Top | The Culinate 8

Food to go

(article, Caroline Cummins)

Sometimes a good home-cooked meal just ain't in the offing. Here are our suggestions for ways to still eat well when you're on the move, and how to tote the leftovers afterward.


#(n1). At the store. If you can, avoid those pricey pre-packaged, pre-sliced, pre-cut whatevers that grocery stores love to sell to hapless customers, like premade fruit salad or cheese-and-crackers combos. Buy whole fruit or a block of cheese and a box of crackers. 

#(n2). In the terminal. Didn't have the time or foodstuffs available to bring your own meals for that plane trip? Try to buy something before going through security; once you're trapped behind the security gates, the variety and quality of foods available drops dramatically. 

#(n3). At the restaurant, part 1. If the menu is vague, it's perfectly acceptable to ask about it: How big is an entrée? Is it gluten-free? Is it vegetarian? Keep in mind that the trickiest part of eating out (especially at a new place) is figuring out how much to order — and trying not to eat too much.

#(n4).[%image reference-image float='clear right' width=350 credit="Photo: iStockphoto/fstop123" caption="Make your own snacks and tote them yourself."]At the restaurant, part 2. OK, so maybe it's pushing eco-geekdom to bring your own container for leftovers to a restaurant. But check out what the dining establishment offers you: paper, plastic, or (ugh) Styrofoam? At the very least, ask (politely, of course) if they have recycled paper containers — or might consider switching to them in the future. 

#(n5). On the road. This may sound obvious, but it does require planning: Bring your own lunch to work, school, wherever. Plan ahead so you'll have leftovers. And given that decent food is hard to come by on the road, pack your own for that road trip, train commute, or cross-country flight.

#(n6). In the home. The Tupperware ladies got here long, long ago. Buy a set of reusable containers and use them for all those home-cooked leftovers. (And be careful what you microwave in plastic, too.)

#(n7). Chill that cooler. If you're going to tote cold foods for any serious length of time, buy reusable ice packs that you can chill over and over again. The packs will save you the trouble and expense of buying bagged ice, not to mention the mess of draining a water-filled cooler.

#(n8). Get baggy. Don't schlep your lunch around in brown paper bags; they're so old school, not to mention wasteful. Buy a reusable lunch bag that keeps cold foods cold (or hot foods hot) and can be easily washed when stained.


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