A Healthy Start to the School Year
A new school year is right around the corner and for parents that means finishing up “Back to School” shopping and getting kids into their school year routine. Parents, you’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about getting the right supplies for class, but what about getting the right supplies for lunch?
Kids are heading back to school with lunches that are packed in the morning and not eaten until lunchtime. Food should remain at room temperature for no more than 2 hours, 1 hour in hot weather, so extra care must be taken to prevent the growth of bacteria that can make children sick. To help make this a healthy, happy school year we’ve got some handy tips from USDA on packing school lunches:
- Always keep everything clean: Hands, surfaces, utensils, fresh fruit and veggies, everything!
- Keep hot foods hot: Use an insulated bottle for hot foods.
- Keep cold foods cold: Use an insulated lunch box and frozen gel packs – or a frozen juice box – to keep things cool until lunchtime (but not later).
- When you’re done, throw it away: Throw away any perishable leftovers, used paper and plastic bags. Keep in mind that how something looks and smells is not always an indication that something is no longer safe to eat. When in doubt, throw it out!
If you have concerns about keeping your child’s food at the appropriate temperature during the school day, we have some great suggestions for lunch food items that do not have temperature requirements:
Certain cheese spreads
Canned fruits (unopened)
Fresh fruits and veggies (uncut)
Remember, while these are great tips for preparing a child’s lunch, they are also appropriate for adults who pack a lunch to take to work. Following these simple steps will ensure everybody has a safe lunch!
For more information on food safety, visit USDA’s website.