Food thermos for hot meals: Comparison and buying guide
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Do you need to keep your meals hot when you travel to work or on a picnic? For your children's lunch break, you are thinking of an efficient container to store hot noodles? No need to panic! The food thermos is the perfect ally you need.
It's always nice to end a morning's work with a balanced, but mostly hot meal. Not only is it good for your digestive system, but you also get a better taste. However, it is not always easy to keep food hot. As a result, many workers, students or college students settle for fast food. Yet, just invest in the purchase of a food thermos and you can be sure that all your products will always be warm at all times.
And to choose the best food thermos, you need to check if the model in front of you has excellent thermal insulation. Of course, there are other key criteria to check as well, such as the size, material, accessories and most importantly the price of the thermos.
Because there is a wide range of food thermos on the market, we have concocted for you a top 5 of our best products. In addition, you will have the right to a special buyer's guide in order to better understand the different criteria of choice listed above.
Food thermos: top 5 best models by Healthy Lunch
To help you discern the best performing thermos for hot food, find our best models here.
The Black Isothermal Lunch Box
This first product of our selection will certainly please you thanks to its sober design that blends in any decor. Let's see more details through its specificities.
Basically, a good thermos doesn't have to be very big to carry your hot food and drinks with ease. However, it should still be compact enough to hold a hearty meal that you'll need to keep your strength up. With this model, you are assured of an isothermal bottle that respects this rule. Indeed, it comes in two sizes that are respectively 500 ml and 750 ml. Technically, it is almost impossible to complain about these beautiful sizes that facilitate the portability of the utensil.
A quality material
The main strength of this isothermal lunch box is its double-walled stainless steel. This is a premium quality material that is non-toxic to your food, no matter how hot it gets. In addition, the container is reinforced with a 100% reusable polypropylene plastic seal that is BPA and PVC free. In one sentence, it guarantees you a healthy catering in the best conditions of food hygiene.
Unparalleled thermal performance
Healthy Lunch's black insulated lunch box has the ability to keep your food warm for at least 12 hours. After numerous tests, it appears that this is a performance that it offers not only in an outdoor environment, but also during the winter. Moreover, it is specified that this heat retention can extend over 24 hours if you decide to store your mug in an isothermal bag. How to explain such a performance? Obviously, our designers have thought to equip the wall of the bottle with 6 layers of thermal insulation.
Accessories to support your mug
To meet all your expectations, we deliver this food cup with an insulated bag. This way, you can keep your soup warm for a whole day. Moreover, we thought of reinforcing the pack with a spoon designed in stainless steel. And finally, the delivery is totally offered to you by our care.
The Green Isothermal Lunch Box
This food box has the same design as the previous model except for its green color. You can not only buy it for yourself, but also give it to your children if they still go to school.
High quality materials
The lunch box benefits from a heated interior thanks to a food-certified stainless steel coating. It does not rust and saves you from any chemical substances related to BPA. In other words, the lunch box will not produce any particular smell when you open it to consume your meal. Further on, there is a food-grade plastic exterior that enhances the insulating nature of the box.
To guarantee a long-lasting warmth, the meal box has a hermetic lid. The lid is reinforced by a stopper and prevents the air from entering the jar. Moreover, you can go anywhere with the thermos without spilling a single crumb of your meal.
A nice capacity
Are you currently on a diet that requires you to take in a lot of calories? This insulated box can help you succeed. Indeed, it benefits from a large capacity of 750 ml. On the market, we must recognize that it is one of the best capacities that you can find.
All of our food thermos jugs have unparalleled thermal performance and this model is no exception. In fact, its inner wall has 6 layers of protection and thermal insulation to keep food warm. Technically, they are as follows:
- Double layer of electrolytic polishing;
- Food grade stainless steel;
- Vacuum insulation;
- Food grade stainless steel;
- Colored coating layer.
Thanks to this equipment, the lunch box is able to keep food warm for 12 hours, regardless of the external temperature.
The Golden Soup Box
This lunch box can be taken anywhere, including work, sports, college, picnic, etc. Discover here some of the features that justify this efficiency.
Easy to carry
Always wanted an insulated mug that wouldn't take up too much space when you're on the go? We highly recommend this model. Indeed, it frames light dimensions that facilitate its transport: a width of 9.5 cm and a height of 15 cm. Moreover, its size is small, because you are entitled to a capacity of 350 ml for sufficiently balanced liquid food.
