How To Keep Lunch cold Without Refrigeration? As anyone who has ever been in the foodservice industry knows, keeping hot food hot and cold food cold can be an extremely challenging task when there’s no refrigeration present. So if you have to be at the office or anywhere else during lunchtime, how can you ensure that your food will remain safe and fresh?
While it’s nearly impossible to eat lunch out of the refrigerator at work, on vacation, or any other time, that doesn’t mean you have to eat food that’s gone bad or give up your midday meal altogether.
Whether you’re eating at your desk, on the road, or taking your lunch to school or work, keeping your food cold while staying within budget isn’t always easy.
Fortunately, there are several ways to keep your lunch cold without using a refrigerator—and most of them don’t even cost money! Here are 10 ways to keep your lunch cold without refrigeration.
10. Deep Freezer
If you have access to a freezer, then put your lunch in it. If not, try one of these other tips.
Deep Freeze: Put your food in airtight plastic containers and deep freeze it for at least 24 hours before packing it up for lunch.
This will work best if you plan ahead so you can have ample space in your freezer before placing food in there.
Also, be sure to pack away things that will freeze together so you can leave room for everything else.
9. Use Ice Packs
Ice packs are inexpensive and simple to use. They’re also more sanitary than an ice bucket because they don’t come into contact with water or other materials.
You can also look for containers with special inserts for cold-pack use. Ice packs should be enough to keep food cool through part of your commute at least and definitely long enough until you get back into an air-conditioned space at work or home again.
8. Freeze your meals
When you bring your lunch, freeze it before packing it up in your bag. This way, if you forget about it or want to take a nap, you’ll be able to put your food back in without having to worry about bacteria from sitting out too long.
However, don’t let your food go through multiple freeze/thaw cycles—it won’t have as long of shelf life!
If you have prepared and refrigerated your food, then there’s no need to worry about keeping it cool for lunchtime. Preparing meals in advance means you can package them up and put them in your freezer.
By noon, when it’s time for lunch, take out what you want and put it back in your desk or bag if you want to keep it cold. It will keep until dinner time – even if it’s left at room temperature.
Reheating food is also not a problem with frozen foods as they were cooled before being put in the freezer so they won’t spoil quickly upon reheating.
7. Use Bento Boxes
Bento boxes are designed with separate containers so you can compartmentalize your lunch. Foods that can easily spoil, like eggs or meat, should be placed in their own container so they stay fresh.
Most bento boxes come with at least one thermal container for keeping food cool, but some include multiple compartments for various foods.
Choosing a model with a few removable trays that fit together is more versatile than those with only one tray, and you’ll have fewer chances of losing items.
If it’s convenient and affordable to do so, you might also consider packing certain foods separately from others—not just to keep them cold but also so they don’t get smashed or mixed up with other items in your ba
6. Use Thermos Containers
Using thermal containers will help keep your lunch cold even if you’re away from a refrigerator.
They’re not limited to just keeping things cold;
they can also be used for keeping warm foods at safe temperatures.
Also, their design makes them easy to transport and eat out of. A good tip is using double-walled thermos containers for maximum insulation purposes
5. Keep it wrapped up
An airtight container is ideal for packing your lunch. If you don’t have one on hand, try using aluminum foil or plastic wrap; although these methods can be a little trickier, they do help your food stay fresh.
Just make sure that whatever you use is clean, tight-fitting, and doesn’t contain holes (plastic wrap works especially well).
For example, if you pack leftovers from dinner in an airtight container and then seal it with plastic wrap or tin foil, it should stay cold for up to two days in a cool place.
According to Cornell University Cooperative Extension:
These properties of heat transfer (conduction, convection, and radiation) require several conditions before food will maintain its quality when stored in an insulated container
4. Use Ice in Multiple Places
When it comes to keeping your lunch cold, ice is one of your best friends. If you have some frozen water bottles handy, you can throw them in your bag and put them in between layers of food to keep everything from spoiling.
The safest way to keep your lunch cold without having a refrigerator around is by using ice.
It keeps food cool for hours, and you can pick up a few bags of it at any grocery store or gas station. Just make sure you transfer your food from its original container into another container so it’s easier to carry.
Avoid putting ice directly on your food—your lunch will get soggy in no time. Another bonus with using ice: no refrigeration is required
3. Invest in Food Containers
The first way to keep your lunch cold is by using proper food containers.
For example, when you put your sandwich in a plastic bag, it can warm up quickly;
so putting that same sandwich in an insulated container made of thick foam or aluminum can help with keeping your food cold and fresh.
Another great choice would be stainless steel containers with vacuum insulation – they are widely available and very affordable.
To keep cold foods cold you should use vacuum insulated containers. Not only do they come in various sizes but also there are travel cups for coffee lovers too.
The best thing about these kinds of food containers is that no matter what type of food you put inside them (cold or hot), they will maintain their temperature for hours at a time without losing any flavor.
2. Consider Thermos Containers
There are some foods that won’t spoil if they get warm. Sandwiches and meats are often safe for up to two hours at room temperature. To keep them cold, buy or borrow a thermos from home.
If you don’t have one handy, look for an insulated container in your office kitchen or ask around—somebody might have something you can use until you can buy your own.
For longer periods of time when you’re not going to be able to bring a thermos with you, be sure and get fresh deli meats and other ingredients so that it doesn’t matter if they get warm by lunchtime.
Just because food is cold once it leaves your refrigerator doesn’t mean it will stay that way!
1. Use Water Bottles Keep Lunch cold Without Refrigeration
The easiest and cheapest way to keep your lunch cool is by packing it in a water bottle. This also means you’ll be drinking plenty of water throughout your day, which is never a bad thing.
A single bottle can cost as little as $1, so if you’re really on a budget or worried about safety and sanitation, you can buy bulk supplies of plastic bottles at dollar stores and discount retailers like TJ Maxx and Ross.
Although it might not be as cold as your refrigerator, your water bottle can help keep food cool.
If you don’t have a cooler available, fill up your water bottle with ice from your office kitchen or use it in combination with another packable way to keep things cool: frozen gel packs.
If you want something stylish and reusable, look for insulated stainless steel bottles that you can take with you everywhere.
Conclusion Keep Lunch cold Without Refrigeration
In general, the major obstacle to keeping any food cold is having access to a refrigerator, which isn’t something most people have in abundance.
But if you’re looking for new and creative ways to cool your food without adding work to your schedule or breaking the bank, try one or all of these methods to see how they work for you.
You might be surprised at how effective they are!
We hope you enjoyed our article about how to keep lunch cold without refrigeration.
If you have any other questions or concerns about keeping food cold without a refrigerator, please contact us anytime.
Thank you for reading, we are always excited when one of our posts is able to provide useful information on a topic like this!