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mchangin 6:21am, 31 August 2013
Hello there, I'm Marcus and I just started working in an office, and if possible I'd like to minimize my spending on food (It costs me half my budget of $10/day to eat Lunch and if I swim at night, I'll probably be eating 3 meals outside.), so I thought to start making boxed lunches for the microwave and thought I'd come here to seek some pointers about the sort of stuff that can stand a night's storage and a whole morning of settling.

Currently I've got pasta which I'm thinking of stir-frying with onions, peas, curry powder and mushrooms, but I'm not really sure if mushrooms can last the morning after storage in a fridge.

Is there any another food item I should watch out for in terms of bacterial growth?
ColleenM 8 years ago
Keep the packed lunch in the fridge until you are ready to leave.
Put an ice pack in when you are going out the door.

Eat lunch.

Honestly, there's very little risk for eating anything you can cook yourself as long as you keep it cool. Lunches especially don't deteriorate between leaving the house in the morning and taking a mid-day break.
mchangin 8 years ago
ColleenM:

Oh okay, thanks for the advice. I didn't think there was much to worry with that method, I just don't pack lunches at all so things are really different when you bring food out for the whole day...
veggiebento 8 years ago
This isn't about safety, but I would not stir-fry pasta with the veggies. I would keep them separate until you're ready to eat them, then if you want to heat them prior to eating, put them together. Your flavors will work a lot better that way. Also, try using rice some instead of pasta. I use a rice cooker with a timer that I set up the night before. I set it to be finished cooking at 6:30 a.m. for my bentos at least 3 times a week. I bet the majority of the rice you see on this group is cooked in a rice cooker.

Colleen M is right, if you are able to refrigerate or use an ice gel pack, there's not much risk. I wouldn't do sushi with raw fish, but that's about the only thing.

Welcome to home packed lunches! I hope this group gives you inspiration. Try also the group Laptop Lunches for more American familiar food: www.flickr.com/groups/laptop_lunches/
ColleenM 8 years ago
Frankly, with bentos, I don't use ice packs OR refrigerate. Traditional recipes are pretty much safe without either cooling process.

In spite of my food-service training, which insists that everything be kept very hot or very cold continuously, packed lunches tend to get packed and toted and eaten without the benefit of refrigerators or ice packs. Even deviled eggs and tuna sandwiches aren't going to get overrun by bacteria in one morning.

I'll keep things hot or cold for flavor or texture reasons (milk and pudding just taste better to me cold), but vegetables, starches, and fruit and sandwich fillings (including mayonnaise) don't suddenly turn toxic in your desk drawer.
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