What food should I put in my school bag?
November 17, 2008 6:39 PM   Subscribe

I am a college student, and my cafe likes to charge 7 bucks for a wrap, as such, I try to scrounge food from around the campus, you know, going to events here and there to try and pass up the obscenely large food bill. I carry everything in my bag, from a few extra pieces of clothes, to an emergency flashlight, to an emergency can of slim fast, to everyone of my notebooks and class textbooks. I also carry some of my books in my hands nowadays for space. As you can imagine, my bag is stuffed, I've actually noticed a rip along of of the zippers, so that sections not being used so much anymore, hah, to think, I've only had it for 3 months! I Was wondering what would be a good food that could withstand not getting mushed in my bag, and that if it exploded [happened] that it wouldn't be horrible. Any ideas? PS - as you might be able to tell, I'm a little rough with my bag.
posted by Nighthawk3729 to Food & Drink (77 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Homemade granola in a zip-lock bag. Search here for recipes.
posted by aleahey at 6:44 PM on November 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Can you fit some Tupperware in your bag? It helps keep things from getting squished.
posted by sperose at 6:51 PM on November 17, 2008


Nuts. Dried fruit. Granola bars. A yogurt cup, though it might get yucky warm if you don't eat it right away. An orange. An apple. A zip lock bag of popcorn.
posted by All.star at 6:55 PM on November 17, 2008


Use hard-sided tupperware, which can bounce around in there and will even keep bananas safe.

(Also, cut back on the caffeine and/or commas before you hurt someone.)
posted by rokusan at 6:56 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


not that this was the question, but a reputable (e.g., in a working part of town, not a fancy one) shoe repair place could probably fix where the zipper got pulled out. more economical than getting a new one.
posted by micawber at 6:59 PM on November 17, 2008


Here's the problem, you're humping too much stuff.
/Sgt. Elias
You want a book bag. You want a plastic lunch box or takeaway container for your sandwiches. I'm not entirely sure you want an emergency can of anything.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:01 PM on November 17, 2008


Yeah the tupperware is a good idea b/c you put anything you want in it. Things like apples are fine if you keep them on top of everything else. Slip a granola bar in a side pocket and it should be ok.

But really, I think the best solution here is to cut back on the amount of stuff you are carrying. Emergency flashlight? Unless its a little keychain thing you have, get rid of it. Emergency slimfast? Not sure what emergency that would respond to on a day on campus, but chuck it. If you take notes by hand and not on a laptop, get a single looseleaf notebook that you take to all your classes and then at the end of the day transfer those looseleaf pages into the appropriate binder for your classes. Don't take all your textbooks to every single class unless you have to. Consider getting a locker on campus and leaving some stuff in there. Etc.
posted by modernnomad at 7:11 PM on November 17, 2008


I own this lunch bag and this lunch bag. I fill them with baby carrots, canned drinks, peanut butter, crackers, sandwiches, granola bars, nuts and fruit. Both are insulated and can be carried separately when you're hauling a big load of books or stowed away in your backpack when you are traveling light and have extra room. Also, they'll absorb most leaky foods before your books get messy.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 7:17 PM on November 17, 2008


Why do you have more than one notebook? When I was in college, I had one binder with looseleaf in it, and removed it when I got home and placed it in that class's binder, instead of carrying a separate binder for each course. That might save you some space.
posted by joannemerriam at 7:32 PM on November 17, 2008


Tupperware? Nah, it would get smashed. As for getting rid of stuff? Not happening, aside from the flashlight, I should add its only an inch across and 3 inch long, I use most of my stuff. Would love to leave my stuff in a locker, really, that would be awesome. I've alreadly tried slimming down my backpack, doesn't work. I do my work on campus, if I don't, it doesn't get done. I've been trying to bring my work to school more, the more I do, the more I get done.

"A yogurt cup." ----WAAAAAY too delicate. "An orange. An apple." Alreadly there :). "A zip lock bag of popcorn." That sounds like it wouldn't fill me up and would just take up room I don't have. I don't like that one notebook Idea, I keep one notebook for class. It's the textbooks that are killers.


What I've been trying to do is stash my bookbag on campus and take only what I need for the next 2-3 classes. I have my food and clothes stored away somewhere, still, if I want to stay and take to someone for a second, I have this huge thing weighing me down.

Canned drinks..... No. I had a can explode in my bag once. No.
I'm curious how you added peanut butter though, and crackers, sounds messy. Sandwich? Smoosh.

I'm already on top of the fruit thing, I usually try and throw an apple or 2 and an orange in.
posted by Nighthawk3729 at 7:43 PM on November 17, 2008


One notebook for "each" class I meant to say.
posted by Nighthawk3729 at 7:44 PM on November 17, 2008


an emergency can of slim fast

For...what? "I have to fit into these jeans between fourth and fifth period or I'm gonna fail!"

Does your college not have lockers? You are carrying too much crap in your bag. Get rid of all the crap in your bag. Is every single one of your classes on every single day? No? Then you do not need all your textbooks. You also do not need a notebook for every class. Emergency flashlight? Whatever, if you really think you need one then you need to get a tiny Maglite for your keychain for like ten bucks. And spare clothing? No. Just...no.

It sounds to me like you are carrying about twenty kilograms worth of stuff, so I sure hope you're studying orthopedics because you are going to fuck your back lugging all that shit around all day.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:53 PM on November 17, 2008


This is a zero sum game.
You have a bag with a finite limit.
You have class materials which you apparently need to bring to every class.
You have clothes, cans, and a flashlight you are unwilling to jettison.
These two take up space that could otherwise be used for food. Since you're unable to change the limits, you have to work within the variables you can change: clothing, "emergency" cans of stuff, and so on.
If you're rough enough with your bag that you've exploded an aluminium drink can, I'd also suggest not being so rough with your bag.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:54 PM on November 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


If it was me, I'd be all about protein bars, but I can only stomach about two a day. They're compact and filling, however. And as others have suggested, hard tupperware won't get smashed and will let you bring a sandwich and other squishables.
posted by LordSludge at 7:59 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


an emergency can of slim fast

For...what? "I have to fit into these jeans between fourth and fifth period or I'm gonna fail!"
"
Um, in case I'm hungry? And yea, I have used a few, not many, but thats the idea of an extra bit of food. I've used them for exactly what I want to use, I little meal/snack to get by without having to pay 5-7 instead.