Safe design materials
In its slightly oval shape, the soup can has a 304 stainless steel lined interior. This is one of the most corrosion-resistant materials in the stainless steel world. You benefit from a high quality in terms of food safety. Better still, this steel is reinforced with an insulating layer that keeps meals warm for a long time: 12 hours.
An unsuspected triple compartment
Usually, soup cans have only one compartment, which is sometimes a constraint for some users. We thought about that and that's why this model has two compartments for your pleasure. Apart from its brushed stainless steel interior, it has a small black jar in which you can store flavorful ingredients.
For example, if you want to take away a porridge or hot coffee, this jar can contain sugar. In addition to this, the large silicone lid also serves as a container, but also as an anti-leak.
The Blue Soup Lunch Box
We are tempted to believe that this thermos is exclusively reserved for children because it is so cute. We deliver it to you free of charge with a bag adapted to its size. But that's not all. Underneath its beautiful blue color with white patterns, it has a whole host of advantages, some of which you can't miss.
Excellent thermal insulation
For maximum heat retention, the soup can benefits from vacuum insulation technology. This technology consists of protective layers that keep liquids warm for about 12 hours. Whether you are in winter or in the middle of autumn, the external weather conditions will not alter this performance.
Like the majority of our food boxes, the soup lunch box also has a stainless steel inner wall. In terms of maintenance, the jars with this material are easy to clean and even go through the dishwasher like a plate.
An effective anti-leakage system
Despite the wide opening of the bowl, we market it with a lid that is not only waterproof, but also easy to open. This way, your contents won't leak once they're placed in your backpack or shoulder strap.
A nice size of capacity
This product is 9 cm wide and 15 cm high. Under these dimensions, it is perfectly light and easy to handle. It will not escape your hands. Moreover, its capacity is 350 ml, enough to take along delicious soup recipes.
The Blue Tupperware Soup Box
Far from being at the antipode of our previous products, this tupperware which comes to end our selection offers an atypical design. Let's have a look at its main characteristics without further ado.
A practical design
The soup can is a double-walled bottle made of 304 stainless steel, which is food grade. On the outside, there is a food-grade plastic envelope that serves as a vacuum. In precise terms, these are layers of thermal insulation that keep the heat on for up to 12 hours. This way, you will have plenty of time to eat your meal at any time of the day.
We don't forget that the design also remains practical due to the average size of the utensil. With controlled dimensions (10 cl width and 12 cm height), it offers you a capacity of 450 ml.
A capacity system to salute
Don't be mistaken about the 450 ml capacity mentioned above. You can use it to carry balanced meals. Indeed, this capacity of the thermos flask is distributed through two compartments.
These include its classic inner wall and its storage space in the form of a container. It is designed from a premium quality plastic to support a possible overload of food, snacks or a folding spoon. For ease of use, it comes with a handle that you can hold loosely.
An anti-spill system
Just like its predecessors, this model avoids the risk of your liquid food spilling or overflowing. To this end, it has a light but strong enough shell to trap the heat inside the jar. Simply tighten it when closing.
You still have some difficulties to find the food thermos that suits you? We propose you this comparative table which summarizes the main points of our 5 best sellers.
|Name||Black Isothermal Lunch Box||Green Isothermal Lunch Box||Golden Soup Box|
|Type of material||Stainless steel + Polypropylene plastic||Stainless steel + Polypropylene plastic||Stainless steel 304|
|Capacity||500 ml +750 ml||750 ml||350 ml|
|Thermal Insulation / Heat Retention||Very high | 12h to 24h||Very high | 12h to 24h||High | 12h|
|Design||Black color||Military style, green color||Gold color|
Buyer's Guide: Everything you need to know about the best thermos flasks
In this section, we'll walk you through the musts you need to become a savvy shopper.
What is a food thermos and how does it work?
Before looking at all the technical details and the use of a food thermos, we thought it would be interesting to remind you where this term comes from.
A little history on the concept
First of all, it is important to remember that the term Thermos is a registered trademark owned by the company Thermos L.L.C. Its history goes back to 1892 with its inventor, Sir James Dewar, who was experimenting with containers. After nesting bottles, he noticed that the space between them created a near vacuum that limited heat transfer.
