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Access to only a fridge and a microwave!

s_rivera_92s_rivera_92 Member Posts: 92 Member Member Posts: 92 Member
This community is awesome, you guys have been so helpful on every thing I've posted so far. Now I have a quick question that's more for my spouse than myself: he is deployed and only has access to a fridge and a microwave. He can go out to the DFAC (cafeteria) and to restaurants on the base, but he would rather buy groceries to eat due to the weird hours of deployment and as a means to save money. He's been going to the gym daily doing both cardio and strength training. On top of that he's working twelve hour shifts where he is standing for almost the entirety of those shifts. Like me, he was eating OMAD and we weren't very concerned with calories when we ate. He didn't go to the gym prior to deployment, only did his hour or hour and a half of PT (physical training) during the week. But, like me, his goal has been to burn a little fat and be in better shape (for future PT tests and for himself). He's unsure of what to eat. He has a minifridge and a microwave that he shares with other people. What are some foods that you all would suggest to make sure he is getting adequate nutrition and staying full throughout the day? Prior to him leaving, I know his cholesterol was high. So, I am worried about that as well.

I sent a care package and it had dried mango (lots of sodium and sugar... I know), dried pineapple, Cliff Bars, beef jerky, propel mix, "men's health" nut mix, and a couple pieces of chocolate. (A few other things, but I forget.)

He had been telling me he's been buying uncle ben's microwavable rice.

Things that I think would be good for him to buy:
• Greek Yogurt
• Kashi Go Lean Original Cereal
• Bananas
• Almonds
• Beef Jerky
• Tuna Packets

What I'm sure he is buying:
• Skim Milk
• Protein Powder (Idk what brand)
• White Bread
• Deli Meat
• Cheese
• Ready Rice

Again, stressing that he is more active and only has access to the fridge and microwave, what foods would you all suggest?

Replies

  • ElizabethHanrahanElizabethHanrahan Member Posts: 101 Member Member Posts: 101 Member
    The tuna packets are a good idea. These come in several flavors that he could mix into the rice. He could also try to find some canned meats (chicken comes in the packets now). Soups, chili, canned beans, and instant masked potatoes are also good staples to have that don't take refrigeration.
  • s_rivera_92s_rivera_92 Member Posts: 92 Member Member Posts: 92 Member
    The tuna packets are a good idea. These come in several flavors that he could mix into the rice. He could also try to find some canned meats (chicken comes in the packets now). Soups, chili, canned beans, and instant masked potatoes are also good staples to have that don't take refrigeration.

    Thank you!
  • MikePTYMikePTY Member, Premium Posts: 3,820 Member Member, Premium Posts: 3,820 Member
    Having a microwave isn't as limiting as you would think. You don't just need "ready to heat" meals. You can cook from scratch in it. Here is one site that seems to have some good options, but there are a lot of different microwavable recipe sites out there. https://fitmencook.com/dorm-room-masterchef-7-healthy-microwave-recipes/
  • RCPVRCPV Member Posts: 445 Member Member Posts: 445 Member
    Tortillas - you can roll anything up in a tortilla and microwave it. Try some refried beans, some of that microwaveable rice, some salsa, and a slice of cheese.

    Salsa, canned refried beans, canned low sodium/fat soups, Lara Bars (PB chocolate chip is great), microwaveable cups of oatmeal (come in all sorts of flavors), baked tortilla chips (top with beans, salsa, and cheese for nachos), 100 calorie packs of popcorn, flavored applesauces and fruits in small cups (usually made to pack in kids' lunches, but great as healthy desserts), potatoes and sweet potatoes (Prick all over with fork, microwave, cut in half and top with beans, chopped up deli meat, cheese, salsa, pizza sauce, etc).
  • BarbaraHelen2013BarbaraHelen2013 Member Posts: 1,669 Member Member Posts: 1,669 Member
    He wouldn’t go too far wrong with baking potatoes, canned beans (not just the ones in tomato sauce - there’s loads of choices) and a bit of cheese. Or canned tuna and salsa in the potato (swap tuna for mackerel as a variation - lots of choices in canned fish as far as flavours go).

    Also eggs - they scramble well in the microwave, with or without additions.

    Oats for porridge - add fruit and Greek yoghurt or cheese etc for savoury oats.

    With a bit of lateral thinking, and a spirit of adventure he can make almost anything!




  • wilson10102018wilson10102018 Member Posts: 1,138 Member Member Posts: 1,138 Member
    Military MRE's have much better choices than above. They have high total calories but if you toss the cheese spread, the 250 calories drink mix and the carb (usually a bread or cake) there are really tasty entrees. My favorites are the vegetarian or Halal choices like cheese tortellini and red sauce, chili and elbow. lentils. macaroni, spinach fettuccine.

    All microwavable.
  • RCPVRCPV Member Posts: 445 Member Member Posts: 445 Member
    Military MRE's have much better choices than above. They have high total calories but if you toss the cheese spread, the 250 calories drink mix and the carb (usually a bread or cake) there are really tasty entrees. My favorites are the vegetarian or Halal choices like cheese tortellini and red sauce, chili and elbow. lentils. macaroni, spinach fettuccine.

    All microwavable.

    If he's deployed, he's probably had his fill of MRE's, although I must admit some of them can be quite tasty.
  • s_rivera_92s_rivera_92 Member Posts: 92 Member Member Posts: 92 Member
    MikePTY wrote: »
    Having a microwave isn't as limiting as you would think. You don't just need "ready to heat" meals. You can cook from scratch in it. Here is one site that seems to have some good options, but there are a lot of different microwavable recipe sites out there. https://fitmencook.com/dorm-room-masterchef-7-healthy-microwave-recipes/

    Thank you so much! I will be forwarding this link to him. I know another issue is how much he can buy at one time (he's walking with the groceries and the water there is "unsafe for consumption" so any trips to get food include getting a gallon or two of water). But I read through these and a lot sounded delicious and interesting.
  • s_rivera_92s_rivera_92 Member Posts: 92 Member Member Posts: 92 Member
    RCPV wrote: »
    Tortillas - you can roll anything up in a tortilla and microwave it. Try some refried beans, some of that microwaveable rice, some salsa, and a slice of cheese.

