Tips for Healthy Packed Lunches

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With the purpose of saving time from going back and forth to school during lunch, and providing healthier foods for kids, most moms prefer to send their kids to school with a hefty pack of lunch. But wait—are we sure these are indeed healthy and safe for our kids?

“Packing your child’s school lunch not only helps you know they’re eating healthful fare, it can also save money an important consideration in the current economy. Parents also need to keep in mind, however, the importance of safe handling practices when preparing food for their children’s lunch boxes,” says Dr. Don Schaffner of the Institute of Food Technologists and Rutgers University.

In order to promote healthier practices in packing lunch, either for school or work, the US Department of Agriculture presented these tips:

-          Wash Your Hands Before Packing The Foods. Nothing beats hand washing in preventing the spread of microbes from your hands down to the packed foods. Before you start packing foods, be sure to wash your hands for about twenty seconds with a good antibacterial soap. Also, before eating the food, it is equally important to wash your hands. For kids, it is also good to put in some notes in their lunch boxes which they will initially see, reminding them to wash their hands first.

-          Keep the Foods Safe. It is not impossible for these packed foods to get spoiled and perished. This is true especially with easily perishable foods like meats, milk, and other condiments. To make sure these foods do not spoil, make use of insulated lunch bags. These bags will keep the foods cold and free from warmth and provides lesser environmental which may spoil the foods. Many incidences of food poisoning have resulted from unsanitary and unsafe packed lunch. Let’s not wait for us or our kids to become victims.

-          Do Not Pack More Than What You Can Eat. Packing only the right amount of foods is essential. First, it will not be wasteful to bring home leftovers. Second, kids tend to be more induced to eating meals which they can handle. They may lose appetite at the sight of a mountainous dish. Also, make it practice to prepare the food the night before. Store it in the refrigerator and pack it the next morning.

-          Teach Your Kids How To Use The Microwave. There are many school cafeterias nowadays which have microwave ovens for the use of kids with packed lunches. Teach them the proper way of using these equipment and the correct temperature at which these oven has to be set.

-          Prevent Cross Contamination. Cross contamination happens when the food packaging materials are reused like plastic bags, aluminum foils, and cling wraps. It is important to advice your kids to throw them away after use so they won’t need to bring it back home. Also, inform them to throw away leftovers.

“Following these simple steps can help you and your family enjoy a packed lunch at school or work, while reducing the risk of food-borne illness,” says Schaffner.




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