This blog will teach you how to keep food fresh for longer, so if you’re out for a long day of work and want to keep your food delicious, these pointers are for you!
Eating on the go has become part of our fast-paced lifestyle, sometimes the only part of your day you have spare is the commute! With this in mind, making sure your food is prepped properly is essential – no one likes a soggy sandwich or a lukewarm meal.
At Lauren’s Catering, we are faced with the challenges of maintaining fresh food in our snack vans. We go out daily to deliver quality food to workforces around Gloucestershire. Because of this, we’ve become experts at food freshness while keeping our products delicious simultaneously.
With this in mind, we’re passing our knowledge over to you with these 5 handy tips. With a bit of creativity and forward planning, you can keep food fresh for your whole day.
Before you dive in and make your food, it’s best to take a step back and make sure you’ve got everything in order first – have you thought about how your ingredients gel together through a long day?
For instance, when making your shopping list, keep in mind how much moisture your chosen food contains. And then, when preparing your food, think carefully about how you will order those fillings. Read on to know how we keep food fresh utilising these tips!
1. Choose the right ingredients
When choosing ingredients to keep food fresh for your on-the-go meal, think about how well they will hold up over time. Maybe not so much of a worry if you’re making a breakfast snack that will be devoured within a couple of hours of making it, but for your lunches and dinners, you’ll want to keep food fresh for much longer.
The first thing to think about is moisture – foods high in moisture such as fruits and vegetables should be packed separately so that the moisture doesn’t spread to your sandwich, leaving you with soggy bread. And speaking of soggy bread, maybe keep tomatoes out of it, for the same reason. A tomato has a very high water content, and over the course of the day that will be absorbed by the surrounding slices of bread. You can lessen that effect with good sandwich design.
Dry food products, such as crackers, seeds, and nuts, can be packed together with no problem. Drier foods will survive the day better, although they may not make for the most exciting food on the go. So, if you want to keep food fresh and delicious while also not just eating dry crackers, you will need to …
2. Pack food in the right order
The order in which you pack your food can make a world of difference. Apart from being delicious, butter in a sandwich acts as a natural barrier. Same as some crunchy lettuce holding the juices from your burger at bay so your bun stays light and dry. So, when making a sandwich, start with the spread.
Your main ingredients go next, your cheese or meats, whatever you fancy. If you are using something particularly juicy as the main ingredient, put some lettuce in first to back up that barrier.
Add your garnishes on top, your pickles, tomatoes, maybe some sauce, whatever takes your fancy. As long as your sandwich is properly stored upright, the top layer of bread won’t be as affected as the bottom one. Again, if you’re concerned that your sandwich’s top layer has too much moisture, a fresh layer of lettuce will protect the top too.
When prepping a salad, it’s good to do the opposite! Pack your wet ingredients first, and cover them with the dry ones. This will prevent wilting over a long day. It might seem strange to do, but add your salad dressing first, and cover with your other ingredients with the juiciest stuff on the lowest layers. Then, when it’s time to eat simply mix it all up – your salad will be much better for it. The crunch of the veggies will be much more satisfying if it hasn’t been marinating in dressing for a few hours.
After you’ve chosen your food and prepped it, the next thing to do is store it correctly. Best not to stuff your lunch in some tin foil and leave it at the mercy of whatever else is in your bag – try and give it a bit more protection so it’s not smushed by lunchtime.
To keep food fresh you need to make sure that you don’t neglect its temperature and packaging.
3. Store food at the right temperature
This is key to making sure that it is tasty once you get around to eating it! At Lauren’s Catering our vans have refrigerators and ovens installed to make sure that the food is always at peak deliciousness, but we understand you probably don’t want to pimp your car out with a mobile oven. There are other ways to keep food fresh without resorting to buying a snack van.
A quality flask like a thermos can keep your food warm for hours. Tired of sandwiches? Bring in some soup, some fresh pasta, or chili. A thermal container is a game changer when it comes to the options at your disposal. You also negate the risk of your meals becoming stodgy or thick, the thermal container will keep everything as if it were still cooking on the pan. Just make sure you remember some cutlery!
To keep food fresh and cold at the same time, a freezer pack is a great addition to a lunch box. Keep your drink nice and cold, the same for your yogurt of choice. It will also keep the salad in your sandwich nice and crispy. It’s all personal preference but an ice pack can be a great addition. If you don’t want to buy a freezer pack, check out this video on how to make one from home using a water bottle.
Just make sure you have a thermally insulated lunchbox to keep it in, which brings us to…
4. Invest in quality containers and packaging
This is a must for making sure that your food is fresh and delicious. As said above, a thermally insulated lunchbox will keep the temperature inside separate from the outside.
It’s always good to look for quality containers, you don’t want any leakages or cracks. Look for tight locking lids and think walls. This will also save you individually wrapping sandwiches in cling film, making it a double whammy as you’ll also reduce waste and save money in the long run.
5. How to keep fruits and vegetables fresh longer in fridge environments
As you are most likely busy all week, it’s also important to keep food fresh in your fridge all week so that when you make your meals, the ingredients are up to snuff.
We recommend using ziplock bags, so after you’ve opened a packet of tomatoes for instance, seal the rest in one of these. This will hold in moisture and make sure that the ingredients don’t dry out quickly.
Bonus – don’t forget to be creative!
Finally, don’t forget that food prep doesn’t have to be boring and monotonous! Switch things out, go for a tortilla instead of a sandwich. Maybe a pitta bread? Variety is the spice of life after all. You might find new ways to keep food fresh that you hadn’t thought about before. The more visually appealing your food is, the better your meals on the go will be.
To keep food fresh on the go, you will need to be creative, thoughtful, and prepared. By following our tips, you will be able to enjoy your meals without sacrificing flavour or variety. At Lauren’s, we are well accustomed to food on the go, so if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch!