Yep, it’s Back to School time. Last month, I shared tips on how to save big when you shop for back-to-school. This month, let’s look at Back to School food safety and packing safe school lunches.
Here are tips to prevent bacterial contamination and resulting illnesses when packing and having school lunches:
Before you start packing lunches, make sure that the countertops are clean and that your hands are washed. Also, scrub clean all fruits and veggies that will be had raw. Rinse fruits that are peel and eat, like bananas.
Clean the water bottle, lunchbox and bag with warm, soapy water before packing it.
Pack ‘em Perfectly
Next, keep cold perishable foods, like sandwiches, fresh by putting an ice pack or a frozen juice pack into the lunch bag. Hot perishable foods, like soup, can be kept hot and fresh by using an insulated bottle.
However, avoid packing in perishable foods if lunch is more than 2 hours away from when you’re packing it. Instead, use foods that are longer lasting, like granola bars or whole fruit.
From a health perspective, let kids have a balanced diet in their lunchbox as well with a healthy mix of fruits, veggies, protein and grains.
Finish off Fine
Finally, this one is for the kids so make sure they know that before they sit down for lunch, they must wash their hands with soap and water.
Also, ask kids to use the refrigerator at school, if one is available. If not, ask them to keep their lunch out of direct sunlight and away from any other heat sources in the class.
Let younger kids know that if something falls to the floor, they shouldn’t be putting it in their mouths. Also, discourage kids from sharing foods that have already been eaten or bitten into by a friend to prevent infections from passing around.
And do ask them to throw away any perishable leftovers and not have them for later afternoon snacks.
More Resources for School Lunch Safety
Here are additional resources for packing safe school lunches to help you give your kids keep them healthy all year ’round.
Allergy awareness when packing school lunches by Healthy Canadians
Packing a Safe School Lunch by NY Times
What tips do YOU have for packing school lunches that are delicious and safe? Share with me in the comments!
Written By: Parenting Contributor, Prerna Malik, themomwrites.com