Guidelines for Safe Packed Lunches

Many of us are aware of proper food safety practices. What about areas like the packed lunches we pack for our children, our spouses, or ourselves?
December 11, 2012

Many of us are aware of what’s involved in the observance of proper food safety practices in certain areas of our lives.

For instance, we may be familiar with how to be sanitary in our kitchens at home or how to make safe choices when we visit restaurants.

What about areas like the packed lunches we pack for our children, our spouses, or ourselves to take to work though? Here’s how to make sure that every packed lunch you pack for your loved ones is as wholesome and safe to consume as the fresh meals you make them at home.

What Foods Are Safe for Packed Lunches?

The problem presented by packed lunches is that oftentimes they’re going someplace where it’s not possible to refrigerate them until lunchtime. However, even in those situations, there are foods that are perfectly fine choices. Wrapped cheese sticks or sandwiches that contain fillings like peanut butter, jam, or Vegemite are safe options. Fruit, raw veggies, or tuna properly sealed in a can or packet are also good choices.

Avoid high-risk foods including meat (unless it’s dried meat), dairy products like soft cheese or yogurt, and anything that you would expect to find in the grocery store’s refrigerated section.

Storing Packed Lunches

Choosing insulated lunch boxes over paper bags is a great way to ensure that lunch items will be better regulated as far as temperature. Another trick many smart parents use is to pack a frozen drink with the lunch itself. Not only will the drink help keep the contents of the lunch cool, but it will provide a cool refreshment for the child by the time lunch rolls around.

It’s also advisable to talk to children about keeping their lunches in as cool a place as they can. If necessary, ask the school about where lunches are kept to make sure proper safety standards are being followed.