Does your college not have lockers? You are carrying too much crap in your bag. Get rid of all the crap in your bag.

I'd love a locker, no, there are no lockers. And no.


Is every single one of your classes on every single day? No? Then you do not need all your textbooks.

Well, if I need a bit of work, it doesn't help if it's at home. I've been doing that for years and it never works, this way is working better.


You also do not need a notebook for every class. Emergency flashlight? Whatever, if you really think you need one then you need to get a tiny Maglite for your keychain for like ten bucks.

Yea, thats pretty much what it is, nothing crazy or anything, and yes, I've found myself in situations where I need a flashlight, it's not always a straight ride home.


And spare clothing? No. Just...no.

Um, yes. Just yes. In fact, I used my most of my clothes just tonight. An extra pair of woolen socks, a thermal, and a little headband I put around my throat. Oh, and gloves. I was still a bit cold, but better. As I said, Yes, clothes.


It sounds to me like you are carrying about twenty kilograms worth of stuff, so I sure hope you're studying orthopedics because you are going to fuck your back lugging all that shit around all day.

Yea, thats what I'm trying to avoid, I'm alreadly feeling my back acting like crap. I'm usually out of my house for 10-13 hours between traveling and school, usually the traveling is only about 1-2 hours of that time.



These two take up space that could otherwise be used for food. Since you're unable to change the limits, you have to work within the variables you can change: clothing, "emergency" cans of stuff, and so on.

Yea... thats pretty much what I'm doing, nail on the head.




If you're rough enough with your bag that you've exploded an aluminium drink can, I'd also suggest not being so rough with your bag.

Well, its mostly paper and clothe in there, so I don't have to worry about it. I'm asking about food that might be able to take a bit of punishment not lighten up, but thank you anyway.
posted by Nighthawk3729 at 8:06 PM on November 17, 2008


About the lunch bag, was never really a big fan, would rather just toss my fruit in a plastic bag from the super market, there are plenty of those around. Plus, they only have to make it to school, right ;)? I like having to worry about as few things as possible, plus, I don't want to carry around to many things that could fall off and if I'm running of the bus and bah, no good.
posted by Nighthawk3729 at 8:10 PM on November 17, 2008


You are carrying too much stuff, and asking for suggestions of more stuff to carry isn't going to make your bag lighter.

Add me to the chorus of people snorting our coffee out our noses at the idea of an emergency can of slimfast. I can understand about carrying something to eat in case your blood sugar gets too low -- but that's why granola bars were invented. Keep one of those in your bag and leave the canned food at home.

Every morning, bring the books you actually need for that day. Sure, you are preferring to work on campus, and that's a fine way to do it... but that doesn't mean that you need all your books and notebooks, every day. (And if you live near campus and can come home for lunch, then you only need to bring half a day's worth of books. If you have a long commute, this doesn't work, obviously.) I've been a college student, and have taught college students, so I can say with great certainty that not every class will need work every day. Be a little selective, and make you life easier.

Ditto the extra clothes -- it's one thing to keep a warm hat or an umbrella in your bag because the forecast warned of "chance of rain." It's another thing to carry extra clothes "just in case." Uh, no -- if you spill soda down your front, you go home and change, or you go to the bathroom and rinse off, or you go to the campus bookstore and buy a "go team go!" t-shirt and show your school spirit for the rest of the day.

Carrying all this stuff, "just in case" or "for emergencies" is, honestly, kind of nutty. It is reminiscent of those guys who stockpile ammunition "just in case," or the mentally ill person with shopping bags full of smelly objects. The vast, vast majority of your fellow students are managing to pass their classes while carrying modest bags with only a book or two at a time. Maybe this question is a joke, but if it isn't maybe you should check in with someone at the counseling center and have a chat about why you are feeling the need to be so hyper-prepared.

Once you unload about 3/4 of the crap from your bag, you can safely carry a sandwich or whatever without it being squished, your shoulders and back won't hurt, and you won't go through a bag every three months.
posted by Forktine at 8:12 PM on November 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'm a law student, so I carry about 30 lbs. of books back and forth every day, and I definitely understand your situation.

Your best bets for filling yet portable foods are probably going to be along the lines of dried fruit, nuts (I like whole unsalted almonds), string cheese, wasabi peas, fruit leather, or roasted soybeans. I'm not so inclined, but I imagine you could also carry one of those cheap packets of deli meat as long as you don't have anything sharp.

Also, ditch the SlimFast. Great idea, but the aluminum can takes up too much valuable space. Replace it with an Ensure, which packs tons of vitamins, but comes in a smaller, plastic container.
posted by non sum qualis eram at 8:27 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like chewy granola bars, because they're still good and edible even if they get squished. Same with dried fruit and nuts. Gorp could be something you might want to look into. Like many others, I would nix the slimfast, though -- I don't understand why you can carry a can of slimfast but can't carry cans of anything else. I'd go easy on the tupperware though - it is annoying to carry around when it is empty, and it takes up a lot of room. They do make collapsable tupperware that you might want to check out though, if you're inclined.

Forktine, sounds like he's trying to cut down on unnecessary spending, and the clothes he's carrying aren't really a full outfit (a sweater, some gloves, a hat? sounds normal to me). I don't think suggesting that he buy a "go team go" shirt if he needs to change really answers the question.
posted by k8lin at 8:32 PM on November 17, 2008


First off, I'm not asking how to carry less stuff, I'm asking if anyone knows some small durable foods, I got the granola bar thing, so I'm going off now on things other then I started. Btw, that canned drink you scoff at is pretty light and has made my day more then once, definatly not leaving behind. As I've said, If I don't bring it to school, its not getting done. And no, I don't live around the corner, once I'm at school, I'm there for the day, maybe you wern't thats awesome for you, I'm not. As for the clothes? Yea, I do think I should bring extra clothes, if you'd read my other comments, you'd read that I do use the clothes, its not a just in case, it in your face. BAM! hah, had to get that out when I saw that :P. I use the stuff in my bag, I've been caught out on my ass using this stuff, but this is not a question as to how I lighten my bag again, that was just extra detail to my story.
posted by Nighthawk3729 at 8:32 PM on November 17, 2008


....everyone of my notebooks and class textbooks ....