    Salsa, canned refried beans, canned low sodium/fat soups, Lara Bars (PB chocolate chip is great), microwaveable cups of oatmeal (come in all sorts of flavors), baked tortilla chips (top with beans, salsa, and cheese for nachos), 100 calorie packs of popcorn, flavored applesauces and fruits in small cups (usually made to pack in kids' lunches, but great as healthy desserts), potatoes and sweet potatoes (Prick all over with fork, microwave, cut in half and top with beans, chopped up deli meat, cheese, salsa, pizza sauce, etc).

    Thanks for the ideas! :grin:
  • s_rivera_92s_rivera_92 Member Posts: 92 Member Member Posts: 92 Member
    Military MRE's have much better choices than above. They have high total calories but if you toss the cheese spread, the 250 calories drink mix and the carb (usually a bread or cake) there are really tasty entrees. My favorites are the vegetarian or Halal choices like cheese tortellini and red sauce, chili and elbow. lentils. macaroni, spinach fettuccine.

    All microwavable.

    He's been eating some of those for sure, but of course isn't a huge fan of many of them. A month out in the field last year killed whatever finite amount of enjoyment he had for them. But honestly, I think he needs the high calories because he's working out more on top of the long shifts. But I'll definitely chat with him more about maybe bringing them along with him when he's out and about and forcing himself to consume a few weekly. Thanks!
  • s_rivera_92s_rivera_92 Member Posts: 92 Member Member Posts: 92 Member
    RCPV wrote: »
    Military MRE's have much better choices than above. They have high total calories but if you toss the cheese spread, the 250 calories drink mix and the carb (usually a bread or cake) there are really tasty entrees. My favorites are the vegetarian or Halal choices like cheese tortellini and red sauce, chili and elbow. lentils. macaroni, spinach fettuccine.

    All microwavable.

    If he's deployed, he's probably had his fill of MRE's, although I must admit some of them can be quite tasty.

    Yep, he hates them at this point.
  • jeagogojeagogo Member, Premium Posts: 194 Member Member, Premium Posts: 194 Member
    You can do meal prep with only a microwave and fridge. You can find pre-cooked meats like chicken breast or sirloin, veggies (fresh or frozen) that can be cooked in the bag, canned beans, etc. I prep a lot of lunches with prepared foods like this and just portion them out into individual containers, no cooking required until it's ready to heat and eat.
  • acpgeeacpgee Member Posts: 6,122 Member Member Posts: 6,122 Member
    I use my microwave for a lot of scratch cooking. If he also can use a filter coffee maker and a clothes iron that expands his cooking techniques a lot. Google "dorm cooking", "coffee maker recipes" for ideas.

    In the microwave:
    Bacon crisps up really well because the microwave cooks fat faster than protein. Put paper towels under and over the bacon. Microwave at short increments until you know when the bacon fat starts to burn on your particular machine.
    Poached eggs work best with a little water heated up for a minute in the microwave in a small bowl or mug. Crack the egg in, then microwave for 30-40 seconds. Yolks are always a little too set because fat cooks faster than protein in the microwave.
    Baked potato. Prick all over with a fork so steam can escape to prevent explosions. About 6 to 10 minutes depending on the power of the microwave.
    Vegetables such as greens beans steamed in the packets they are sold in. Prick packaging with a fork or cut off a corner to prevent explosions.
    I make creme caramel in the microwave on the lowest setting.

    In the filter coffee machine:
    Instant ramen, poached veg, quick cook macaronni and rice, hot dogs, anything you can poach.

    With a clothes iron:
    Wrap food in foil first. Grilled cheese sandwiches, hamburgers, maybe thinly sliced or pounded chicken breasts.
  • sgt1372sgt1372 Member Posts: 3,921 Member Member Posts: 3,921 Member
    stefa_roth wrote: »
    MikePTY wrote: »
    Having a microwave isn't as limiting as you would think. You don't just need "ready to heat" meals. You can cook from scratch in it. Here is one site that seems to have some good options, but there are a lot of different microwavable recipe sites out there. https://fitmencook.com/dorm-room-masterchef-7-healthy-microwave-recipes/

    Thank you so much! I will be forwarding this link to him. I know another issue is how much he can buy at one time (he's walking with the groceries and the water there is "unsafe for consumption" so any trips to get food include getting a gallon or two of water). But I read through these and a lot sounded delicious and interesting.

    As mentioned above, almost anything can be cooked from scratch in a microwave. It may not taste/looked exactly the same as when cooked on a stovetop or in an oven but it can be done, it just requires different techniques and some trial/error.

    If water is an issue, buy your SO a backpack water filtration device that will filter protozoa (the best type) to eliminate the need to buy. bottled water.

    I recently bought and used the Grayl Geopress while traveling in China where water quality is a problem, which made life much easier.

    The Grayl is very easy and convenient to use. The amount of water filtered w/each press is only about a 1/2 a qt (2pts) but it only takes a few secs to filter 2pts more. There is a larger version than the one I bought but it's much larger and doesn't filter that much more water at a time.

    The Grayl is a combined bottle and filter which can be bulky to carry (compared w/ other bag filters that are more difficult to use) but if only kept for use in camp, that should not be an issue.
    edited December 2019
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