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What food to bring during a car trip

What food to bring during a car trip

. 4 min read

If there is no refrigerator, the most suitable food to consume en-route is sandwiches, pasta or rice salads or preserves that do not require cold.

Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

Sometimes in summer-long trips are made that force to put in the car the suitcases and to fill the fuel tank, in addition to preparing a pantry to support the hours of the trip by road. The choice of foods to be introduced into the pantry will depend not only on their influence on driving (they can alter concentration and reflexes) but also on those that may pose a greater risk of food poisoning, such as egg preparations if it is not possible to keep them cold. The article details which foods are most recommended to ensure food safety on the road and what should be taken into account to avoid food poisoning in summer.

If the option chosen for traveling in summer is the car, in addition to preparing the itinerary, stops (if the journey is long) and check the vehicle to avoid unforeseen events, it is also advisable to foresee that you will have to eat something on the way. Food will, therefore, be an important part of the journey. One possibility is to bring food from home, so you can stop when and where you decide, without having to be looking for restaurants or bars where they serve something to eat. But this alternative makes it necessary to plan what will be consumed and to have a little more space to store food in the car.

Food on the road

Not planning meals when starting a car trip can lead to gastrointestinal problems that can be prevented with some proper handling and planning guidelines. When preparing food for the journey, a fundamental factor must be taken into account: whether or not a refrigerator is available to keep it at suitable temperatures. If it is possible to refrigerate food, products such as salads may be taken with you. However, if this is not the case, i.e. if there is no refrigerator, the most suitable foods are:

  1. Nuts.
  2. Cereals.
  3. Fruits and vegetables.
  4. Whole-wheat bread or sandwiches.
  5. Pasta, rice or potato salad.
  6. Preserves that do not require cold until opened.
  7. Bottled water.

During the summer, when the highest temperatures are reached, the food cannot be out of the fridge for more than one hour, especially if temperatures of 30ºC or more are reached. One of the most important factors, therefore, in ensuring food security during travel is time and maintaining safe temperature levels.

If food is between 5°C and 65°C (known as the hazard zone) for more than two hours, the result can be the unwanted growth of pathogens. According to research in this field, the number of bacteria can multiply every 20 to 30 minutes, especially in products such as milk or eggs. And it is estimated that fresh meat can reach the danger zone in the first 10 minutes in the car. So it will be very important to have a refrigerator that allows certain foods to be stored cold.

Summer, holidays and food

Summer is one of the most delicate periods of the year when it comes to food safety. Year after year, warnings from health authorities focus on handling food to prevent intoxications, which increase during this time. And they do so for a number of reasons. Firstly, because the circumstances are right for this to happen, that is to say, the highest temperatures are those that favor the development of bacteria. They also increase because, during holidays, there is a tendency to relax, which leads to underestimating certain fundamental guidelines in the handling of food. Another reason is the increase in outdoor meals, where the controls are not the same as in the kitchen.

Some of the most common mistakes made during the summer are not respecting proper food storage temperatures, cooking food insufficiently, or not maintaining the necessary hygiene conditions, such as regular hand washing.

Eating food that has been treated or handled in a hygienic manner.

  1. Cook food well.
  2. Eat food immediately after cooking.
  3. Cooked food is sanitized food.
  4. Sufficiently heat cooked foods.
  5. Avoid contact between raw and cooked foods.
  6. Ensure proper hygiene of the person handling the food and proper cleaning of all kitchen surfaces.
  7. Keep food out of the reach of insects, rodents, and pets.
  8. Use only potable water.
  9. Do not consume perishable food that is exposed to room temperature.