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Ways to keep food fresh on road trips

What road trip is complete without the perfect snack or lunch break. Often, the best part of a long journey is that moment when you get to sink your teeth into that egg and bacon roll or when you can pull over for 10 minutes while sipping on a hot coffee and soaking up the view. Fresh food provides sustenance and energy for the drive, not just for the driver but for all the passengers too.

There are few things more disappointing than a soggy sandwich or stale snack when you are hungry on a long trip. Keeping your fruit, rolls and snacks fresh is a priority when organising meals for a road trip. Here are a few ways to keep your food fresh (and reduce packaging waste) on a journey.

Keep food in the original packaging

Most food items come wrapped in paper bags, foil packets or airtight plastic wrappers. Avoid opening these foods until you actually need to eat them in the car. This way, they will stay as fresh as possible and you will avoid having to repack them in ziplock bags or cling film at home. The packaging also makes snacks easy to handle and pack in a bag or picnic basket.

By repacking foods into plastic packets, you are actually creating more waste. Some people like to pour a handful of nuts or chips into a separate bag for the road trip, but this is not necessary. Dried fruit, trail mix, biscuits and chips are packaged in airtight wrappers for maximum freshness, so opening them and repacking them is a sure way to get stale snacks on your trip.

Use airtight packaging for rolls and sandwiches

For foods that don’t come prepackaged, such as sandwiches, rolls and fruit, then pack these in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Oxygen can spoil food fairly quickly – even if it was made the night before. Once you have made the food, place it in a ziplock bag, squeeze all the air out and seal it off. This will keep your bread soft and fluffy and minimise the chances of food waste.

Airtight containers can be used to store apples and other fruit while making it easier to carry them in the car. Pack your fruits in a container with a tight-fitting lid – this will keep them from rolling around the bag or basket while also protecting them from bruises. Recyclable plastic containers are the best choice here.

Keep foods cool on the road trip

All road trip snacks should be stored in a cool place, such as a cooler box or foil-lined bag. This will keep food fresher for longer – your apples will be crunchy, rolls will be fresh and any meats on your sandwiches will stay edible. Storing foods in a handbag or grocery bag (especially in the footwell of the car) will allow your food to get hot and soggy. As the exhaust pipe runs directly underneath the floor of the car, placing food at your feet is not a good idea. Rather keep them on a chair and in direct line of the air conditioning, if possible.

These simple tips will allow you to enjoy the finer moments of your road trip – those precious few minutes when you get to pull over and tuck into something delicious. These moments, when you get to appreciate the beauty of the countryside while nibbling on a snack, are what make road trips so special.

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Written by Joshua Oates

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