I've made my meals.. Now what?
Packing is one of the most difficult parts of meal prepping as a flight attendant, in my humble opinion. You've taken all this time and effort into making these healthy delicious meals, and now you have to figure out how to keep it from going bad for your trip. Below are my trip tips and ideas on how you can keep your food cold, pack it well, and even heat it up on those layovers that you decide you just don't feel like leaving your room to get to a microwave!
First and foremost, find a good lunchbox. Mine is a big Luggage Works because I pack for my entire trip. It has an upper compartment, a cooler, and a lower compartment, as well as a forward compartment. I put all of my non-perishable snacks and spices in the upper compartment. This ranges from boxed organic soups, bone broth, cayenne pepper, turmeric, tuna packets, etc. These are things that I typically don't ever unpack, unless I'm about to consume it. I also have my fork and knife in there, which are re-usable.
In the cooler, I put all of my perishable foods. I have found several different lightweight and re-usable containers that I can typically finagle into the cooler. Sometimes, this takes getting a little creative!
In the lowest compartment, if I am going on longer than a 3 day trip or my food containers just won't fit in the cooler, I'll add another ice pack and put the remainder in there. I usually don't have to do this, but it's nice to have the option! If I am not putting more meals in, then the lower compartment fits my Hot Logic perfectly (we will talk more about the Hot Logic a little later).
In the forward smallest compartment, I have Ziploc bags (just in case I am really struggling to find something to put ice in), LOTS of aluminum foil (for heating in aircraft ovens), and extra napkins. Believe it or not, I use all of these things frequently.
I start each trip off with two small ice packs. These are usually okay throughout my trip, as many of our hotels have refrigerators with coolers that keep them frozen. But just in case, I always have a headache sack as well. These are great because they don't leak as easily as the Ziploc bags do, and they usually don't take up much space. I used to be SO against these because they were bulky, but TJ Maxx had some nice little baby ones that I just had to get! And they've worked out wonderfully.
For my containers, I use literally everything I can get my hands on. I absolutely love getting meal prep containers from Costco for larger meals, and for soups I use either leftover take-out containers, or you can buy some off of Amazon. They are also great for freezing portioned meals and heating in the microwave when they are ready to be eaten. Many of them also stack together well, so this is always a plus!
Lastly, the Hot Logic. I LOVE my Hot Logic. Thankfully I haven't had to use it too much on recent trips, but every so often, I am just not in the mood to put real clothes on and go meandering around the hotel looking for a microwave. The Hot Logic does take a little bit of time to fully and evenly heat your food- about an hour (it is technically a slow-cooker, after all). But I usually use that time to get a workout in, take a shower, maybe do my hair, or whatever. By the time this is done, my food is ready! It's light weight, packs down easily, and so convenient. Especially when it comes to those hotels that don't have a microwave for use!
I know this was a lengthy post, but if you have any questions, drop them in the comments below! Happy flying, you wonderful flight attendants!