them thaw all day, and eating room-temp in the evening.  You might need to thaw beforehand in the fridge if you want to eat for lunch.

Thank you for this recipe! I didn't think about a room temperature food pocket. This is genius. TBH I've never cooked with kale or lentils before, but there's never a bad time to start. :)

He had some brief success with making a meat and cheese sandwich on a daily basis, but since hasn't been able to keep up on this habit.

Don't make the solution more complicated than it needs to be.  He just needs to spend 5 minutes a day packing his lunch.....

The primary issue is structuring the 5 minutes of time. DH is very "on the fly" or "by the seat of his pants", and has more work to do on forethought and planning skills. He swears there is a difference between these two modes, but to me, they both seem impulsive and/or lazy. I'm trying to back off of the "mom" aspect of making him lunch or doing the planning for him, while stepping down on the "wife" pedal and demanding forethought about health and fitness, and healthy meal choices. I grilled DH about packing a lunch box with an ice pack every morning, and also about heating food up and keeping it in a thermous, but still no clear yes or no answer on either strategy. :( Communication and patience is hard!

rulesofacquisition

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Re: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2017, 06:38:58 PM »
Have been packing lunch for 7 years for both DH and myself, we are frequently on the road most of the day. We eat leftovers cold, salads with chicken, sandwiches, apples, bananas, baby carrots, and some less healthy stuff on occasion like crackers or cookies. Yes, cold spaghetti and stir fry if we're on the road.

We also eat a morning and afternoon snack, so actually 5 small meals a day. This evolved over time.

I pack the stuff, and have it ready to go in the fridge the night before. He does other chores, so this works well for us.

GreenSheep

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Re: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2017, 06:51:46 PM »
So it sounds like the problem is really more about his motivation to pack something healthy and inexpensive. Maybe it would help to talk with him about your shared financial goals and tally up what spending $X per day on fast food would cost and what your future selves would have to sacrifice? As for the fitness side of things, are there things he enjoys doing, or maybe an upcoming vacation, etc. that require him to be in good shape? Or on the flip side, maybe he has a parent with a medical problem that he'd like to avoid? Maybe talking about that would remind him of his long-term goals. It's easy to feel invincible at age 25.

On the other hand, if you feel like he pulls his weight in other areas, then yeah, maybe it would just be best to pack his lunch for him. I work with a guy who's a relatively healthy eater in general, but he's an extremely healthy eater at work because his wife packs his food for him. He does plenty of other things in their relationship, so it seems to work for them. He grumbles about all the health food she packs for him, but you can tell he sort of enjoys it and it makes him feel cared for.

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Re: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2017, 09:45:34 PM »
Salads and Subs are good options; I'll use a whole chicken, cut it into strips and throw in with a ridiculous amount of other ingrediants depending on whats in my fridge, and it's easily a filling meal. For subs, cold cuts and lots of fillers will be options that can vary, so you don't always make the same meal, but can easily be made in large batches.

This isn't dissimilar from the meat and cheese sandwich option. Except, you make a bunch of sandwiches at once and take them throughout the week? Don't the veggies and stuff on them get sad/icky and make the bread soggy over time?

When I pack sandwiches, I try to put non-wet items against the bread.  So, a ham and cheese sandwich might be layered:
bread
cheese
mayo/mustard
ham
bread
...so that the wet spreads are in the middle.

To make a PB&J sandwich more than a night ahead, wash and dry two iceberg lettuce leaves, then layer:
bread
lettuce
PB
jelly
lettuce
bread
...because iceberg lettuce is so bland that it only adds crunch to the sandwich.

For sandwiches with veggies, it might make sense to prep the veggies and lettuce Sunday night and keep them in one container, and then have part of the evening stuff (along with clearing up after supper or whatever you guys do) for DH include putting together his sandwich of bread, meat, cheese, spreads, and veggies, then sticking it in a cooler in the fridge with a bottle of homemade iced tea.  Then, in the morning, his steps are grab ice pack out of freezer, stick it in the lunchbox, and walk out the door.

For room temp meals, I would suggest calzones, spicy peanut noodles, and make-ahead lunch wraps.

Plugging Along

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Re: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2017, 11:38:15 PM »
I have always sent hot food for the kids for school.   I think they have only had sandwich type meals a handful of times a year.   Get the good vacuum insulated wide mouth thermos.   I put pastas, rice dishes, pretty much everything that could normally be heated in a microwave.  Soups of course.   A little hint to keep it hot longer is if while you are heating the food in microwave, put some hot or boiling water in the thermos.   It keeps it hot longer. 

The other thing I have because Dont use thermo is they have crock pot little lunch heaters.  They just plug in.   I have plugged it in my car with one of those converters.   If he has access to an electrical plug, they work really well for reheating.  It takes a couple of hours though. Just google crock pot warmer.   

Other things I have made is stuff such as chicken, quesadilla, pasta salads with lots of meat that can be eaten at room temp. 

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Re: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2017, 04:37:37 AM »
I too often eat on the go without access to a fridge/microwave.  PB&J, fruit, dried fruits/veggies, dates, a single serve of chips.  It sounds like he's eating while driving from one job to another, I'd focus less on something that has to be eaten "properly" and more on good food that is also convenience food.  If you go for thermos soups I'd focus on the more "drinkable" ones.

westtoeast

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Re: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2017, 04:53:08 AM »
Just a few more ideas (for things that would need to live in a cooler until lunchtime):
-Black Bean, Quinoa & Sweet Potato "Salad"
-Pasta Salad
-Hummus w/ Pita
-Smoothies (learn how to make a yummy "green" smoothie that includes spinach, that way he is getting fiber/vitamins even if the rest of the lunch is something less healthy like cliff bar or PBJ sandwich-- you can also add protein powder)

Northwoods

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Re: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2017, 03:17:37 PM »
When DH needed a portable lunch like yours, I used to make home a cold quinoa salad. Throw it in a Tupperware with a spoon and it can be eaten anywhere. I ate it at home often as well because it is yummy!

Quinoa
Sun dried tomatoes
Black olives
Feta
Pesto

BigHaus89

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Re: Contractors: On-the-go mustachian meal ideas?
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2017, 04:30:23 PM »
My typical lunches that I can make in bulk can be eaten cold or hot.

Beans(whatever kind you want)
Lentils
Rice
Veggies
Beef(optional)
Olive oil (lots)

Season with:
Turmeric (tons of it)
Curry powder
Salt
Garlic
black pepper

Full of protein and a great anti-inflammatory!