Unfortunately, his research was limited by a lack of technological means until the Thermos company intervened. It was Thermos that developed the initial theory and thus made it possible to obtain food cans diversified in material and design.
Back to the concept of the food thermos and how it works
In simple terms, a thermos is a cylindrical container used to store hot or cold, liquid and semi-liquid foods. It works through a thermal insulation system that prevents the transfer of thermal energy and this is involved in the manufacturing process. In fact, the meal box is built by placing a vacuum bottle inside another one while joining them at the neck.
Through this implementation, the space between the two bottles is deprived of air. Thus, there is a considerable reduction of heat transfer either by conduction or convection. This is the main reason why hot food stays at the right temperature longer. However, the thermal insulation of the thermos is not enough to keep your food hot. It will take a few techniques for optimal use and heat retention.
How to use your food thermos to keep your meal warm?
Placing a hot meal directly into a thermos will inevitably result in the loss of much of the food's heat. To do this, you must rely on tricks to maximize the number of hours of temperature retention. And to make it easier for you, we have prepared everything through steps.
Step 1: Fill the insulated container
This first step is to fill your insulated container with hot water. To do this, boil water at a high temperature and pour it into a clean thermos. For best results, remember to fill it to the brim.
Step 2: Preheat your thermos
Immediately close your jar and let the boiling water preheat the inner walls. This process should take between 5 and 10 minutes.
Step 3: Heat your food
While the walls are heating up, now think about heating your food. This can be either pan-fried or microwave food. Whether it is a soup, a drink or a solid meal, it is important that it is extremely hot during cooking.
Step 4: Fill your food theros
As soon as the food seems to be at the desired temperature, empty the bottle of boiling water, quickly clean it and fill it completely with hot soups. Of course, you don't need to go through the cleaning step if you are going to pack liquid food. Here, the most important thing is that the interior is full so that there is no space for air.
Step 5: Keep the heat in your thermos
Once the food is trapped inside the container, seal it by closing the lid tightly. And if you have an insulated bag, feel free to store your thermos. This will further enhance the shelf life.
How to choose the best food thermos?
Now that we know a little more about the use of a hot meal food thermos, let's look at what you should look for when choosing your model.
Generally, the size of a thermos will depend on the use you want to make of it. If you want to take a meal for an adult or a soup for a child, it is clear that you will not have the same preference. For a child, a small bowl will do the trick. It has a capacity of between 250 and 400 ml. On the other hand, for an adult, you will have to count on a lunch box of about 750 ml or more.
On the other hand, the size of the model also takes into account its dimensions. So think about where you intend to use it. This avoids ending up with a huge container that may leak the contents.
Basically, a thermos is supposed to contain a single compartment, especially if it is a soup can. However, the compartments are an extension of the size and can therefore appear in a bipartite form. Indeed, some models offer a bottom wall as well as a small space to store snacks, sugar or other ingredients. In a nutshell, the larger the size, the more likely you are to end up with a compartmentalized thermos.
It may not seem like a big deal, but the weight of a food thermos is something that should not be overlooked. Even if the device has the best features, it must be easy to carry anywhere. No one wants to carry a bowl hanging in the bag on a walk to work.
It's an awkward exercise that can quickly make you give up using the bottle. So consider a model made of lightweight materials to make your life easier. However, this criterion is not an invitation to go for low-end products.
Heat retention or thermal insulation
One of the most important factors to consider is how long your beverage will stay warm. In plain English, this is about the insulating performance of the container. Do you need a thermos that will keep warm for at least 6 hours depending on your break times? This is one of the questions you should ask yourself.
Generally speaking, the heat retention time can vary from 4 to 6 hours and from 6 to 12 hours. It all depends on the quality of the design materials. However, at Healthy Lunch, we challenge competing products with unparalleled thermal insulation. Specifically, the majority of our food thermoses successfully keep warm between 12 and 24 hours without temperature loss.
The quality of the materials
There are two types of materials on the market for the design of food thermoses. These include stainless steel and plastic. However, if quality is your leitmotiv, we recommend stainless steel soup thermos because of its qualities.
