Every autumn parents face the challenge of packing nutritious, safe school lunches. The concern is how to create lunches that are quick and easy to make, taste good and will stay safe until lunchtime. In other words, kid-friendly is more than just peanut butter & jelly.
There are three things to keep in mind when considering how to produce a safer lunch – Containers, temperature and foods items.
Start with an insulated lunch bag. There are many economical choices that are also free of harmful chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Phthalates, and Microban and are either lead-free or meet the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) testing standard for lead. Check out SafeMama for a list of safer choices http://safemama.com/cheatsheets/safer-lunch-gear/
Step number two is managing temperature control. Bacteria thrive between 40 -140 degrees, so the trick is to keep hot food hot, and cold food cold. Thermal containers will keep noodle soup hot or gazpacho cold for hours. Choose reusable stainless steel containers to avoid break down and harmful chemicals from mixing with your child’s food. They’re economical and reduce waste. Here are a few to choose from
Klean Kanteen www.kleankanteen.com
Mr. Bento Stainless Lunch Jar www.thinkgeek.com
To keep cold foods cold, use a cold pack or ice bags wrapped to avoid leakage or consider freezing food items like yogurt, milk or juice boxes the night before, and use them as your cold pack. Surprisingly, you can also freeze some sandwiches to thaw by the time lunch rolls around.
Last but not least, safety includes food choices. According to the Food Allergy Research & Education research group, one in every 13 children under the age of 18 years in the U.S. suffers from a potentially severe food allergy. That’s about 2 kids per classroom! With food allergies on the rise, lunches have to go beyond peanut butter & jelly. There are many delicious, easy to prepare items that also fit your budget. Hummus & veggies, wrap sandwiches, salad with separate dressing, granola bars, soups, leftovers, and more. For some tasty ideas check out these options http://www.momables.com/10-non-sandwich-lunch-ideas-by-momables/