Eating healthy while in the field
September 20, 2016 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Meal suggestions: I've got two weeks of work "in the field" ahead and I need small, portable, plant-based meals for a) room temperature and b) heat.

Suggest me your meals. I am trying to lose weight (yay!). I am traveling for work (yay!). I need to combine the two! Vegan meals are preferred. I will eat meat and cheese in small quantities, but I will not eat eggs.

On some days, I will be able to store things at room temperature. On other days, I will need something that I can carry with me in the heat.

I am willing to purchase pretty much anything that will let me eat well while I'm there. I am currently in the continental US and have Amazon Prime. I'll be in Puerto Rico; there is access to fresh vegetables, but I will not have Amazon there.

I will have access to a kitchen, but I will have very limited time/energy to prepare meals. For some days, I will need to carry all my meals and snacks for a day. I will not be able to prepare or heat food once I have left for the day.
posted by quadrilaterals to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Go Picnic has all sorts of shelf stable and filling snacks, with vegan and vegetarian options.

The individually packaged meals might be too much bulk, but you can look through their individual snacks. You can order their stuff (both the full meals and the individual snacks) through Prime.
posted by damayanti at 11:07 AM on September 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was just coming in to say GoPicnic.
posted by Fig at 11:10 AM on September 20, 2016

Could you carry a thermos of hot water with you? When we backpack, we eat a lot of black beans and lentil soup from Fantastic Foods. Eat the former with tortillas and add dried mushrooms and curry powder to the latter.
posted by juliapangolin at 11:22 AM on September 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

You've got a refrigerator for overnight storage; so another question is how much tolerance you have for eating things at room temperature that you would, at home, store in the refrigerator. I never refrigerate my sack lunches; if I were working in a hot environment, I'd probably store them in an insulated lunch sack instead of leaving it in my purse. So, portable and okay at room temperature = wrap sandiwches. Bean burritos are awesome room temp, in my opinion. Are you staying in town? Stop by a restaurant and pick up takeout beans and rice and cooked greens or whatever vegetables they serve; or ideally look for a good hot food bar sold by the kilo/lb where you can set your own balance of carbs and vegetables. Load that up into giant tortillas and wrap tightly in Saran wrap. Stack in fridge. Pull two out, put into insulated lunch bag with a bottle of water that you've left in the freezer. Eat one for lunch, with an apple; eat the other for dinner, and drink the bottle of water. Exactly what you fill the sandwiches with varies according to your personal definition of "eat well" and what your preferred protein source is, but you've got a lot of flexibility. The advantage of vegan food is that it really won't spoil in an 8hr day out of the fridge.
posted by aimedwander at 11:33 AM on September 20, 2016

If you can get your hands on some chickpea flour, you could try making these or these. Pretty high in protein, you can eat at room temp no prob. If you make em thin, like the indian-style, you can fold them over and stuff them. Easy and quick to make, too --- either version, you pretty much just add you flavorings to the flour, add enough water to make a batter, then pour into a hot pan and cook until brown on both sides. Should be do-able even in a pretty basic kitchen.
posted by Diablevert at 11:48 AM on September 20, 2016

My favorite field snack is a brick of ramen noodles with the powder sprinkled over the end as I eat it. You can crunch it up and mix in the seasoning first if you want to share. Salty = good for helping you stay hydrated.

I find that if it's hot, I do better with packing a bunch of snacks rather than a whole meal, it's hard to eat a whole meal in the heat. So, apples, peanut butter, Clif bar, ramen, crackers, maybe celery or carrots or dried fruit. Soy jerky (e.g. primal strips) is a good vegan protein-y thing. Maybe individual shelf-stable hummus packs?Powdered hummus? The snack model is also good if sharing stuff is part of your field culture.
posted by momus_window at 12:49 PM on September 20, 2016

You will have a lot more options if you can bring or will have access to a cooler and ice. With a cooler, you can bring sandwiches, leftovers, etc.

Otherwise, you need things that don't spoil, unless you are one of those cast-iron stomach people who can eat a tuna sandwich that has been left in the sun for three days. In the field but with no cooler, I tend to eat a lot of granola bars, jerky and other cured meat, foil packets of tuna, chips and crackers, and sandwiches like PB&J that don't need refrigeration. It's not exciting or probably the healthiest, but this is short term, not permanent.

Field work is the most miserable time possible to get a stomach bug; I'd suggest being at least somewhat careful about food handling but everyone has a different risk/reward calculation for that.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:37 PM on September 20, 2016

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