Yea, thats what I'm trying to avoid, I'm alreadly feeling my back acting like crap.


Do you see the problem here? You're a college student who already has back problems, and you insist on carrying all your materials for all your courses everywhere.

It's not working -- stop it!

You need one bag on a little cart with wheels for the heavy stuff like books. Then carry a smaller bag for your fruit + granola bar + other smaller stuff.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:33 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nuts. In small portions, in ziplock bags. Have a couple little bags instead of 1 big bag; they'll fit easier into the smaller pockets of space in your book bag. However, that does make them harder to find.

Also, cheese strings. They're small, and they will fit anywhere.
posted by cgg at 8:36 PM on November 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


but this is not a question as to how I lighten my bag again,

God, I can't stop saying that enough.

http://www.vitalitymedical.com/picxl/MEJ067417.jpg

THERE, STOP SAYING SLIMFAST!!! BOOST!!! SUPPLEMENT!!! OMG...
[sighs] had to get that out, ok. Moving on, lol.

non sum qualis eram and k8lin, I love you two guys, glad to see some people that are figuring better where I'm coming from. Don't get me wrong guys, love the other comments, but wrong question!

As for carrying a plastic bottle, I think that would break easier then the can.

And thank you for answering the go team go team thing, god, I didn't even want to touch that, how much money did you have in school to grab one of those things if something spilled? I'd just wear my shirt, lol.

Love the food suggestions from non sum qualis eram and k8lin again, thanks a bunch!
posted by Nighthawk3729 at 8:41 PM on November 17, 2008


Was just thinking, what would make all the bad back people shudder? lol, then I thought, what about a picture?



Yea, I figured you guys were thinking I had 2 straps, if it makes you guys worrying about my back feel any better, I try and carry it in my hands as much as possible, and rest the bag down wherever i can. I mean, I'd love to be faster with my bag, but I also like having things that I need on hand. Its a bad trade off.

As for food, you know, the point, I like the trail mix thing, wrapped cheese?.... how long is that good for? Like the nuts thing too. Really, going for this durable food idea, I like seeing more of these coming.
posted by Nighthawk3729 at 8:49 PM on November 17, 2008


Seriously, how can you smash Tupperware? We're not talking the disposable Gladware type stuff... real Tupperware. Maybe if you drive over it...

In high school I made a nest of paper towels inside a Tupperware container to protect an egg as a project... throwing the Tupperware down the stairs multiple times didn't even damage it.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:52 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ditch the slimfast. No, really; granola bars will provide you with calories in the middle of class without you having to risk their exploding inside your bag. Nuts, some really dense crackers, cheese (which is still edible after being deformed), and fruit also work, although if the interior of your bag is really as hostile as described, I'd worry about bags of nuts bursting and crackers being crushed. However, there really aren't that many other small, dense, filling, yet healthy foods you can carry - too many of the most basic suggestions, like fresh fruit, are things you've already ruled out as too fragile. You'll either need to start pruning the stuff that you carry in your bag or start carrying a separate lunch bag if you want anything else.

I understand that it seems easier to have everything with you - my bookbag during high school weighed in at 50lb. But my back hurt, my bookbags broke, and I ran to the same problems you're running into now. At some point, something will have to change. You say "About the lunch bag, was never really a big fan, would rather just toss my fruit in a plastic bag from the super market, there are plenty of those around. Plus, they only have to make it to school, right ;)?" If you've got exploding drink cans and crushed tupperware in your bag, your food is obviously not making it to school intact. Reconsider the lunch bag - probably one with a shoulder strap - despite the fact that you're "not a big fan." If Tupperware and cans can't stand up to the way you're abusing your overstuffed bag, nothing will. Something's got to give, and if you're not willing to remove anything from your bookbag, it might be your dislike of lunch bags that has to go.

If you want an easy way to get more space in your bag, take a look at your campus libraries. The libraries at most universities have copies of all books and textbooks used in class. On any given day, bring only one or two books - the books for classes you are 100% certain you will be working on during the day. If you have some free time, and want to work on things for other classes, stop by the library and use the copies of the books there. Your department may also have a collection of textbooks available for its majors. I've always preferred to work in random places on campus too - despite having lived about 3 minutes away from most of my classes - but there were never any days where I needed every single textbook and every single notebook. Plus, even if the libraries are out of your way, you'll have more energy to do things when you're not carrying around 50lb of crap 10-13h a day.
posted by ubersturm at 8:55 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Seriously, how can you smash Tupperware? We're not talking the disposable Gladware type stuff... real Tupperware. Maybe if you drive over it...

Seconding this. I carry a bag to 10+ hours of school every Monday. In my bag is not just notebooks, but a netbook and a copy of Ulysses (weighs more than the netbook), I so know, somewhat, where you're coming from. My lunch is carried either in a Tupperware container or a bento box. Most parts of my lunch would be totally crushed and inedible without these containers. Because the containers are made out of rigid plastic, they've never been crushed at all, and I can pack whatever I want in them.

Also, I usually throw a few pieces of fruit (apples, plums) in my bag. Which also don't get crushed.

As for food, you know, the point, I like the trail mix thing, wrapped cheese?.... how long is that good for? Like the nuts thing too. Really, going for this durable food idea, I like seeing more of these coming.

No offense, but there's something bizarre about this whole thread. It feels sort of like having a conversation with someone who's never set foot in a supermarket. Wrapped cheese should be good for several hours. You can grab some babybels in addition to string cheese. Fruitsnacks aren't healthy, but sometimes I'm glad to have them to throw in my bag for some pure carbs on unbearably long days. If you're a carnivore and don't mind going even unhealthier, dried meats--jerky or (god forbid!) slim jims will hold up to nuclear winter, much less being squished in a back pack. If you have access to a cup, and water, you could carry packets of instant breakfast instead of canned drinks.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:15 PM on November 17, 2008


While I stick to my schtick about leaving my bag hidden on campus, can work btw, I like this idea bout going to the library.

Whoa, slap in the face about the never setting foot into a supermarket! Other then that, no way about those babybels, those things are expensive. The rest though, wow, was expecting something going on and on about the weight, but I like the bit about the jerky and instant breakfast, most appreciated.

