Every day, many Americans pack food for school and work. As your spouse and kids run in and out of the kitchen grabbing their breakfast and lunch on the go, have you ever wondered whether the food they are going to eat will stay healthy for them later?
Also, have you ever worried about how your kids should handle the food until lunch time? This week, I have uncovered a few tips recommended by USDA to help you understand the proper way to pack a cold lunch.
So let’s begin:
- Do use insulated soft lunch bags or boxes. Although metal, plastic or doubling paper bags are also safe as long as they are kept cold, I think the insulated ones are already inexpensive and safe.
- Do use reusable ice packs, or frozen packaged fruit juice to help keep things cold.
- Do allow cooked foods to cool completely before packing. Cook ahead of time. Also try dividing the food into smaller portions using shallow containers so that it can be chilled faster.
- Do follow this restaurant tip: when in doubt, throw them out.
- Don’t over-pack. Pack only the necessary amount of perishable food.
- Don’t underestimate the variety of non-perishable food that can stay at room temperature. Pack these non-perishables for lunch to avoid temperature problems. If foods are displayed at the grocery store without refrigeration, they can be carried that way too as whole package.
- Don’t let food temperature go over 40F at lunch time. Over-chill your lunch the night before to about 33 to 34F. Try storing it towards the back of the refrigerator. You may also freeze some sandwiches. Just add lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise later.
- Don’t leave your lunch bag near heat or in direct sun, and instruct your kids to follow that policy.
So there you have it, just a few tips to help you get the best nutrition safely to your family.
Also, we have tested the hot new freeze-and-go lunch bag by Packit. The result is posted on Lunch Bites on Facebook, click and “Like” the page on the right and check it out.