November 25th, 2013
With school in full swing (and a certain best-meal-of-the-year at the end of the week), we’re thinking of safe & kid-friendly ways to encourage healthy eating habits at lunch! The Food Safe Families Campaign is committed to making safe lunches easy & attainable; and takes the guess work out of it. As parents, we are committed to providing a well-balanced meal… but are we making sure it’s safe to eat or simply creating a bacteria breeding ground? (Gross, I know, but the reality is that 1 in 4 Americans could suffer from food borne illness this year!)
Follow these simple tips to ensure your kids are getting the excellent meal they need:
- Tip #1: If the lunch you’re packing contains perishable food items like cold cut meats, eggs and yogurt, make sure to pack it with freezer packs or keep it otherwise chilled. Harmful bacteria multiply rapidly in the “Danger Zone” — the temperatures between 40 and 140 °F (4.4 °C and 60 °C). So, perishable food transported without an ice source won’t stay safe long.
- Tip #2: Frozen juice boxes can also be used as freezer packs. Freeze juice boxes overnight and use as freezer packs. By lunchtime, the juice should be thawed and ready to drink!
- Tip #3: Pack lunches in an insulated, soft-sided lunch bag. Lunches with perishable food items can be unsafe to eat by lunchtime if packed in an old-fashioned brown paper bag.
- Tip #4: If there is a refrigerator at school, tell your child to keep their lunch inside. But leave the lid of the lunchbox or bag open so that cold air can better circulate and keep the food cold.
- Tip #5: After lunch, discard all leftover food, used food packaging, and paper bags. Do not reuse packaging because it could contaminate other food and cause foodborne illness.
Good to know! I just love the frozen juice box idea, don’t you? As always, include your children in the process, when possible. Let them help you pack the food every day; ease your work load, while teaching them important skills. Want even more ideas? Check out the tips for packing a safe and satisfying school lunch.