A recent study byÂ Fawaz Almansour with the Department of Nutrition at the University of Texas at Austin found that of the 700 tested lunchboxes nearly 40% did not contain any sort of ice pack. Of the 60% that did contain ice packs, more than 90% of the perishable foods had reached the dangerous temperature zone. When foods such as milk, meat or sliced fruits reach 40 degreesÂ Fahrenheit, or above, it is not safe to eat them. The research proved that toddlers' lunches reached an average temperature of 62 degrees by lunchtime...that's 22 degrees warmer than they should be!
As parents, it is our job to keep our kids safe...and that means what they eat too!
Packing a safe lunchbox:Â
1. Make sure the lunchbox is insulated. Gone are the days of brown paper bags. Opt for a reusable lunchbox that is easy to clean, and fully insulated.
2. Plan ahead. If you take the time to plan and pack your child's lunch the night before, you will be less likely to rush and forget any important details...like the ice pack.
3. If you can freeze it, do it. Pop your child's juice box or water bottle in the freezer the night before. It will serve as a second ice pack, and will be nice and cool at lunch time. Freeze the turkey for your child's sandwich---it will help it stay cold longer. Other freezable items include: yogurt, cheese sticks, or apple sauce.
4. DON'T REUSE LUNCHBOX LEFTOVERS. By the time lunchbox remains make it home, the ice packs are no longer doing their job. Dispose of all perishable lunch remnants and start fresh the next day.
What are your safe lunchbox packing tips?