food packaging for the day

Ok here’s my dilemma. I’m in a research based Ph.D. program. I work in a lab all day - a lab that says no food or drink allowed, no matter the food or drink. Plus, we have a tiny fridge that fits basically my Eddie Bauer lunch carrier thingy and a few other lunches. I was wondering how everyone meets their meal and protein requirements during the day. Since I am in this lab working, it is hard to get away for 5 minutes to get some grub. I don’t want to have to purchase a bunch of RTD’s because that’s expensive as hell. So how does everyone meet their food and protein requirements for the day?

I appreciate all your help.

One more bit of info - I don’t think I’m allowed bringing a cooler either, for safety reasons and space reasons, plus I ride the shuttle bus, and a cooler would take up too much room.



You can get away with not refridgerating your early in the day stuff in most scenarios. Why not do that and then stick with beef jerky and protein powders later in the day?

I’m pretty much in the same boat. I’m working on a Ph D in chemistry, and I’m in the lab 10-12 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. We also have a small refridgerator. I normally bring a tupperware container full of chicken and a container full of rice and stick those in the fridge. I keep tuna, jerky, and nuts at my desk.

The problem I run into is that we get paid very little AND are not allowed to get an outside job. Therefore, some weeks I can’t eat as much as I need to.

Im lucky that i work in an office with a kitchen on our floor. I keep a tub of whey there but anyway sometimes when im in a meeting which can last 3 hours and i need some protein/food i excuse myself to the toilet (opposite the ktichen) (I used to do the same in Electronics Labs at university when we were in there for 8 hours)
and get some food. At the office i will go to the kitchen and mix some whey and drink it down, At uni i’d have a protein bar or a small pre mixed whey shake in a bottle and drink/eat it on the way to and back from the “Toilet” :slight_smile:

Can a few of you buy another refrigerator together? There are some small and cheap ones at Costco, etc.

You can buy small insulated containers that you can put lots of food in as well as an ice pack. They come in all different sizes and are very convenient. Forget about the cooler. You seem to have a lot of reasons why you can’t do what you need to do. We all encounter adversity like this at one time or another.

Hi JWright,

I am in the same kind of situation as you. My research confines me to the lab for sometimes 12 hours at a time.

Some of the meals I make do need to be refrigerated such as the chicken and rice, and yogurt/ cottage cheese mixtures, but I do have some meals that aren’t. Here are a few examples that you can use when you can get outside the lab for a few mintues and eat your food.

  1. Whey powder with Dry Cereal: I take a small shaker cup and put in a pre-measured amount of dry whey powder. Then in another container (a ziploc bowl)I put in my dry cereal. I like to mix some Fiber One cereal with Puffed Rice cereal to increase the bulk of the cereal since a serving of Fiber One is very small. So, then when I get outside the lab I get some water from the fountain and mix up my whey and then pour it over my cereal… and eat! It works.

  2. Tuna sandwiches: You can take an un-opened can of tuna to school (which doesnt need refrigeration, obviously) and 2-4 slices of sprouted whole grain bread (it’s higher in protein than regular bread). I keep these in my locker with some individual packages of ketchup, mustard, and light mayo, and a CAN OPENER- very necessary for the tuna…it’s hard to open it without that). So, you just open the tuna, mix it with some of the condiments, put it on the bread, and eat!

  3. Canned Salmon, Cashews and Raw Veggies: Same idea as the tuna. Keep it in your locker. The veggies can be kept unrefrigerated for quite a few hours without going bad. Broccoli, Caulifower, Cucumbers, Radishes, Mushrooms and Celery work good. And the cashew nuts are also non-perishable. You can keep a whole stack in your locker at all times!

  4. Grow pudding: Put your dry Grow (either Lo Carb or Regular) into a container – ziploc bowl etc. Then hit a water fountain when you are ready to eat it. Add just enough water to make a pudding-like consistancy and enjoy. You can throw in some nuts for a P+F meal or eat with rice cakes, rice thin crakers, or triscuits for a P+C meal (these are all made without flour).

