Using Insulated Coolers For Lunch

| April 13, 2011

Like many young professionals, I don’t have a lot of time for my daily lunch at work. We certainly don’t have the time to go very far out, and ordering delivery all the time has taken its toll on my waistline and my wallet. I stopped doing that some time ago, and now I try to bring most of my lunches from home.

This presents a suite of new problems, the first of which being that in a company the size of mine, the refrigerator in the break room is constantly full of people I don’t know and never see; when I used to bring lunch in a brown bag I would often find that key pieces were swiped. The other was that, since we are active 24 hours a day, someone is always at lunch and that means the refrigerator doors are constantly opening and closing, leading to unsteady and unsafe temperatures inside.

The Discovery

One day, unable to find a brown bag, I borrowed one of the small insulated coolers my children use as lunch boxes. I was struck by how cool it kept my lunch, and the next day I borrowed one of the kids’ insulated coolers again, after having frozen my beverage to help the cooler maintain the low temperature; today I was planning to simply keep the cooler unobtrusively at my desk and eat whenever the urge comes up, and see how this affected my productivity. Did it really cause people to become distracted? How well did it maintain the temperature of the food?

The Results

As a matter of fact, the insulated coolers extend the window of effective heat insulation from just a few hours to all-day. Even comparing the food held in our refrigerator, the insulated coolers made a noticeable difference, although that difference can partly be attributed to the sheer weakness of the refrigerator and the fact that it is opened so frequently. It is actually so good that I have continued bringing lunch to my desk in one of the insulated coolers even though the rates of snack-poaching have fallen significantly this year.

Other Uses

I also find that little insulated coolers are great to transport snacks for road trips or picnics; since they make it so easy to keep food cool, you don’t have to agonize over “picnic safe” foods, and once emptied, they are much easier to pack up safely than baskets, which take up a lot of space.

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