Since I work so far from home I take a lot of things with me on a daily basis that many people wouldn't necessarily take with them. I need my meals with me for the day as well as clothes to go for my lunchtime walk, medical items and schoolbooks to study on work breaks or while waiting for people to arrive at an after work activity I participate in. I think the best when I am not overly fatigued so I am not always at my best come evening for studying and therefore like to fit in a little whenever I can. If you meal prep for strength gains and go to the gym before or after work you might end up packing similar to this. You might also pack like this if you have a lot of food allergies or are trying to save money by meal prepping and live a very active lifestyle where you are out of the house for the majority of the day and evening. When I pack for a workday I usually end up packing at least half of my daily meals (depending on the day possibly all of my meals) in a lunchbox, at least one schoolbook, notebook, pens and a highlighter, workout clothes, jogging shoes, medical supplies, toiletries and chargers for my electronics. I don't take my laptop as it won't fit in my bag. I normally pack my bag the evening before so that everything is ready and I just have to grab my lunchbox out of the fridge, toss in the icepacks and head out. Depending on the meal plan for the week I may scramble some eggs fresh while I am getting ready for work.
You can see that my scrambled eggs container is empty in the photo above. I also have a container of nuts that isn't always in my bag, depending on the week's plan and the day, pictured here.
So... starting in the kitchen:
I have my lunch/meal-box here. For this day I have a container of soup, a chicken thigh with zucchini, an egg muffin and sausage piece, a large salad, fresh veggies, an apple, nuts, seeds, a protein bar, and salad dressing. The nuts, seeds and protein bar will stay at work for the duration of the week for those times that I stay late at work (or run off without my eggs... it has happened people... my brain these days!). Most of the time I don't get through even half of what is pictured on the nuts and seeds front but I prefer to be prepared. That brings this day's meal plan to:
Breakfast: eggs and sausage piece
Snack: egg muffin and an apple
Lunch: soup and fresh veggies with homemade salad dressing
Dinner: chicken thigh with salad and zucchini
For the Office (for the week): mixed nuts, seeds, and a protein bar (organic, no extra junk added)
I have three small bags that fit inside the front compartments of my backpack.
Everything fits inside one bag this way (barely) and I don't have to worry about lugging around multiple bags... which I can't really do all that well. On the side pockets I put my water bottle and my green smoothie. If I decide to bring tea then I can carry that pretty easily- I don't put bottles, even hard bottles like the ones I use, inside after an issue I had with an exploding smoothie...
When it comes to after work activities I don't pack them into this bag as they don't fit and there really is no reason to do so. I pack for the week's activities on the weekend like so:
This bag was a gift and is wonderful for what it is- a laptop backpack- but it doesn't really do everything that I need it to do so I have been looking at getting a meal management backpack such as the Isopack or Expedition 500. I will likely still use this bag if I don't need to pack meals as I think it is really well made and has a ton of storage areas. One of the things that I need it to do is hold the rest of my medical odds and ends so that I can stop carrying a purse on workdays... I can't really leave them in the car as the heat can cause issues with them and replacing them can get quite expensive. There has been a lot of review watching and reading, comparison shopping, and debate on which bag I will get but I think I am just about ready to make a purchase. Since it is a larger purchase I will be cutting back in some other areas for a while on my budget to pay for it but I think it will be worth it in the end. Once I make my final decision and use the bag for a while I will do a review of the new backpack. Feel free to put any comments in the bottom if you already own a meal management backpack that you own and love/hate... I'm always open to more information when making a larger purchase like this! The two that I am currently spending most of my focus on are below: