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My husband currently started serving on a jury for a federal case that is supposed to last between 8 and 12 weeks. Well, he is not reimbursed or paid for lunch and there is a mini fridge for all 14 jury members and no microwave. So, since Monday he's been going out to eat. This is going to cost us $25-$30 a week if he has to eat out every day.

I need some ideas for lunch that he can take that don't need refrigerated or microwaved. He normally takes a sandwich and doesn't like the idea of not keeping it refrigerated before eating.
 

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Can he use an ice pack in an insulated lunch bag? The bags are under $10 and totally worth the investment. Can he leave the lunch bag by the fridge or with his coat/jacket?

Can he use a thermos? Are there restrictions? Use the tall kind for soups, short stocky kinds for chunky soups, stews, hot pasta etc.
 

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Would he be more comfortable if you packed an insulated lunchbox with an ice pack in it? If you packed the lunch the night before--with the lunchbox in the fridge, then added the icepack first thing in the morning, that should keep everything cool.
 

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There is a locked jury room, so there are no restrictions as to what he can bring. I may see about the ice pack with insulated lunch bag idea.

Do thermos' really keep food hot for that long? I've never really tried them out.
 

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Do thermos' really keep food hot for that long? I've never really tried them out.
Yes to a point. Because the thermos itself is cold when you pour the soup or whatever in, the liquid does cool slightly. So either heat it a bit more than normal, or pour some hot water in the thermos to "pre-heat" it.
 

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Re: Thermos'....I find if you heat up the thermos beforehand and put in hot food (ie freshly cooked/nuked to hot) it keeps for a long while.

I usually preheat the thermos by pouring freshly boiled water from the kettle and let it sit with the lid on for 5-10mins before putting the hot food in. But don't go putting the thermos in the cold insulated lunch bag or it will reduce the thermos' heat retention factor.

I also find that the type of thermos with the stainless steel/metal insert vs the plastic more effective with heat retention.
 

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A sandwich will be fine for the few hours between when he takes it out of the fridge and lunch. But get him a cold pack if he needs reassuring.

Also consider:

peanutbutter crackers
apples or oranges
snack mixes with nuts
individual applesauce or jello cups

Is there a coffee bar or a water machine that dispenses hot water for tea? If so he can do instant soup or noodle cups.
 

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I agree with the other ideas posted......some good ones.

Before you go out and buy a 'new' insulated lunch bag BE SURE to check at the local thrift. Ours always have them and I have gotten all sizes at them. I have even been able to pick up the 'hard plastic' ice pack type things.

I, too, think he would be okay with something not refrig. from morning until noon.

I did it often when we had a jerk that would eat any lunch they liked; in the office where I worked......I kept my lunch at my desk!

Yeah...you need to get right on the 'take a lunch' thing or this could be a real budget buster!! GOOD LUCK!
 

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Eight to twelve weeks?? Good God - That would make me insane! And in our city, it's tough driving anywhere near the courthouse, so you're kind of forced to eat within walking distance or at the courthouse cafeteria.

I would indeed invest in a thermo. They do work, especially if you pre-heat them with boiling water. That opens up all kinds of hot dishes, leftovers and soups.

I resort to cheese, crackers and fruit when I'm in a similar situation (usually a jobsite with no facilities). Peanut butter sandwich is good only for three days and then I'm sick of peanut butter. A lot of fresh veggies and salads break up the monotony. Pre-peeled hard boiled eggs are good, too.

Good luck and tell him thank you for his service. 8 to 12 weeks - Seriously, I would be devising an escape plan.
 

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Seriously, I would be devising an escape plan.
:laugh: I agree JerryG..........and since it costs roughly $5 a day (at cheapest places) to park downtown.......and they, I think, give you all of $10 for serving (at my last notice)...........well,.............what a bargain!!
 

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I like taking chili in a thermos.....just heat it up in the morning and it's still nice and warm at lunch time. Occasionally I'll pack a little shredded cheese and chopped onion separately and add it at lunch time. I usually don't eat crackers, but they're a nice addition too.
 

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Oh gosh, I remember leaving my lunch in the locker in the sun at school when I was growing up - no ice packs, no insulated lunch bags - how did we all survive?

I like to recycle plastic water bottles by filling them up about 1/3 of the way with water, and freezing them. They add coldness to the lunch pack, and then you can put water in them and have a cold water bottle.

Remember that commercial mayo is actually a good thing to use in sandwiches - the acidity keeps food safer - don't believe the urban myths about its safety, it will be fine in sandwiches in an insulated lunch box. But also think about vinaigrettes instead of mayo for potato salad, for example.

I love my thermos and it works great for the four or so hours until lunch - soups, stews, etc really help make lunch more interesting. A friend puts in enchiladas into a heated thermos - I also use the hot water method and remember to put the inner cap on while doing this to preheat it too - and they stay warm enough. Obviously this is for the wide mouthed food jar type of thermos. Check out this great website, http://lunchinabox.net Another good one is http://veganlunchbox.blogspot.com
 

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I have a couple small metal thermos for my girls lunches and they both say it keeps things plenty warm enough at lunchtime. Sometimes in the winter I even put hot chocolate in there for my youngest since they have outdoor recess before she eats . But I also use a reusable ice pack in her lunch as well for when I give her yogurt which she loves and it keeps her juice cold. There is no a.c. in her school so she really looks forward to that cold drink at lunchtime. I put leftovers in the thermos , sometimes I put soup in there or even make her some fresh pasta in the morning and put it in there with a few pats of butter (this is one of her favs). My oldest likes nutrigrain bars and granola bars in her lunch or I peel a nice orange for her and throw that in as well. And to your husband for serving Thank You . For serving for 8 to 12 weeks? Wow, I would need to be medicated .
 

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Refrigerated cooler!

Something like this is worth considering, if he has a long-ish drive:

Thermoelectric Coolers | Electric Coolers | Thermoelectric Can Coolers | Coleman.com

We have 2 of the refrigerated coolers -- one we bought at WalMart ($70) about 5 years ago, and a very small one that we paid $3 for at the thrift store.

They have been good investments.

The only caution: don't leave it plugged in overnight; it will drain your battery.
 
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