And as for the tupperware you guys are talking about, if it really is that durable I must have misjudged and we are thinking about different kinds, however, the kinds your probably thinking about are way to big for my bag. Again, space is an issue, this thing would have to be thin.

Again, most appreciative for the comments that stayed on track to the question, not about the weight of my bag, for those people, keep reading the thread! There's more information then you think! I've been there though where I've read a few lines when I'm tired and shot off my mouth without reading too far in, so I feel for you guys a bit, not alot, a bit ;).
posted by Nighthawk3729 at 9:24 PM on November 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


What about like whole wheat tortillas with something spread on them, like hummus, or maybe peanut butter + jelly or honey? as long as you wrap them up really good with aluminum foil or put in a ziploc - I mean, they might get smooshed but who cares if peanut butter gets smooshed. Or a bagel with peanut butter on it, put that in a ziploc.
posted by citron at 9:25 PM on November 17, 2008


i mean, in general bagel sandwiches might be pretty good. it's not like they'd get mashed up like bread or a wrap if you carried it all day. Probably. :)
posted by citron at 9:27 PM on November 17, 2008


To recap:
Trail mix,
fruit, dried fruit too
Jerky
Granola! Yes, I got it ok? lol.
Nuts
Cheese? I still don't know about that one. lol
And instant breakfast.

Thats what I'm working with, and not a bad list at all so far. I think I will add the jerky and instant breakfast, Nuts, I'll see what I can do, I don't know how to make granola, lol. Cheese... sounds tasty, but hard, and what if I forget about it? Whoa, nasty. And trail mix, done and ready to eat. I knew the collective mind of the meta filter could do it, thanks guys :). I'm still open for more suggestions, but I have to get to sleep, yah know, school in the morning :).
posted by Nighthawk3729 at 9:30 PM on November 17, 2008


Dude, did you look at the bento box link? Most bento boxes are tiny, and there are small Tupperware containers no bigger than the size of an apple. Tupperware, or its generic equivalents, come in tons of different shapes and sizes (see their product gallery), including boxes that are . . . the size of a sandwich! So your sandwich won't get smooshed!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:30 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Burritos are what you are looking for. Filling, cheap, compact and mashable, a burrito is what you need. Go find the cheapest burrito place you can - have them double wrap it in foil, and put it in a plastic bag - let out the air, tie and throw in your bag. It's only slightly larger than your emergency flashlight (are you expecting to fall in a cave?) and will keep you fed all day.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:32 PM on November 17, 2008


Oh..and all those clothes you are carrying? Pockets. Get a big coat with big pockets.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:33 PM on November 17, 2008


Those posting about tupperware in the thread are speaking of the rigid, capital T kind. Some must mean the recent Sandwich Keeper, (image) or the two piece traditional lunchtime set. These were in both my grandparents houses, and you should certainly be able to find them at yard sales/thrift stores for cheap.

I'm surprised you can't get a locker anywhere on campus. Can you get a school gym membership and keep some of the stuff there? Can you take an art or design class that would have lockers for materials? A job in a campus office that you would have the key to? The idea of stashing your bag around campus (while they contain your emergency kit) does not seem to be the best idea...and it leaves me thinking that you have not exhausted all of the resources available.
posted by stachemaster at 9:44 PM on November 17, 2008


Some weird communication in this thread.
You mention in the first line that money is an issue, and later about the cost of clothing, so I suggest you might look into cooking/preparing food from scratch rather than buying processed food.
I join the chorus that says tupperware or an alternative container will be your friend here, they really are close to unbreakable. I assume the student union or similar can give you access to a kettle or a microwave? How about some packet soup or a similar cheap noodle thing if you can't face making your own lunch ahead of time. Has to beat a can of slimfast lol wtf lol
posted by bystander at 9:50 PM on November 17, 2008


Damn, those bento boxes are tiny! I just check ebay though, 99% of the bento boxes were hello kitty, lol. Maybe I will look into a bento box :). By the way, for a bit of extra detail, the back I got is awesome. It has like 7 different compartments in it, with only one that isn't a zipper. I use one for clothes, one for school books, notes and folders, one for food and water, another for writing supplies, and the last 2 are empty, it is a tanish color and blends in nicely with the foliage this time of year, making it easy to hide around campus. On top of that, its a halo backpack, got in on a steal at gamestop in the summer, was a steal, last one and was 20$. Wasn't going to get it, but last one does it to you.
posted by Nighthawk3729 at 9:51 PM on November 17, 2008


While I would love to have a locker, not an option, I'm not in any art classes, I wouldn't leave it in the gym, and I would LOOOVe a microwave, but the people that take care of food at my college has my college by the family jewels and won't let go. I actually sat in on a small meeting with 2 of the deans and the thing that came up most was, believe it or not, a microwave. A year later and still nothing. To clarify, I go to a community college without dorms.
posted by Nighthawk3729 at 9:55 PM on November 17, 2008


http://www.thinkgeek.com/interests/giftsunder50/9f64/images/2591/

It didn't show the link to my backpack before I just realised, so there.
posted by Nighthawk3729 at 9:57 PM on November 17, 2008


Try Ichiban Kan for cheap, plain bento boxes.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:58 PM on November 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Seriously: Cheese will last for a long time even if the bag gets...destroyed. The entire reason people invented cheese was to last outside of refrigeration (and, well, sealed bags, since they Ziplock wasn't so much around at the time either).

Some cubes of cheddar or whatever your heart desires would suit you well.
posted by General Malaise at 10:00 PM on November 17, 2008


Does your campus have lockers? Mine did at the student union. I would make my own lunch and leave it in there to avoid any bag smushing. For the most calories in the smallest amount of space, I would look into the kinds of foods that are marketed to hikers and outdoorspeople -- Clif bars and those gels that come in tubes that you can slurp down (I've never had the latter, but my biking friend swears by them). You can buy granola at a store pretty cheaply, or you can just buy a good breakfast cereal and put it in a baggie. Also, I know it's kind of uncool, but you could also get a rolling backpack so you don't have to shoulder the burden of all your stuff. Also, my go to unsmushable food is always carrots. They're really hard and really healthy!
posted by bluefly at 10:01 PM on November 17, 2008


For some reason I linked to the fourth page of their bento box page, but the first page has some "men's" lunchboxes.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:01 PM on November 17, 2008


Sammiches in one of these sandwich boxes. I have only ever seen them branded (mine is Crayola) and I see them regularly at grocery stores near the bread. Old style Tupperware sandwich containers are good as well. The current style is not good. It's all about the strength of the form.

