With the start of the school year upon us, it’s a great time to think about some healthy, tasty ideas to fill up lunch boxes. But while a healthy lunch is vital, it’s also important to make sure it’s safe and appealing—there’s no point in eating a healthy lunch that makes us sick and it’s pretty hard to get kids enthused about a squashed sandwich even if it’s full of delicious, nutritious ingredients. So here are our top tips for packing a safe lunch box:
1. Go for a cooler bag or insulated lunchbox.
One of the keys to keeping food safe is storing it at a safe temperature, which can be difficult in the hot summer months at the start of the school year. A cooler bag is a great way to keep lunches cool and fresh.
2. Put a frozen drink bottle in the lunch bag.
This is a great way of helping to keep the lunch cool while also providing the most refreshing drink.
3. Protect with packaging.
Place items like yoghurts in a plastic bag to help prevent possible spills and pack soft foods like sandwiches away from items that could squash or pull them apart.
4. Remember it’s not just traditional high-risk foods that can make us sick.
High-risk foods like meats and soft cheeses aren’t the only products that have use-by dates—did you know that you should eat rice within 3-4 days of cooking? Pre-preparing lunches can be a great time saver but remember to put them in the fridge quickly after cooking and use them within that 3-4 day window.
By following tips like these we can help keep little ones safe and increase the chance that they’ll happily wolf down that nutritious lunch you’ve packed for them, helping to set them up for a life of healthy habits.
Our favourite quick lunchbox snack ideas
Veggie sticks. Nothing beats crisp, fresh veggie sticks to boost daily vegetable intake. Try carrot, celery and capsicum.
Hummus. This delicious plant- based dip is packed with nutritious legumes. Great to pair with those veggie sticks or some favourite crackers.
Frozen Fruit pops. Freeze your favourite fruit for a tasty summer treat. Pop them in a zip-lock bag to double as an ice brick.
Quesadillas. Take a tortilla, fill it with your favourite veggies and beans and a little grated cheese and toast for a fun alternative to regular sandwiches.