Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
May 20, 2005 12:00 PM

I need work snack ideas

  • l

My husband works overnights and 12-hour shifts, and frequently eats all his meals away from home. We've been relying too heavily on bought granola bars and fruit bars recently, and I'm trying to come up with a bunch of extras.

We're broke and don't have huge amounts of time, so everything has to be cheap, store well (either shelf-stable or freezable) and if homemade I'd prefer to make lots and lots. He's not a chowhound, and dislikes dried fruit, muffins, cake, and onions. Also, it must not need heating or cooling- no fridge or microwave. He has a thermos, and I send him with soup and stew, but i need more cold options.

So far, I've got pizza buns, trail mix, fruit, maybe home-made granola bars if anyone has a recipe, lots of baby carrots and fruit. We already go through tons of sandwiches, but interesting, preferably freezable sandwich ideas would be great.

Thank you VERY much for any suggestions.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Hummus is a tasty and nutritious snack ... you can easily make it yourself with canned chickpeas which are very inexpensive...there are tons of recipes around for it and on this board. Tastes great on pita chips or celery.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Val

      Sorry! NOW I see that you said "no fridge" and I think hummus needs to be refrigerated...never mind!

      1. re: Val

        Naw...I bring it to work all the time in my thermal lunchbag with a little ice like a charm.

        How about wraps instead of sandwiches? Makes a nice change from having bread all the time.

        1. re: Cyndy

          On the flip side, a good soup thermos will keep food hot for several hours. You would need one with a wider opening than a usual thermos, and one that doesn't have the little pour spout. My mom used to pack me lunch in this because I hated cafeteria food and cold lunches. It keeps rice warm all day long if you don't open it and let heat escape. I've even put boiling water in to test it, gone to sleep, and woke up the next morning to almost-hot water.

          That way your husband could eat almost anything: rice, pasta, soup, etc. without fear of spoilage or cold food. Just get it really hot before you stick it in the thermos.

          1. re: nooodles

            You probably already know this, but its best to preheat thermos's by filling them with boiling water for 10-20 minutes before filling them.
            I could have posted this topic. I am in the exact same position. I'll be watching this thread.

    2. how about oatmeal cookies? they're pretty healthy and easy to freeze either baked or as raw blobs of dough. if you add raisins or nuts it can make variety.

      some pasta salads are good cold but don't need to be kept really cold.

      Not just granola bars, but a bag of granola is easy to make at home, there are pretty good recipes on he could mix this with yogurt if he doesn't mind room temperature yogurt... you can buy the bigger size at the store much cheaper than the individual sizes and then put them in plastic containers to take to work. this is also good to mix with fruit, especially berries which are coming into season.

      lasagne is nice at room temperature (imho) and easy to make in large batches. if he wants it hot it could go in a thermos, just squish it in, it still tastes good!

      I can't think of anything else right now. Hope that helps.

      1. If he can bring a thermos then he should be able to bring a small personal cooler. You know one of those 6-pack sized ones. Then he would be able to bring "cold" stuff.

        1. I never put my lunch in the refrigerator and so far I have not gotten sick. I think as long as you are not using anything risky like mayo, you can safely bring a lot of stuff to work. However I am kind of gross and like to eat my dinner leftovers and almost anything at room temperature.
          Even though your husband is not a chowhound, do you think he might like to try some nice salted edamame? My downstairs neighbor, who is not quite a chowhound either, has been sold on them. And they're fun to eat, which might provide a mild form of entertainment on those long shifts. Another snack that could be semi nutritious are lowfat Triscuits and topping of choice. Another good salt fix that's not a potato chip.

          4 Replies
          1. re: melon


            Your statement about mayonnaise is not correct. It is a highly acidic environment and not suitable for foodborne bacterial growth. This is a great example of an old wives tale.

            1. re: Evil Ronnie

              Sorry Ronnie, I posted my mayo speech before reading your post. You are of course totally correct but there may be some out their making their own mayonaise. The low pH, high saline content of homemade mayo maybe, but is not always, microbiologically safe over the long haul. But the attorneys from the commercial providers make damn sure the store bought stuff is.

            2. re: melon

              I eat everything lukewarm too!

              And I thought I was the only one :)

              1. re: melon

                Allow me to dispel another food myth. Commercial mayonaise DOES NOT "go bad." You can make a tuna salad sandwich, leave it on a picnic table in 120 degree F heat for 12 hours and the mayonaise is fine--you will of course, die from the tuna but the mayonaise is 100% safe to eat. This is because commercial mayonaise is prepared so that outside of intentional tampering, it is impossible for pathogens to be harbored in that environment.

                Does your jar of commercial mayonaise say EXPIRATON DATE or BEST IF USED BY on it? Best if used by is a quality assurance notation since the manufacturer wants you to eat it at it's peak flavor. You do not have to refrigerate after opening from a safety standpoint, but from a flavor standpoint. At a microbiological level, commercial mayonaise lasts indefinately. (Please post any counter arguments or questions about this by starting a new thread and I'll happily address them and cite sources. Thanks.)

              2. I just thought of pickles and olives also great snacks that really do not need refrigeration either.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Val

                  I do peanut butter and saltine crackers,nutella and graham crackers,potato sticks,sardines and crackers,also buttermilk in my thermos and crumble in leftover cornbread when I get ready to eat.