I have used my sandwich box for peanut butter and jelly during conventions for many years and have never had a crushed sandwich.
posted by fief at 10:10 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]




Just wondering but how are you getting to school? A car or public transportation? When I was driving over an hour one way to college I used to keep all of my stuff in my car like extra clothes, lunch, books, supplies, etc. Then it'd just be 10 minute walk to my car in case I needed any of this extra stuff. If you're using public transportation then not so much. If it comes down to it you can always get an even bigger bag that has an internal frame, then you could literally camp out on campus.
posted by woolylambkin at 10:57 PM on November 17, 2008


Looking at that bag, you should really just give up all the angst about fitting a tiny bit more stuff into it and get a bigger one. That looks about the same size as mine (for college) and I'd call mine small. Yea maybe it was cool and awesome and Halo and only $20, but it's little, it's a crappy one-shoulder thing, and it is definitely fucking your back. You want to carry a lot of stuff - get a real bag. A backpack with straps that you can carry properly, with the weight evenly carried over both shoulders, which will allow you to stop and chat to people for five minutes without even thinking about it. You don't need a different pocket for every type of thing you carry - I generally had two pockets, one for Stuff and one (small one) for Stuff That Might Leak (ie; pens, soft food).

People I know usually got their bags at REI or places like that, the ones called daypacks for hiking. Try them. (They do come with a billion pockets for organisation). If your back is already hurting, then you should be able to figure out that it's worth a bit of money. Keep your cool bag for occasional, lightweight use.
posted by jacalata at 12:55 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


There is now a MetaTalk thread about this question.
posted by Kattullus at 4:59 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


1 minute oatmeal. You can get a big canister of it for cheap (esp. store brand) or you can make your own by buying whole oats and chopping them for a bit in a blender.

Most institutional type places have those coffee makers with the hot water spigot, just mix a little hot water with your oatmeal into a meal size tupperware....let it sit a spell and eat.
posted by ian1977 at 5:25 AM on November 18, 2008


Mine:
* Trail Mix Bars
* Cold sandwitches in flat tupperware

As much as I applaud your preparedness, you might also want to reconsider the amount of things you are carrying. I'm fortunate enough to have an on-campus locker to dump materials that I won't need until later but the physical drag you're experiencing lugging all that stuff around is indeed inhibiting you otherwise. Drink that shake, man -- the apocalypse is now!
posted by Ogre Lawless at 5:57 AM on November 18, 2008


On review, I see you aren't taking suggestions to slim down your load well, so perhaps you can ignore that bit.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 6:13 AM on November 18, 2008


If there is a store on your campus then buy milk whenever you get hungry. Milk is very cheap and filling and good for you...and superior to Slim Fast in every way...and you won't need to bring it with you.
posted by creasy boy at 6:58 AM on November 18, 2008


Clearly you need to get sticks of butter, roll them in brown sugar and raisins. This is what people that race the Iditarod eat on the trail. Doesn't take up much room and you'll probably only need one a day.
posted by schyler523 at 7:42 AM on November 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


Tupperware? Nah, it would get smashed.

I just called my local Mountain Equipment Co-op to get the name of these. I have a set at home (but brand names don't stick with me) and they're excellent. Why allow your food to be dictated by your pack? With proper storage, you can take what you want. Note the rounded corners so as to be able to fit into the corners of your pack, and not steal room from all your other stuff.

They're a touch pricey compared to the cheap plastic variety, but think how much you'll be saving by not buying processed food on site.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:29 AM on November 18, 2008


nthing Tupperware is virtually indestructable under normal use cases (my parents have Tupperware from the late 70s/early 80s that is still fully functional.

As for the lockers, you might check if there are any services on your campus for commuters...often that is where you find lockers or some other place to stash gear for parts of the day.
posted by mmascolino at 8:45 AM on November 18, 2008


I was thinking along the same lines as Durn Bronzefist. A backpacking/mountaineering store will have extremely durable containers, in addition to dried foods.

Also, if you're out of room in your existing bag, you could get a carabiner and clip stuff to the outside of the bag. I haven't looked, but perhaps one of the bento boxes has an attachment point for a carabiner? The abovementioned backpacking store will definitely have stainless steel thermoses that can be clipped onto a pack.
posted by desjardins at 8:52 AM on November 18, 2008


Hard cheese can stay out for a long long time. It's calorie dense and nutritious. And by long long time, I mean several days. It's not going to get nasty, and you don't have to purchase pre-wrapped cheese (like the delicious but ruinous babybels.) Buy a block of cheddar. Cut it into eating sized pieces. Wrap each one and then put your cheese for the day in another seal-able container or baggie so it doesn't get lost in your bag, and to give you insurance.

Water weighs a lot and poses hazards. That's why that can of slim fast keeps coming up. You can buy similar powdered mixes, and you can make your own. Most rely on powdered milk--really inexpensive stuff. Those recipes talk about using a blender, but just stir really well or shake if you keep a lidded drinking container on you.

Lidded drinking container--keep it empty, except when you're actually drinking from it. Don't put it in your bag, hook it to your bag. I'm not talking a massive water bottle, something smaller that can hold hot liquids too.

Community college campuses can be super weird in layout and organization. Faculty and staff may have microwaves in their offices and break rooms. Be polite and ask nicely to use them, and you may be surprised. Similarly, some departments may have work areas set aside for students--even on commuter campuses and community college campuses. Ask around, be polite. Especially if someone says no, be polite.

Still, hot food is good food, and expands your options. With an immersion heater, you can boil water without a microwave.
You can have broth or soup, oatmeal, or hot cocoa without carrying heavier messier items.

And, even though they're a little annoying when they're empty, if you're "collecting" food from campus events and meetings, a rigid plastic (non-disposable) container would protect your more fragile food items and corral them so they don't go roaming around your backpack.

