Back to School….and Packing Lunches!

A common challenge to packing a lunch for our kids to take to school is finding foods they enjoy, are healthy, and that our kids will actually eat. Another challenge less often considered is how to keep that food safe. Keep these simple tips in mind to pack a tasty and safe lunch for your child.

Keep Cold Foods Cold

  • Keep perishable foods cold by packing lunch in an insulated lunch bag with and 2 ice packs. You can use a frozen water bottle as one of the cold sources, and at the same time provide a healthy drink for your child.

Keep Hot Foods Hot

  • Soup, chili, leftovers and stew can be packed in an insulated thermos. Fill the thermos with boiling water and let it sit for several minutes prior to filling with the piping hot food.

Clean it Up

  • Make sure your counter tops and cutting boards are always clean before using. Use a separate cutting board for meats and fruits / vegetables. A solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water may be used to sanitize countertop surfaces
  • Clean your child’s lunch box after every use
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before peeling or cutting
  • Teach your child to wash their hands before digging into the delicious lunch you have made. To make it easier, include hand sanitizer or a moist towlette in their lunch

Limit the Leftovers

  • Have your child toss all leftovers that are perishable – they should not be saved for a snack later in the day. Non-perishable items can be included for an afternoon snack

Be creative!

  • Follow this link for fun ideas on school lunch this year. Involve your child in both meal planning and packing – if they have input they are more likely to eat what they take!
  • Follow this link for a reminder to put on your refrigerator of food safety practices