Packing a Week of Zero Waste Food

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Amanda C Amanda C
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Packing a Week of Zero Waste Food

My husband works away during the week and currently eats from restaurants for each of the four days he's gone (so I guess it's not technically "a week", but it is his work week). To help us reach our ZW potential (and for his health and our wallets) I'd like to start sending him off with ready-made meals. Breakfast is not a worry since his hotel has a nice breakfast, but lunch and dinner are a challenge.

My main problem is figuring out what foods to send. He would only have access to the microwave in his hotel room, and that isn't always a guarantee. Neither is his having a refrigerator in his room. Even if he did have a microwave (which I don't love having him use anyway, but would like for him to have a hot meal) reusable lunch containers often are metal and obviously not microwave safe. Sandwiches seem the obvious choice for lunch, but with the 2 hour drive and lack of refrigeration what would one use as a condiment? Any and all ideas are welcome. I would love for him to have delicious, healthy food that makes him forget all about Subway and even Chipotle. :)
Chicane Champagne Chicane Champagne
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Re: Packing a Week of Zero Waste Food

That's quite a challenge. I am not sure about dinners but for lunch you could give him a deli counter.

So, pack some bread, avocado (instead of butter), a tomato, cucumber any other sandwich friendly veg and fillings. Arm him with some utensils ( a knife to cut bread, avocado, veges etc, a mini chopping board, various containers to store cut veg) and he can construct his sandwiches in his room. For the drive you can pack it in an insulated bag with some mini cooler packs. As far as microwaving you could switch to glass containers (I know the lids are often plastic but offset that against the waste he would generate if he ate out and I'd say its the preferred option)

He should always request a room with a fridge and if there is not one available he could probably ask to use the hotel's fridge and microwave...I am pretty sure all hotels would have these in either kitchen or staff room. If he stays in the same hotel every time he could form a relationship with management, explain his situation, and they may let him have access to their kitchen - worth an ask.

And if he does need/want to eat out you can give him some containers to use instead of things being wrapped up at the store/restaurant...so if he goes to Subway he asks them to make his sandwich in his container...people look at you strange but who cares.

hope this helps some

x
Jay Jay
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Re: Packing a Week of Zero Waste Food

This post was updated on .
Maybe one or two "dinners in a jar", or if frozen, carried in a cooler/travel fridge? You can also fix sandwiches ahead of time and freeze. Would cut back a bit.
Electric kettles are great. Also, induction cooktops/burners work extremely well, are portable and would expand possibilities. Stainless Steel is perfect on them. Fridge/cooler and cooktop obviously do have plastic parts, if that matters to you.
All depends on how much he would be into prepping his own and willing/able to bring the extras.
Good question. Let us know!

**Also, if you can your own fruits, etc. just use the 4 oz jars for individual servings (when fresh isn't an option). If the breakfasts have a meat and fruit, then eggs, granola, dried fruits for lunch/dinner should be OK. Can also make your own "instant oatmeal", etc. Thermos's are great for cooking things passively, as long as have access to hot water.  Veggies?? Not sure. Dried + hot water works, but again depends on acceptance curve. Google thermos cooking, and ideas for/from backpackers.
Amanda C Amanda C
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Re: Packing a Week of Zero Waste Food

Thanks for the suggestions!

Chicane- You're right, he does stay at the same hotel every week, so they really should be able to get him a room with a fridge (right now it's hit and miss) every week for his loyalty. They already have him on a set rate instead of the fluctuating prices they offer most people. I've just found glass containers with stainless steel lids, so that's an option- even though I know he hates microwaving things with the lid off. Haha- he'll get over it. :)

Jay- I never thought of having him bring a burner with him! We're not such sticklers on the plastic that we would forgo that option because of it. I'll have to talk to him to see what option he would prefer. I don't can my own foods, but I'm working on that- hopefully I'll be good at it and he'll be glad to bring some canned foods with him. That would make things easy. :)

Thanks again!
Wrennerd Wrennerd
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Re: Packing a Week of Zero Waste Food

Another option for reheating: maybe he could pack a small electric kettle to make hot water if he doesn't get the microwave room? Just pour it in the jar (or in a larger bowl the dinner-in-a-jar could sit in for warming purposes? ;)
Jay Jay
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Re: Packing a Week of Zero Waste Food

Also, the electric kettle>hot water plus a variety of things will cook in a thermos. Seriously. Only way we cook rice, poach chicken, so forth, anymore- in a thermal cooker, essentially an oversized thermos.

-Outside the box possibility: get delivery from a local grocer? That alone, plus insuring a room with a fridge could work.
-Crockpot plus the fixins, frozen if neccessary??
-Create a kit of condiments, so he can grab and go? 4 oz Ball jars are the perfect size. Mayo is actually one of the few that *has* to be refrigerated. Butter is a reasonable substitute. Ymm, like the idea of an advocado!
-Tiffins?
As before, depends on how much trouble he's willing to go to, will he have time to settle in at the hotel before going to work, etc., etc.
Fun to think about, may be harder to implement!
Jay Jay
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Re: Packing a Week of Zero Waste Food

In reply to this post by Amanda C
Any follow up, Amanda?
Based on another thread, had a thought about "heating a dish in the microwave with the lid off" : have him just dampen a clean washcloth/hand towel and put on top!