With respect to the advice you don't want, but everyone including me is gonna give you anyway.
I get the sense that you have a long commute by public transportation and on foot, and the clothing you describe is to adjust to temperature changes throughout the day rather than to let you change outfits. It's part of your commuting gear. Consider rolling it up and strapping it to the outside of your backpack. You'll reduce some zipper strain there. Look for opportunities to swap bulkier items for lighter-weight, less bulky ones.

Books. Many libraries keep non-circulating copies on hand. Very few college students seem to really use much of what their libraries do offer. Reference, non-circulating items (textbooks), multi-media collections, inter-library loan, and article databases especially. You are paying for that shit. Check to see if your books are on hand, and then ask politely and succinctly in person whether particular items are generally available or in high demand. You may be able to streamline your work. Or at least plan strategies for what you carry every day, based on which classes are the top priority for that day.

Carry the books you do need in your bag, not your hands. If your bag is uncomfortable when it has books in it, then you really do have the wrong bag. You want the bag not just for its capacity, but also to make handling all this crap easier on your body. Not to look cool or to broadcast your interests to others.

Advice to spend money is disheartening, I know, but I really recommend a backpack instead of a shoulder bag. Wear both straps--your body works more efficiently. L L Bean, for example, makes good quality items well suited for the way you spend your time and the variety of gear you haul.
posted by nita at 9:01 AM on November 18, 2008


Cif bars: quite a bit of food in them, and they last in my bag for quite some time.

I usually have at least two Clif bars in my big messenger bag, along with my laptop, two inches of paper, a tool roll, a spare laptop battery & AC cord, a first aid kit (made from giant Altoids tin), a sewing kit, Zip ties, pens & pencils, a brick of tape strips...
posted by wenestvedt at 10:12 AM on November 18, 2008


I direct you to the time when I asked the same question. I've gotta run to class so I don't have time to format this as a link, but cut and paste seems to work fine around here.

http://ask.metafilter.com/100060/Tired-of-vending-machine-food
posted by bilabial at 10:46 AM on November 18, 2008


If you don't want to spring for a new backpack, someplace like Play It Again Sports will have high quality secondhand backpacks.
posted by desjardins at 11:07 AM on November 18, 2008


This whole time i thought you were using a "college kid backpacking thru Europe" internal frame hiking pack. You're using a lousy, one strap canvas give-away bag with cheap zippers - it's no wonder it's hurting you, or that its falling apart. If you are going to continue to carry so much stuff, then you should upgrade your bag as well.

An actual (saying this since no messenger would work with your bag) messenger or hiking 2-strap backpack, one designed with carrying heavy things comfortably will serve you much better. They are expensive but indestructible, and often under warranty. Make sure to get one with padded shoulder straps, sternum and waist straps to distribute the loads well. Look at a discount camping outfitter like Campmor.com, or check bike messenger bag manufacturers Freight, Seagull, Ortlieb, Reload or Chrome.

You never responded to the locker questions I had - are any of those options available at your school?
posted by stachemaster at 11:33 AM on November 18, 2008


Get a small thermos type container (like water bottle size), then you can bring hot soup/chili/mac and cheese. One meal taken care of. A good container will be pretty much indestructable and won't leak either.

Alternately bring an empty mug and dehydrated soup.

Nuts, dried fruit and granola are healthy snacks. that if crushed will just become slightly smaller.

A bagel sandwich with cheese or a thin layer of peanut butter/jam won't get smushed because the bagel is dense.

Onigiri (Japanese rice balls) are great food for people on the go, and fairly damage resistent.

I'd be very careful with stashing your bag around campus. All it takes is someone noticing this and your stuff could get stolen/vanadalized or security might just take it away. Do you know of any clubs or associations which have offices on campus? If they do, then joining one of these groups could be a way to safely stash your bag. They may even have a microwave oven or refrigerator.

As many other people have said your bag is too small for the amount of stuff you want to carry. Get a proper back pack or a duffel bag. I'm pretty sure they have duffel bags with wheels on them too. You'll have more space for your stuff and it will place less strain on you.

If you want to reduce the amount of stuff I have three suggestions - Use one big notebook for everything. You can rip out the pages and consolidate them later on. Only buy textbooks if you absolutely have to. Your library may have copies which you can use on campus, or more likely, you may never actually need the book for your course. This saves you time and space. For the books that are actually useful, you can cut them up by chapter. This way you can carry only the chapters you need. This is how I went through law school with a very small (and empty and light) laptop bag (sans laptop).
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:51 AM on November 18, 2008


Okay, I didn't read all the comments but it sounds like the contents of your bag get the beating that mine did when I was in college. If so, do not put granola bars in there. They will swim to the bottom of the bag, get pulverized by your books, and then distribute crumbs onto everything.

For a water bottle, I'd suggest setting up some kind of elastic strap on the outside of your bag. You can then put the bottle in there without worrying about whether it will get smashed by the other books. Another option is to buy one of those bottles with a loop in the top, so it can hang off of your backpack. If this bag is not a backpack, buy a backpack. It is really a bad idea to carry a lot of heavy things in a shoulder bag, in my opinion, and they generally aren't ideally suited to keeping school supplies organized...

Okay, just saw the bag you're using and I think it's a really bad idea. Yeah, it looks cool, woot, Halo 3. But 14" x 14" x 3" = just 600 cu in. That's really not so much space. The "Big Student" classic backpack offers over 3 times as much space and costs just $25. The padded straps will protect your back, and wearing the straps on both shoulders will ease the strain on your back. JanSport (last time I checked) will replace a backpack for free if it falls apart due to normal wear and tear. If ThinkGeek won't replace your backpack, you should just get a new one, as carrying around a bag filled with heavy stuff that is falling apart seems to me to be a recipe for disaster. Yeah, I know, money is an issue. How much is your back worth to you? Okay, if $25 is too much, how about $18 (in blue)?

High fat, high protein food sources like nuts, jerky, and cheese will take up a lot less space in your backpack than carb snacks, and they will sustain you longer (or at least, they sustained me longer). They also benefit from being harder to destroy and less messy than fruit, crackers, etc.

Once you get a backpack, put all of your books and notebooks into the large section, pad it with your clothing, and then put the food items into the smaller section. Get a cloth or vinyl case to hold your pencils, calculators, etc. (and flashlight) so they will stay together and not move around.