K, thats a few for now, I’ll type more later. I’ve got to get back to work.

Hope this is helpful.


You can also buy dry-packed packets of tuna so you don’t need a can opener, there is no water to drain and you don’t need refrigeration. Each package is only 3 oz. each, so you’ll have to bring a stash. This item was featured in a past “Stuff We Like” column. I bring several of these with me to my PL meets, along with cooked rice, vegies (bags of baby carrots) and fruit, to eat during a long day.

JWright…haven’t seen you for a while!

I don’t know about your lab but I bring 5 meals to my lab, plus my during and postworkout drinks in my backpack next to my desk (not my lab bench or patch setup, but my workdesk). For the mostpart I haven’t had much trouble keeping chicken, salmon, or other stuff that doesn’t contain dairy in my bag until I can nuke it in the microwave. I also keep a bottle of flax oil in the fridge for my P+F meals in the evening. Also, jerky, nuts, avocado’s and the like are packed with calories, and can be quickly eaten. If your lab setup is much like mine you can get away with analyzing data at while your eating your meal.

Grow bars, beef jerky, mrps ziplocked, canned tuna/salmon/chicken, canned nuts, granola mix, and casien and whey in ziplock.

Oh ya…JB had a salmon pattie article in one of his articles. Stinks up the lab when reheated but who gives a shit. When you have to go through the door sideways no one will question/comment.

Leave the cooler at work, and bring a new icepak and new food containers on the shuttle. Then just chuck it in the cooler when you get there.

Everyone should be able to find 5 minutes to drink a protein drink or eat a sandwich during work… do you pee into a cup, too, or do they let you “go”?

if your workplace is THAT intense that you can’t make yourself a little break, just admit that your career comes before your training. Nothing wrong with that!!!

I personally like to mix my own protein drinks and have them ready to go. Cheaper than a pre-fab RTD, and I can make it the way I want, for the most part. Even creatine should be okay for much of the day, in a drink.

ND - In the last 2 months I’ve graduated college, moved home from college, went on vacation, moved again to St. Louis and started graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis. It’s been a rough 2 months, but my schedule is back on track now, lifting and all.

Whoever said the tun packets is right on target, as I have purchased some of those. The only problem is that they are so damn expensive compared to canned tuna. I have no problem taking a can opener to work and draining the tuna. Anyone know if you buy these things in bulk, i.e. at Sam’s, Costco, etc., that they are cheaper than just at a normal grocery store?

Thanks for all the tips!!

A product that may help you out in this situation is Beverly Mass Amino tablets. Each pill contains 1.25 grams of protein(casein hydrolysate). You could put a bunch in a sandwich baggy, and chug a few at the water fountain.
A bottle of 500 cost about $32 at some online stores, so the price is pretty comparable to powders, and it is more convenient.
note: I am reposting this, hope I don’t “double post”

Reading all that just makes me mad. I hate when employers try and treat employees like slaves. If they’re not going to pay you enough and put all sort of restrictions on you I’d start raising some chickens or something in a cage in the corner. Bring in some plant pots and grow corn in one, tubers in another, maybe a couple fruit trees.

Sucks to be paying the dues I guess, I paid mine. Good luck to you all.

Well, I work in a lab with an opthalmalogist and we work on human tissue, so the lab has to be clean. Plus, I’m doing molecular work, so if anything gets in the way, 2-3 days of work could be shot to shit because I decided to get whey protein on my gloves. It’s not that my employer sucks or drives slaves, it’s that the work I do requires me to be watchful - melanoma cancer pathways and cell death. I’m going to go get a bunch of gatorade bottles and drink them, clean them up real good, and then take whey into work in 2-3 of these every day. Think this will work?

I’m having problems with late night cravings. Any easy solutions?