how to use a food flask

Meal Prep Guide: How to Use a Food Flask the Right Way

Figuring out how to use a food flask correctly can be a complicated task. Whether you want to take hot lunches with you to work or want to preserve cold food and prevent it from spoiling, the right food flask can be a great investment. However, if you’re not careful about how you maintain your food flask meals, you could be putting yourself at risk.

Packing cold food and hot food into a thermos or food flask is a fantastic way to bring more variety to your lunches. However, you’ll need to ensure you’re preparing each lunch container correctly and using it properly too.

Here’re some tips on how to use a food flask.

How Do You Use a Food Flask for the First Time?

The exact steps you’ll need to take when packing hot food or cold food in food flasks will depend on the kind of food jar you’re using. There are some products that ask users to thoroughly clean their food flasks before they begin filling them with foods to ensure all harmful bacteria are eliminated.

If you’re going to be packing hot lunches, it’s a good idea to fill your food jar or thermos meal container with boiling water for 3-5 minutes before pouring the hot water away. When you pour boiling water into your thermos, you eliminate any residual bacteria and help to “pre-heat” the food container.

Remember, your food flask won’t heat your hot lunch or meal for you or refrigerate it to a cold temperature. Instead, the product helps to keep the food in your lunch bag at the right temperature for longer. When using a thermos flask:

  • Prepare your food in advance, making sure to get hot foods to the right temperature.
  • Clean out the thermos or food jar with hot water to eliminate bacteria.
  • Fill the thermos flask with hot water to pre-heat it or add an ice pack or cold water to get it cold if you want to keep food cooler for longer.
  • Empty your thermos and add the food you want for your lunch. If you want your food to stay cold, keep it as cold as possible before placing it in the thermos. To keep food hot, make sure it’s piping hot before you fill your thermos.

In some cases, you’ll also be able to place a thermos in a freezer to keep food and drinks as cold as you can for your family or kids. However, you’ll need to check this is a possibility for your kind of thermos to avoid damaging the product.

What Can You Put in a Food Flask?

Learning how to use a food flask correctly opens up a range of opportunities for new dinner and lunch recipes. You can avoid eating the same foods every lunch and give your kids a range of chilled or warm snacks to take to school.

Ideal Type of Food for Food Flasks

  • Healthy homemade soups (often one of the best foods to eat hot from a thermos)
  • Hot spaghetti bolognese or similar pasta meals
  • Cold pasta salad with your choice of sauce or dressing
  • Hot scrambled eggs, with toast in a separate lunch container
  • Savoury or sweet oatmeal (with separate milk for the kids)
  • Smoothies and freshly made juices

Make sure you wash your thermos out thoroughly every time you use it. Some meals placed into a thermos can leave strong flavours on the steel or plastic material. It’s also easy for sauce to get stuck in a thermos, increasing the risk of bacteria growing over time.

How Long Does a Food Flask Keep Food Hot?

A food flask can keep food hot or cold or just keep food warm for longer.

Your chosen thermos should provide plenty of information on how long it can retain heat and ensure your recipes remain safe to eat. Most of the time, you won’t be able to microwave foods within your thermos unless you choose a specific kind of product; it’s important to ensure the meals you make don’t include a lot of foods that spoil quickly.

Certain foods are easier to keep warm than others, like pasta with sauce or soup. However, other recipes involving milk and rice may go off faster. A good thermos can keep warm water and other hot meals warm for around 5 to 7 hours.

To keep your food at best possible temperature for several hours and ensure it’s safe to eat, don’t let your dinner sit for a while in the thermos before you pack it. Ideally, you’ll want to cook your food and fill the thermos just before you leave for the day.

Do You Need to Preheat a Flask?

While you don’t always need to pre-heat a flask or thermos, it can be a good way to keep kids’ meals, drinks and various foods hotter for longer. All you need to do to pre-heat a thermos before you pack it is to open the wide mouth lid and fill the thermos with boiling water. Close the lid and let the hot water sit inside for a few minutes before emptying the thermos again.

Heating the inside of the thermos before you place a hot meal or warm food inside of it should keep your food jar and the food itself piping hot for longer. If you’re worried about packing school lunches with a thermos, you can also provide your kids with a thermometer they can use to check their hot and cold foods before eating anything.

If you want to use a thermos for cold food, place it in the fridge before using it.

Using a Food Flask the Right Way

Now you know how to use a food flask.

A food flask can be a great way to keep hot food hot and cold food cold for as long as possible. If you’re trying to look for ways to transform school lunches or eat more variety at work, then a food jar capable of keeping food hot or cold could be the perfect investment. You can even use a thermos with a strong thermos lid to avoid having to heat food yourself when you get to work.

A thermos can give young kids and grown adults alike a more exciting lunchtime experience, with a variety of hot or cold food options, from soup to pasta salads. All you need to do is make sure you’re using your thermos and lid correctly. Ensure you’re keeping cold food in the fridge before you add it to your thermos, and get hot drinks and food to the highest temperature possible before you pour them into the thermos.

As an added tip, try to ensure the lid on your thermos is as tightly closed as possible before you pack your thermos. This will help your food to stay hot and should avoid unwanted spills.

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