How to Pack a Healthy and Safe Lunch

Packing a safe and healthy lunch is easy if you follow basic food safety guidelines.

Steps

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    Keep everything clean. Start with clean hands.
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    Rinse produce. Clean all fruits and vegetables before eating. Wash them under running water and dry them with a clean towel.
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    Keep hot foods hot by storing them in the correct container. Keep hot foods such as soup, chili or stew hot - 140 °F (60 °C) or above - by using an insulated container. Preheat the thermos with hot water and let stand. Drain the hot water and fill with hot food.
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    Keep cold foods cold by using appropriate storage containers. Use an insulated lunch bag. Metal or plastic lunch boxes and paper bags can also be used. Double sack paper lunch bags to increase their insulation qualities.
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    Use a frozen gel pack. Harmful bacteria multiply rapidly between the temperatures of 40 degrees and 140 °F (60 °C).
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    Freeze a juice pack to help keep the lunch cold. Use a frozen juice pack to keep things cold. Also, freeze sandwiches to help keep them chilled until lunchtime. The sandwiches will be thawed in time for lunch.
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    Put school lunches in the school refrigerator. If a refrigerator is available at school, that's the best option to keep food cold.
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    Keep lunch boxes away from direct sunlight and heat sources such as radiators and baseboards.
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    Throw out uneaten food. Toss what's left of lunch rather than saving the food for another lunch.
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    Keep shelf-stable foods handy. Consider keeping a supply of shelf-stable foods on hand for easy packing. These include crackers, nuts, dried fruit, peanut butter, packaged pudding and canned fruits or meats.
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    Prepare the lunch the night before. Making up the lunch the night before can be a real time saver. Sandwiches should be kept in the refrigerator, or frozen, until time to go in the morning.
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    To save time consider making sandwiches in bulk. Line up the ingredients assembly line style and make a bunch of sandwiches in bulk. This is much like Once-a-Month cooking where foods are all prepared at once for later use. Freeze the sandwiches for later use.[[Image:Pack a Healthy and Safe Lunch Step 12.jpg}}

Article Info

Categories: Meal Planning