An article in the New York Times, Smart Choices to Ensure Safety at Lunch, by Jane E. Brody, mentions the many benefits of packing a school lunch for your child, including, knowing what they’re eating, making sure it’s a well-balanced meal, aligns with any allergy issues or family eating habits. However, the focus on the piece is on food safety and acts as a reminder to parents of the importance of making sure your child’s lunch is safe for them to consume.
From salmonella issues to food poisoning, there are many risks to packing your own school lunch. The article’s author offers advice from experts on how to help prevent children getting sick from a brown bag lunch.
Tips from the article include:
Insulated lunch boxes: “to help keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.” Make sure the box has an insulated lining and room to add an ice pack to help keep the necessary contents cold. Make sure you pack the foods well in Tupperware or sandwich bags.
Pantry-safe foods: Almond butter, peanut butter, sliced cheese, bread, crackers, dried fruits, vacuum-packd tuna (or ones in a flip-top can), and boxed juice.
Scrub Thoroughly: If you are packing vegetables and fruits in with the lunch, make sure the are thoroughly scrubbed (a light soap and water), rinsed, and dried.
Liquids: Bottled water, juice, or yogurt, if frozen or refrigerated, can act as a cold pack to help keep foods cool. If you are packing a soup, make sure to use an insulted thermos and keep it away from dairy or any food items that might risk spoiling.
Wash Hands: Before preparing your child’s lunch, make sure to wash your hands. It’s also important to encourage your child to wash their hands before lunch. Or at least tuck in some antibacterial hand sanitizer or handi-wipes for them to use before they dig in.