I agree with any portmanteau that you should switch to a single notebook. But go ahead and get a multi-subject notebook. Once you fill up a section, move the pages to a ring binder (one for each subject) that you keep in your room. Then get a very small and sturdy three ring binder that holds maybe 50 pages or so. This is your "active" storage. If you are studying for a test or doing research that requires older notes, move the relevant pages to your "active storage" binder and bring that with you. Once you're done with them, file them back in the dedicated binder at home. Get dividers so that, like the notebook, the "active storage binder" can hold more than one subject at a time.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:38 PM on November 18, 2008


Another place to ask this question is on the Every Day Carry forums. It's an entire website devoted to this sort of thing.
posted by zamboni at 1:41 PM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Coconuts are pretty un-crushable. You'd need to bring a tool to open them with but it sounds like that would be okay. And when you're done eating the yummy high-energy coconut flesh, you'll be able to use the coconut shells to make that really cool clip-clop noise.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 2:26 PM on November 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


You can easily open a coconut with a swift knock or two against a stone surface. A marble floor, or a roadside curb will both accomplish this.
posted by paisley henosis at 3:45 PM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hello friend.

I do not carry a massive number of books to college classes, but I do pack 12 to 14 liters of water and a small tent into long (very long) desert hikes. Water is large, bulky and heavy - but hyponatremia is deadly - so I feel some of your pain. I'm going to approach this question as I would should someone ask how to bring sufficient water for a five-day still hike in the Negev while maintaining sufficient calorie intake.

First of all, I would remind you that you can stuff some Emergen-C packets in those small crevices in your bag and get some electrolytes and other useful salts and vitamins in your body without having to carry around cans of pre-mixed liquid.

Canned meat is an excellent, high-calorie source of salts and lipids and does not need to be heated. It can be digested more quickly than jerkey and does not require additional liquids to make it palatable. I recommend one or two cans of canned corn beef. An empty 35-millimeter film container stuffed with Crisco mixed up with hot cocoa powder can be dropped into hot water to provide rapid nourishment.

I hunt on the trail - looking for lizards, rodents, anything carrying meat on its delicious little body - this doesn't seem like a viable option for you. I will, on occasion, use a caulk-gun to pack an empty toothpaste tube with peanut butter or regular butter. Toothpaste tubes are very durable but prone to freezing at night. Remember - crickets, grasshoppers (once you squeeze the brown, tarry liquid out of them), and termites are all excellent protein sources and taste ok. Small frogs can be swallowed whole.

Alternatively, you could try stealing a grocery cart from the store and push your stuff around in that. But that might set you on a path of darkness. Just some thoughts.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 4:07 PM on November 18, 2008 [22 favorites]


Nthing the recommendation to get a new bag. When I worked at a CC a few years back, it looked like every 2nd person had one of those rolling backpacks, or a rolling carry-on bag, or something.

Oh! I just remembered that I got my carry-on suitcase at Goodwill, and it's actually in great condition. You might try whatever 2ndhand stores are available for a backpack or small suitcase. (That might also be a good source of tupperware or other bento-like options.)

If you can buy tea in the cafeteria, you might be able to use that hot water for oatmeal, ramen, etc. instead.

I love hard-boiled eggs as a pick-me-up snack. Jelly beans are good for insta-sugar, which sometimes hits the spot. I don't care for Ensure at all, but I know folks who like it in situations where they don't want solid food. And it's probably going to be a more dense source of calories than the Slimfast.

It may seem like people are piling on with telling you to leave stuff at home or get a new bag, but I think for a lot of us it's the voice of experience. I feel ya about the lousy options at your school; where I worked, there was the cafeteria, or some overpriced junk in the bookstore. A grocery store was a half-hour walk, and no fast-food or anything w/in walking distance. (Heck, in the summertime between classes, the only option was the vending machine.) If you can be flexible, you may get to an option that really works for the long run.
posted by epersonae at 4:21 PM on November 18, 2008


the Banana Bunker, ribbed for your pleasure
posted by MeowForMangoes at 4:42 PM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Instant Oatmeal packets work pretty well. There has to be a place on campus where you can get a disposable cup, plastic spoon and hot water.
posted by spec80 at 5:27 PM on November 18, 2008


You know, you dismissed sandwiches as too squishable, but I've eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that were squished into little cylinders (I'd been carrying them in my pockets...long story) and they were still perfectly edible and nutritious. Not to mention, there's not much food out there cheaper than barebones pb&j. I also used to bring almonds to school, and yes, 2nding whoever above said Emergen-C. I swear by the stuff.

I think also an avenue you could explore would be getting smaller clothes. There are all manner of weird clothes made for backpackers and sailors that squish up into nothing and are warmer than you could possibly imagine.

As far as lockers - my school didn't have real lockers, but what they did have was an enforced locker policy at the bookstore where you had to put your bag in a locker when you shopped for books so they knew you weren't shoplifting. Et voila, free storage - they gave back your quarter when you returned the key. This didn't occur to me as an awesomely viable option until senior year, so I thought I would mention it as something to look into.
posted by crinklebat at 7:03 PM on November 18, 2008


Oh, god, also! In high school my friend bought me this container at the store that was specifically meant for toddlers to keep their Cheerios. I was in the habit at the time of bringing Cheerios as a snack to school (I had a very long commute, so ended up eating a second breakfast at school to keep me going until lunch) and it was a magnificent find. Cheerios are nutritious, filling, cheap, allllways on sale, and if you get a rigid container to keep them in, they won't get all crunched up. Plus you can have them in your bag for at least a couple weeks before they get so stale you won't want to eat them anymore.

I really feel for you - I used to carry not only a sweater and flashlight, but also a radio and a pocketknife, in my way-too-heavy school bag. I took the school bus for way too long in the morning to be able to predict the weather, so from about September through May I also brought this little tiny raincoat. When you're away form home for more than half your day you really do start carrying your life on your back...it's just something that ends up happening, no matter how hard you try to fight it.

