Home-cooked meals on a road trip hit different, especially if you’re someone who finds comfort in home-cooked food. However, food quickly turns cold or goes stale during long journeys and rather makes you lose your appetite instead of being blissful.
During multiple journeys, I found myself lamenting the loss of taste in my food within an hour or two, just because it wasn’t hot and fresh. So I started searching and trying out tricks to keep the food hot while traveling.
Here, we’ll be looking at the top 9 tried and tested tips. Some are good enough to keep the food warm for up to half a day, while others work for 2 to 3 hours. Nevertheless, all of them are fool-proof and easy ways to keep your food from going bland and inedible.
1. Portable Food Warmer
A portable food warmer works like magic. As the name suggests, this device is specifically made for keeping the food warm on the go.
- First, you need to purchase a portable food warmer that can be plugged into the cigarette lighter of a car.
- Just fill up the warmer with nice, warm food just when you’re about to leave.
- Plug it into the 12V power outlet in your car, and it’ll keep the food warm as long as it receives the energy supply.
A word of caution: Always check the voltage requirement of the warmer beforehand, and do not leave it powered if your car is turned off.
Anyhow, I’ll only suggest you purchase if you keep traveling often. Otherwise, the following tips and tricks are quite practical, and you can easily suffice with them.
2. Aluminum Foil
Aluminum foil is yet another efficient method to keep your food hot while traveling. Aluminum has an enormous ability to reflect heat radiation.
For this trick to work, you’ll have to put sizzling hot food in your container. Then, you’re going to have to wrap the aluminum foil around the container.
The foil will reflect the heat emitted from the hot food back to it. This way, you’ll be able to keep your food warm for hours.
However, aluminum foil has been found guilty of losing heat due to conduction, which is why I’d suggest you to further wrap it around with a warm towel or clothes.
3. Insulated Thermos Flask
A thermos flask is especially great for liquids/gravies aside from other food supplies. A well-insulated thermos flask is usually constructed with double-walled stainless steel inside, with a vacuum in between.
The vacuum works wonders to trap the heat inside and functions as insulation to prevent maximum heat loss. Put generously heated food inside the thermos flask and fasten the lid as quickly as possible, and enjoy warm food even after 8/10 hours.
4. Thermal Bags
Thermal bags are built with an insulating material that helps to redirect the heat released from the food back towards it and minimizes the loss of heat to a great extent.
Thermal bags can keep the food considerably warm for up to 3 hours, provided that the food you placed inside it was hot in the first place. You’ll find thermal bags in abundance in your local market or online. You can easily find a generously sized thermal bag for around 25 to 30 bucks.
5. Heat Packs
Heat packs can be easily purchased from the market, or you can even DIY them at home. Single-use heat packs and reusable heat packs both are available out there.
Keeping the heat packs adjacent to the hot food and then wrapping it off in a towel or foil will do the trick, and you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious meal even after 3 to 4 hours on the road.
If you’re not up for purchasing a heat pack, you can use the following method to create an equally effective heat pack at home.
- Create DIY heat packs
- Grab a pair of new cotton socks and fill ½ portion of the socks with uncooked rice.
- Tie each sock from the top and then microwave it for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Your DIY heat packs are ready. Put them in the food container and enjoy warm meals.
6. Use a Cooler as a Warmer
While typically you’d use a cooler to keep drinks or desserts cold, you can also use it to keep your food warm.
- Firstly, preheat your cooler with steaming hot water.
- Now take the food and wrap it in aluminum foil while it is warm.
- Place the food in the cooler. For long-lasting warmth, you may even add hot water bottles to the cooler.
- Close the lid, and your food will stay warm for up to 9 hours.
7. Use Airtight Containers
Airtight containers will work by trapping the steam of the hot food inside the container and keeping it warm for longer hours. For better results, wrap the hot food in foil and then place it in airtight containers.
8. Bring Your Clothes to use
Okay, now if all else seems to be a lot of work, you can even keep your food warm with the help of clothes. Yes, that’s right.
Bring on your warm clothes and wrap them around your hot food to make insulation and minimize heat loss. Warm clothes are an instant and effortless solution to keep the food warm for a good 2 to 3 hours.
9. Hot Water Bottle
This one is yet another easy way to keep your food hot while traveling. Just grab some basic water bottles and fill them up with boiling water.
Surround the food with these water bottles or put them in your food container. Hot water bottles add a lot of heat and keep the food warm for 4 to 5 hours. And that’s about it. Try out these effective tips and enjoy home-cooked meals on the go.