Tips for storing meals of perishable food portably and safely
March 20, 2014 8:35 AM   Subscribe

I need a way to give my girlfriend lots of good food that she can eat on the go as she travels to another state for an athletic competition.

This is a special snowflake question, but I've tried to phrase it in a way that will allow it to be useful generally should anyone face a similar situation in the future.

In a couple weeks, my girlfriend will be headed out of town to compete in an athletic competition. Her sport is done in short bursts with long breaks in between. Before we started dating, she had resigned herself to eating suboptimal foods like candy bars and crackers in these breaks to refuel. Once we started dating, I started to make her proper meals that she could eat -- turkey, vegetables, etc. She loves this practice and believes it helps her compete.

Now, it's been easy to do this so far, as I was always able to come with her to watch her compete, support her, and bring the meals in a lunch pail for her consumption as needed. The day-of lunch pail approach is great, but I won't be able to join her on her journey out-of-state for this competition. Now I'm wondering if this will be possible when I have to prepare the meals a day or two in advance of her eating them.

So, my question is: How can I prepare and package good meals for my girlfriend that will stay good through a flight in a checked bag and over a 2-day period. Is this possible? If not, what could I do as an alternative?

Any help would be appreciated, and please don't hesitate to ask clarifying questions if they would help you help me.
posted by Ephemeral10 to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Foods that have lasted fine out of refrigeration for a couple-three days:

- Nuts
- String cheese/cheese in wax/very aged cheese (like a 3- or 5-year gouda; not cheap but delicious)
- beef or turkey jerky
- small pop-top cans of tuna
- individual containers of hummus
- hard boiled eggs in the shell
- celery and carrots (if you leave them pretty un-chopped up, they'll last longer)
posted by rtha at 8:41 AM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is exactly the situation I face. Here are the things I bring that can survive being kept at room temp:

-Baby carrots and a tin of sardines packed in olive oil, or these Rain Coast ones packed in different sauces
-Apple and single-serving packet of peanut butter (squirt on apple, take a bite, repeat)
-Can of Amy's medium vegetarian chili, straight out of the can. I know this sounds gross but if you eat it cold it's pretty much like a spicy bean salad.
- Beef jerky and raw vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, celery)
- Baby Bel cheese, rice crackers, apple
- Salmon jerky (this is so chewy that I just have it on its own, it's ridiculous trying to eat it like a normal food)
posted by HotToddy at 9:53 AM on March 20, 2014

Another thing to add is individual cups of peanut butter.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:56 AM on March 20, 2014

Is weight an issue? We live far away from home and have visitors bring us some favorite foods packed in a soft sided cooler and those large blue ice packs. Meat is kept ice cold for 12 hours. If her hotel room has a mini fridge she can always refreze the ice packs each night.
posted by saradarlin at 12:00 PM on March 20, 2014

Check out these posts from the Kitchn:
- Great Make-Ahead Foods for a Camping Trip?
- Help! I Need Meal Ideas for a 4-Day Train Trip!
- Tips for Lunches That Can Be Left Unrefrigerated
- Reader Intelligence: No-Refrigerate, No-Reheat Lunches?
- Ideas for Real Meals I Can Make in a Hotel Room?
Lots of ideas/suggestions in the comment threads.

Also, you are a sweetheart.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 2:51 PM on March 21, 2014

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