With a new school year here, send your child to class with safe and healthy lunches with these easy tips.
Stay cool for school. Perishable foods should not be left out of refrigeration for more than two hours—but according to a survey by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, four out of five kids say they don't have access to a refrigerator at school. Help keep your child's lunch safe by packing it in an insulated lunch bag or lunch box, and including an ice pack or frozen beverage container.
Skip the shortcuts. Most parents (73 percent) prepare their child's lunch in the morning before school, which can make for an early morning time crunch! So be sure to avoid shortcuts that can lead to foodborne illness. To prevent cross-contamination, clear counter surfaces to remove any remnants of last night's dinner. Also, remember to start each day fresh by making sure your child's lunch box or lunch bag is washed with warm soapy water after each use.
Create a (shelf) stable environment. More than two-thirds of all kids say they want to eat healthy foods for lunch—but healthy doesn't have to mean perishable. If refrigeration is unavailable, consider substituting perishables with shelf-stable foods such as trail mix, granola bars, bagels, carrot and celery sticks, whole fruit, single-serve sugar-free applesauce, cans of tuna and peanut butter.