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Ideas for ice packs in lunch boxes


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Usually when I pack a lunch for class, I tuck my lunch box under the passenger seat in my car and cross my fingers that my ice packs last the three hours in direct sunlight until I can get back to it.

However, I don't like plain old boring ice packs. They take up space. They're not really disposable. Blah!

 

I used to use Hi-C juices as ice packs.. Toss them in the freezer the night before, put them in my lunch box in the morning before I leave the house; they don't melt all over the place, and they're usually drink-able by the time I get to them... However, since I'm trying to watch what I eat now, Hi-Cs have a bit too much sugar to be doing that with.

I have two ideas so far, and if anybody else has other cool foods/drinks you can freeze, I'd appreciate knowing!

Idea 1: Capri Sun packs? I know they're not much healthier than Hi-C, but they are a BIT better (albeit cost a bit more), and also serve the purpose of a drink

Idea 2: Frozen carrots in a plastic baggy. However, I don't know at what temperature they'll be edible again, nor how well they'll actually keep the rest of my food cold. 

 

Help is appreciated! Thanks, CC. 

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why not just freeze a water bottle?

I soak a sponge, put it in a ziploc baggie and freeze it.  It works great and is lightweight!

Original Post by kelrantymus:

I agree with the water bottle idea or really, I guess I don't get the issue with ice packs. You say they're not "disposable" but you're bringing your lunchbox every day anyway so presumably, you also have to take it home...plus you have a car so it's not like you're carrying it around all day.

I'm confused.

THe problem with it is just that I have a lot of stuff to carry in (textbooks are heavy!) and even the small weight of an ice pack makes it worse.

I would LOVE to freeze a waterbottle, if I wasn't worried about it exploding and/or leaking everywhere, which is exactly what's happened every time I've ever frozen a water bottle and tried to drink from it before it was 100% defrosted. Plus water bottles are really big, and I would have to sacrifice precious lunch to get it in there with them.

If you want to use Capri-Sun, get the Roaring Waters...

How about frozen grapes?  My husband and I like to eat them right out of the freezer, they are like little bags of frozen sugar.

 

Frozen yogurt, by this I mean freezing regular yogurt.  We have taken this on trips via train, you don't want to lug extra weight like ice packs because there is no checked baggage.  But you don't want to be at the mercy of train food either.

Original Post by mizkay:

How about frozen grapes?  My husband and I like to eat them right out of the freezer, they are like little bags of frozen sugar.

 

Frozen yogurt, by this I mean freezing regular yogurt.  We have taken this on trips via train, you don't want to lug extra weight like ice packs because there is no checked baggage.  But you don't want to be at the mercy of train food either.

Ooh! Frozen grapes sound PERFECT! I'll definitely look into that! :D

 

ALso the sponge idea looks cool, too =)

Thanks everybody!  

#7  
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I put frozen yogurt tubs in my kids' lunches - keeps the yogurt fresh till lunchtime and keeps the rest of things cold. 

 

I bought one of these https://www.packit.com/ for my husband's lunches this year and it's fantastic - no removable or bulky ice packs, you just fold up and toss the whole lunch bag in the freezer overnight and pack it in the morning.

I always freeze water bottles for myself and my 2 kids (11 and 12) lunch at school , I use as  ice-packs ... they never exploded or leaked , except the excess water from outside the water , paper towel around the bottle helps .. frozen grapes in a baggy might help ...if you leave your lunch in your car , maybe a small lunch cooler will have more room to add the water bottle and lunch and save calories and sugar ...I hope you find a solution that works for you .

wow i will be watching on this cause with summer here in arizona i travel with

my lunch box too and its so hard to ke ep things cool..i usually freeze my yogurt i take with me and then its ready when its time to eat and it keeps my other food cool too..  I dont know if i would freeze my carrots unless it was just to keep food cool would get soggy when thawed.yulk..haha  hope others will share some good ideas soon im anxious to see..good luck on tips..

Wink

To freeze a water bottle w/out fear of explosion, simply pour a little out first. Then leave the cap off while it's in the freezer.

I was just about to say....Frozen water bottle works well. Wrap it in a dish towel if you're worried about it making a mess with the condensation. Plus, then the damp dishtowel is better than a napkin or papertowel for cleanup after lunch. And you have ice cold water to drink WITH your lunch. (Just a note: If you're trying to be "green": Ditch the paper products altogether. I use and reuse dish towels and cloth napkins. We NEVER buy paper napkins and only buy a roll of paper towels about every other month or so. )

If you leave your lunch in your car, I assume you run out to get it at lunchtime but don't have the time to bring it back out.  Just toss the ice pack out of it when you pick it up, you won't need it anymore and then you don't have to lug it around.

Have your tried using a bottle of frozen water?  I use this trick when I go to the beach all of the time.  Freeze my bottles of water and then by the time I'm ready to drink it they have defrosted enough to enjoy.

#14  
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DID YOU EVER THINK OF FREEZING WATER BOTTLES.  YOU MUST FIRST BREAK THE SEAL ON THE BOTTLE TAKE A LITTLE OUT, THEN FREEZE WITH THE CAP OFF.

YOU CAN USE AS MANY AS YOU LIKE TO KEEP THINGS COLD, AND REFREEZE THE ONES YOU DON'T USE.

YOU CAN ALSO ADD A NON CALORIE FLAVORING TO THE BOTTLES. MUCH CHEAPERAND WORKS FINE

I've frozen water in a ziplock bag and that works really well!

#16  
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You could just use water bottles.  They will melt and be drinkable by the time you need them.

Original Post by supakana:

Original Post by kelrantymus:

 I agree with the water bottle idea or really, I guess I don't get the issue with ice packs. You say they're not "disposable" but you're bringing your lunchbox every day anyway so presumably, you also have to take it home...plus you have a car so it's not like you're carrying it around all day.

I'm confused.

THe problem with it is just that I have a lot of stuff to carry in (textbooks are heavy!) and even the small weight of an ice pack makes it worse.

I would LOVE to freeze a waterbottle, if I wasn't worried about it exploding and/or leaking everywhere, which is exactly what's happened every time I've ever frozen a water bottle and tried to drink from it before it was 100% defrosted. Plus water bottles are really big, and I would have to sacrifice precious lunch to get it in there with them.



To freeze water in a plastic bottle you fill the bottle up ¾ full.  Then put the
bottle in the freezer and tip the bottle at an angle.  Leave the bottle in the freezer overnight and in the morning put the top on.  The bottle should not break or leak.  Try it first, it works for me.

 

You can freeze water in a plastic water bottle. Not only will it keep your lunch cool but will provide cool water for you to drink, which is the healtiest drink out there.

Why do you have such an aversion to re-using an ice pack? It would be much better for the environment.

how about frozen fruit?

#20  
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If you're worried about the icepack weighing you down, try reframing your mindset... Instead of thinking of it as something extra you have to lug around, consider it as a weight training tool (like a dumbell), in which case you're doing something good for your muscles.  If you say that it's too light to be considered a weight, then it's not that really much of a big deal to use it in the first place.

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