Trying to drop the everyday a sandwich thing with my husband. There is no microwave for heating leftovers available. Job is physical, he eats breakfast at 5AM and often has late days, so he needs food that will get him through. We are on a very tight budget (and I'll be off my teaching job all summer so we'll be squeezed more) Trying to have good breakfasts and evening meals. Suggestions?
Think about what wives used to send their husbands to work with before microwaves and convenience food. I would invest in a good thermos (they are expensive, but a good one will last for years and do better at keeping your food hot) and fill it up with a hearty stew or chilli with lots of meat and root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, etc.) and made with bone broth and cooked with a good amount of animal fat. Then add a couple hard boiled eggs, and a piece or two of fruit.
Maybe you can pack an ice pack in an insulated reusable bag. It's not ideal but it does make things last a little longer. You've got awesome suggestions already. How does he feel about eating leftovers cold? I wouldn't mind, but I'm not sure about him.
I'm not sure where you live, but I'm from the US. I only spend around $32 on meat/protein a week (though it's probably less than his needs since I'm probably smaller as I'm a female), and then try to budget $20-25 for various produce (usually this lasts longer than a week) and maybe $6-8 (?) on various forms of fat in the form of coconut oil, avocado, or nuts/seeds (I don't go through it in a week so I'm guessing).
Eggs are a great, fairly cheap option. Contrary to what others say, humanely-raised beef isn't all that expensive and it's just much better in a million ways. Buy in bulk if you can. I buy ground because it's the cheapest. Then you can do tuna a few times a week, which isn't badly priced for protein. For produce that doesn't spoil, maybe cooked isn't the best way to go. You can pack carrot sticks, apples, bananas, salad (wrapped separately from meat so that it doesn't get mushy). Nori can be a great "wrap" if he's in a hurry and utensils are a bother.
Since he can't use a microwave, I imagine eating food cooked in lots of fat would be gross though since it would solidify. For fats, you could pack some nuts, seeds, or avocado.
Eating paleo doesn't necessarily mean eating more expensive.
Sounds like my job. I pack yams drowning in butter in Tupperware, a thermos of kefir, quesidillas in Tupperware, coconut milk w/ carob in a thermos, salami, apples, carrots, a jar of kimchee, cubed raw cheese, yogurt. Also, I usually eat what ever leftovers there are from the previous night's dinner, so make extra.
I'm getting hungry.
pulled pork or brisket is delicious cold - you could buy an inexpensive cut of meat, slow cook it, and pack that for him. Add a salad, or some sliced veggies, hardboiled eggs, nuts, etc. Avocadoes are great, but sometimes they are on the expensive side.
Something I personally love is harboiled eggs mashed with olive oil, some curry powder, salt and pepper. (fresh herbs if you've got them or like them). Pack this with sliced red/green peppers, cucumbers or any other veggie he likes and you've got a delicious and filling "Spread".
Agreed with the idea of buying an insulated thermos type product to hold something warm and stewlike (braised meat, maybe). Bake a sweet potato and wrap it in tinfoil. Hard boiled eggs (with a little bit of salt)-low cost, good w protein and fat. I like sliced deli meat rolled up and dunked in mustard-kind of like a sandwich w/o the bread. Have you seen the salad in a jar model? http://lifehacker.com/5857420/make-salad-in-a-jar-for-an-easy-grab+and+go-lunch-that-stays-fresh-for-days
Big salad with lots of protein and fats: sliced up steak or chicken, hard boiled egg, avocado. Hard boiled eggs on their own are also good - you can boil up a whole bunch ahead of time.
I have 9-10 hour shifts at a somewhat physical job and pack 2 meals. Love all the suggestions above. More ideas: Baked potato or sweet potato. Roasted mixed root veggies-use a combo of butter and olive oil to get them crisp. Ploughman's lunch- sausage, hard cheese, hard boiled egg, pickle, apple. I make alot of crust less quiche eggy pie things- very good way to use up leftover bits of meat and veg. If you eat dairy, you can use odds bits of cheese, sour cream, ricotta, yogurt, cottage cheese or cream cheese. About 6 eggs, 3/4 c of each of cooked veg and dairy additions will fill s pie plate. The more dairy you use, the creamier, the less the easier to eat out of hand. Homemade jerky. Nuts. Leftover roast meat or chicken. Whole Milk non sweetened yogurt. Put stuff in the slow cooker at bedtime so it's hot and ready to pack for lunch in the morning.
Tuna and avocado are a great and inexpensive combo. Hard boiled eggs. Roasting a whole chicken makes a few meals for a few people, stock for soup, and is less expensive than cuts. Meats in salads stay cool with an insulated lunch bag and blue ice pack. Using a lot of chopped crunchy vegetables and less leafy greens makes it heartier. Olive oil, lemon juice, course ground mustard and an herb (I'm nuts about dried oregano in salads) make a fool proof inexpensive dressing.