For most weekends, I live out of a cooler. (That’s where the idea for the 1 Cooler, 1 Weekend Getaway August 2010 story came from). Three years of practice have taught me a lot about packing food for efficiency without sacrificing the pleasure of a well-prepared meal.

Dinner has never been an issue on these 1-cooler weekends, but lunch has always been tricky. I’ve flip-flopped between sandwiches and salads, but this past summer, I finally hit on a really simple way to take care of lunch. Pack the following:

-2 fruits: 1 bunch seedless red grapes, apples or pears, a melon, whatever you like (This pear was a bit premature, but when your 45 minutes from a grocery store, you make do.)

    -2 hunks of good cheese (Cambozola is frequently one of them.)

    -1 salami or a package of sliced Proscuitto

    -Box or packet of whole-grain crackers/flatbreads (Which one? Check our Cracker Taste Test)

      To make lunch, all you need is a knife and cutting board. Assemble individual servings on plates or just pile everything onto one. You’ll have enough* for two days of lunches for two people, and plenty of stuff on hand if unexpected visitors stop by and you need to whip out a tray of snacks. (Use the fruit or a handful of the dinner’s salad greens to stretch.)

      *Provided you can resist scarfing the entire piece of Cambozola at one sitting, which is VERY hard to do.