Meals on the go: Foods that don’t require refrigeration

May 21, 2024 | What is 'shelf-stable food?' (WTOP's Mark Lewis and Debra Feinstein talk with Lean Plate Club Blogger Sally Squires )

WASHINGTON — Don’t let the lack of a refrigerator stop you from taking food when and where you need it, because shelf-stable food now offers a variety of options.

Sally Squires, who writes the Lean Plate Club™ blog, said that while the concept is not new, the available food choices continue to expand. The list of items includes staples such as peanut butter, canned goods, cheeses and cooked rice.

“We have had ‘MREs’ or ‘Meals Ready to Eat’ for a long time and varying kinds of jerky and tuna fish in a can. But now there’s shelf-stable cheeses, hummus, yogurt dip, puddings, milk and entrees such as lasagna, which you can heat in a microwave,” Squires said.

The nonperishable food provides meal options for those working at their desks, traveling or participating in team sports.

“Some of these will taste better if they are chilled, but the taste is similar to the standard version,” Squires said. “And the cost is usually similar as well. But the difference comes when you are looking at single-serving items. Those can be higher because there’s more packaging involved.”

Squires suggested taking a close look at product labels if you are concerned about certain things, such as sodium. Many nonperishable items also offer a lower-sodium version for people with high blood pressure who are closely watching their salt intake.

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