Indeed, they are the most preferred, because they do not contain BPA, PVC and phthalate. In one sentence, the material is certified food, that is, free of any chemical substances and toxic to the body. It does not rust and does not absorb the color or smell of hot food stored in it.
On the other hand, stainless steel bowls do not end up in landfills like disposable dishes. They are durable and pollute the environment less. By opting for them, you make the choice to preserve the ecology.
Finally, stainless steel thermoses are quite sturdy and are excellent at insulating heat for a long time. Even some cheap models tend to be marketed in stainless steel.
For a better choice, the accessories are a must not to be neglected, because they will be of great use to you. And among the list of equipment to look for, we advise you :
- Handles: they make the thermos portable and easy to carry anywhere.
- Folding spoons: It's always handy to have a spoon on hand when you want to eat your meal in a hurry. At Healthy Lunch, we include this feature in our packs.
- Bags: If you want to maximize the heat retention of your meals, the bag is an alternative we recommend. In addition, it allows you to hide your container, which is a form of security. For this purpose, choose thermos flasks that come with an insulated bag, like our models.
- Storage space: often presented as small compartments, this accessory helps you store additional ingredients or your cutlery.
Of course, a food thermos can't always have all these features. You will have to choose the ones that suit you best.
The level of maintenance
The best hot food thermos should be able to make your life easier when it comes to maintenance. Specifically, this does not mean that it must necessarily be dishwasher safe, but it is an advantage that you can favor. Indeed, there are some models that can be washed in the machine like any other plate. However, others are not dishwasher safe because of their design.
If you decide to opt for this type of utensil, it will suffice to wash it by hand with mild soap. For the operation, prefer lukewarm water to preserve the finish of the bowl. Finally, it is forbidden to use bleach or detergent to maintain your thermos.
The price will be the most important factor if you are on a tight budget. On the other hand, it can be a formality if you don't mind spending more money on the purchase. So, think about preparing an average budget of about 30 euros before you start the adventure. In our store, we can clearly provide you with excellent value for money in order to respect not only your purse, but also your requirements.
FAQs on food thermoses
Can you heat a thermos in the microwave?
Unless you want to see your microwave in the garbage, we don't recommend putting your thermos inside the appliance. In fact, it could create a potential explosion. However, there may be specific models that are compatible with the machine, so be sure to ask your vendor.
What hot meals can you carry in your thermos?
A thermos can carry liquid or semi-liquid meals. Here is a list of some recipes you can experiment with:
- Cheesy Zucchini and Tomato Gratin;
- Thai Chicken with Coconut;
- Vegetarian pasta with mozzarella cheese;
- Quinoa Chili;
- 5 vegetable soup;
- Butternut Soup.
To keep it simple, you can also fill your thermos with homemade hot chocolate or a relaxing tea.
Can the thermos leak food?
Naturally, thermos flasks, especially the Healthy Lunch ones, are reinforced with airtight lids that prevent the contents from leaking. This means they can withstand a bumpy ride on the subway or bus, walking up and down stairs, etc.
Can you put a thermos in the dishwasher?
All stainless steel bottles are dishwasher safe. However, they can also be washed with your hands in warm, soapy water. Avoid soaps containing bleach at all costs in order to preserve the shiny finish of the inner walls.
How do you clean food thermoses?
If you plan to make cleaning a routine, here's what you need to do:
- Pour an ounce of dishwashing liquid into the flask and fill it with warm water. Do this instead of dipping it into a bowl of warm water.
- Let the soapy contents sit for at least 5 minutes.
- Use a clean cloth or microfiber rag and gently clean the inside of the cooler.
- Rinse with warm water. Afterwards, wipe it off with a clean towel and let the container air dry, not sun dry.
If you have tea or soup stains in the food can, feel free to use a mixture of:
- bicarbonate of soda ;
- warm water.
Only after this mixture, you can proceed to the different steps of the above instructions.
Food thermos for hot meals: conclusion and recommendation
As you can see, thermoses are a great way to bring hot food with you on the go. With our tailored guide, you should now have a good idea of what will work best for you. For the editorial team, our top pick is the Black Insulated Lunch Box. It makes perfect use of the thermal insulation system for over 12 hours of heat retention. Better yet, its materials are durable, virtually unbreakable and make the food taste better. We especially don't forget that it offers two capacities, which gives you plenty of choice. In one sentence, just try it!