Finally, I promise no more after this, but next time you're in the market for a bag get a Jansport. They really do honor that warranty...or they did when I was in high school. I got so many bags fixed and replaced because they couldn't take the abuse...
posted by crinklebat at 7:17 PM on November 18, 2008


Go to Army Navy store and get some MREs
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:55 PM on November 18, 2008


Given the criteria here; i.e., you can't live with less weight, I'd like to emphasize the suggestion I saw a couple of times above, get one of those carry-on bags with 2 wheels and a handle.
I have abused my back for 50 years and I can tell you this does not turn out well, ever. Putting all the weight on one side of your back especially doesn't turn out well in the long haul. (I have no feeling in 2 fingers and a thumb of one hand. It took decades to show up, but the damage is permanent.)
We have a lot of people at the office who use them for laptops, even though the laptop is not that heavy, because of all the other weight that ends up in there with them. I explain that because it makes a wonderful excuse. "My back is touchy, and I can't use a backpack". It may look a bit nerdy, but it'll protect your back over the long haul.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 10:39 AM on November 19, 2008


No help with what food to pack, but if you pack it in here I bet it wouldn't get squished - and I've seen these in Chinatown at much lower prices.
posted by Space Kitty at 10:25 PM on November 19, 2008


Those are usually called a tiffin box, or carrier. They're great, but they are also bulky, take up a lot of space when empty, and, while not heavy, aren't exactly light, either.

Generally in India, people carry these by the handle at their side, or with its own strap, so the issue of fitting it into something else is thus avoided.

I got some fantastic, very high quality sets in India for about 3UDS each, but prices on the internet seem to be 6x - 10x that much for indeterminate quality.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:32 PM on November 19, 2008


What's your location? If you're near SF, NYC, or other courier towns what you should do is hunt down a genuine custom made bike courier bag. They stitch them out of heavy vinyl/canvas banner material and seatbelts and stuff on an industrial sewing machine. Some of them will carry two entire boxes of copy paper, or three suitcases of beer. Wreck your back proper. Also: custom sub-pockets and dividers to order. To get one go to a courier hangout spot find a bike courier on break with a weird looking giant shoulder bag that looks like it's quilted together out of recycled printed billboard banners or something. Bribe them with fruit, powerbars, and/or a cold beer (and maybe a ten or twenty spot) and ask them who made the bag. Get a number or email, say hello and describe what you want in a bag and ask how much. Less pockets is cheaper.

Repair bags with a stout but sharp needle with a large eye using waxed dental floss as thread. You can use scraps of fabric or discarded straps or webbing from other bags as reinforcement tape. Use needlenose pliers or a glove to help push the needle if needed, and turn the pocket or bag inside out for access to the seam. With a little practice replacing zippers is easy, too.

Collect containers or smaller bags to help organize your bag. If you pay attention to the size of containers as related to your bag and the contents the containers are organizing - you can totally make a Tetris-like game out of it. Foodstuffs can go into a number of containers. A couple of Altoids tins are great for nuts and dried fruit, granola, etc, and won't smash or tear like plastic bags. Sandwich holders are worth it if you don't like a crushed sandwich. Also, care in packing and organizing goes a long way to protect the contents.

I strongly recommend a larger backpack. My favorite is actually a very plain, large cargo backpack with chest and hip straps with one giant main compartment, two huge side pockets and a big top pocket on the lid/cover. It's like a modern but still plain and very large cargo rucksack. It has a pair of compression straps. The bag can shrink or grow around the contents - which is key to good packing, a bit of slack and give left in the bag or backpack. Even though I could go camping with this bag, it shrinks down to about the size of an average student's bookbag-style backpack and can be lightly cinched down on the contents to help stabilize things.

But the real key is subdividing things inside this adjustable large bag into smaller individual bags. For me this would usually be my small camera/shoulder bag, a small lunch bag, and a laptop case (if my laptop was working) with the jacket and other spare clothes loose in the bag.

For you, books and notebooks could go as is into your shoulder bag, or into a slimmer bookbag or folio, or just pack less stuff in the bag you have, and distribute pens, tools and other such supplies into a smaller dedicated bag. Food can go in a small flexible lunch bag or other suitable container. Jackets and spare clothes can go loose into the main backpack around the smaller bags or side pockets. Food also fares well in these side pockets in the larger main bag, especially if padded by a scarf, hat or gloves.

And that is a shopping list, I suppose. Hit up thrift stores and flea markets. Get creative. That's how I get my stuff, and I live on a students budget. Learn to repair your gear. Saves money. :)

And I know I'm not answering your question about food directly - yet - but if you do some or all of the above you can carry almost any food you like, including hot soup in a thermos or coffee in a flask, that sort of thing.

So, cheap, portable durable food:

Frozen burritos. When I was in art school I'd carry them in my back pocket, even sit on them. By lunchtime they wouldn't exactly be warm, but edible. There's also a lot of frozen stuff that's edible thawed, wraps and pockets and pizzas and stuff.

Get a metal vacuum flask. Get two. Plastic thermos stuff sucks. You can get a metal one for coffee, but take off the whole top to pour soup instead of using the spout else you'll have to take it apart to clean it. Put in: Very hot soup, stew, tea, chili. You can even do hot oatmeal or cereal in hot milk or plain water, with cinnamon and/or sugar, but don't overdo the cereal to hot liquids. Keep it about milkshake thickness so you can just drink it from the flask, or at least thin enough to pour/shake into the cup. Bonus: portable coffee from home.

If you have access to an oven or microwave at home you can make granola, granola bars, cereal bars. Powerbars or Clif bars and the like by the case are pretty cheap. Also, powerbars are better smashed, especially when warmed in a back pocket. Snickers bars are pretty unsmashable. So is hard candy and dark chocolate, or chocolate or yogurt covered fruit and nuts.

Apples. Carrots. Celery. Cucumber. Pickles - big ones. Oranges. Hicama/Jicama slices. Cheese. Walnuts, almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds. Raisins and other dried fruit.

Beef jerky. Bison jerky. Whatever-jerky. Kippered beef steak jerky. They're all dried meat planks shingles - just keep them dry and chew when hungry. Tinned meat or fish. Canned goods and a can opener. Baked beans, stew or chili is ok cold out of the can, and you can toss the can and just bring the spoon home. I don't recommend it, but you could develop a taste for SPAM or Vienna Sausages. Or tinned sardines or oysters. If you can find MREs cheap at a surplus store they're indestructible, and some sorts are self-heating.
posted by loquacious at 4:23 AM on November 20, 2008


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