Keep it simple with these guides to pack a nutritious and safe lunch for the entire family amidst your chaotic morning schedules.
Keep it Clean
Wash lunch boxes and lunch bags with warm, soapy water the previous night itself to dry them properly. Take care to wash your hands before, during and after preparing lunches, and keep your kitchen counters and surfaces clean to prevent cross-contamination.
Cultivate the habit of washing hands or teach your children to use a moist towelette or hand sanitizer from their lunch container before they eat.
Refrigerate Perishable Foods
Try to avoid packing perishable food as much as possible as these stuffs cannot withstand outside room temperature for more than two hours and most students are not provided access to school refrigerators. If you are compelled to send such perishable foods, pack them in an insulated lunch bag or lunch box and include an ice pack or frozen beverage container to keep your child’s lunch safe.
It is best to replace perishables with shelf-stable foods such as trail mix, individual box of cereal, granola bars, bagels, carrot and celery sticks, whole fruit, dried fruit, single-serve applesauce and whole-grain crackers with peanut butter.
If you have the habit of preparing food the previous night, make sure to store perishable food items such as yogurt and meat or cheese sandwiches in a refrigerator while adjusting the temperature to below 40°F.
Choose Every Single Ingredient Healthily
Choose a healthy mix of ingredients like whole-wheat breads, low-fat or fat-free dairy options and lean meats and proteins while preparing any of your dishes. Eminent nutritionists recommend filling at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables during every meal. Don’t forget to wash vegetables and ready-to-eat fruits such as apples and pears, as well as peel-and-eat fruits including bananas and pomegranates to prevent harmful bacteria from spreading.
Get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com for even more options on healthy eating.
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.