Packing a Safe & Healthy Lunch for School. In this program. What about School Meals?

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1 Packing a Safe & Healthy Lunch for School Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin. The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating In this program. Packing a school lunch for your child? Ideas for menus Preparing a safe lunch Don t pack the Bac! Tips for keeping your child s lunch safe What about School Meals? Meals prepared at school are nutritious Nutrient requirements Limits on amount of fat Competitive foods no longer in cafeterias If possible, sign up for the School Lunch Program Saves families money 1

2 Why pack a lunch for school? Satisfy picky eaters Hands on way to learn meal planning Save time at school No waiting in line for lunch; more time to eat Bagging a lunch that makes the grade Try to include the food groups Grains (bread, tortilla, crackers, pita) Fruits (fresh, dried, canned, 100% juice) Vegetables (vegetable sticks with dressing) Protein (Meat & beans) Dairy (Milk) Get creative! Peanut-butter stuffed apples Sandwich on a stick Peanut butter & banana dog 2

3 Make Your Own Lunchable Whole grain crackers or pita bread Sliced or cubed cheese Lean lunchmeat Fruit and/or vegetables Canned pudding Get Kids Involved in Making Their Lunch Let them help plan and prepare their lunches Teaches food preparation skills Chance to reinforce food safety habits Lets children take ownership of their lunch Don t let your child be bugged by the lunch you pack! 3

4 Don t Let Your Child Get Bugged from a Packed Lunch Wash hands with soap and warm water before handling any food. Make sure all food preparation areas are clean. Keep perishable foods out of the temperature danger zone ( F) until lunchtime. Watch the Temperature Bacteria can double in number every 20 to 30 minutes. At room temperature, just 1 bacterium (germ) could grow to as many as 4,096 bacteria in 4 hours! Foods that are Safe at Room Temperature Nuts & nut butters (i.e. peanut butter) Unopened containers of pudding Unopened juice boxes Dried and canned fruit Unopened canned meat and meat dishes Bread, cereal, crackers & cookies Chips (baked or regular) Whole fruit (apple, banana, orange, etc) 4

5 Foods that Must be Kept Cold Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cooked beans or sandwiches/salads made with these foods Lunch meat Cheese Salad dressing/mayo Milk Pudding Cut fruit Cut vegetables Cooked pasta Cooked rice Keep Cold Foods Cold Keep cold foods in the refrigerator or freezer until it is time to leave for school. Wrap in plastic or foil to keep condensation from getting other foods wet. Keep Hot Foods Hot Keep soup, chili or stew hot with a widemouth insulated bottle. Fill the bottle with boiling water; let stand for a few minutes to heat the bottle Heat soup, chili, or stew until it is 165 F Pour out the boiling water from the bottle Fill bottle with hot soup, chili, or stew 5

6 What s Your Bag? Insulated soft-sided lunch bags are best at keeping foods cold Keep Lunch Bags Clean After lunch, throw away all food packages and paper bags. Use paper bags only once. Clean plastic, cloth, and metal lunch boxes/bags daily Other Tips to Keep Lunches Safe Do not re-use lunch leftovers. Throw them out. Do not use leftovers that have been in the refrigerator longer than 1 or 2 days. Have your child keep his/her lunch away from direct sunlight and other heat sources. 6

7 Help Pack These Lunches Safely Lunch #1 Ham & cheese wrap Pretzels Fresh grapes Which food could cause a child to get sick if it is not packed safely? What is the best (safest) way to pack this lunch? Lunch # 2 Vegetable stew Saltine crackers Cookie Which food could cause a child to get sick if it is not packed safely? What is the best (safest) way to pack this lunch? 7

8 Lunch #3 Peanut butter & Jelly Sandwich Baked chips Whole apple Which food could cause a child to get sick if it is not packed safely? What is the best (safest) way to pack this lunch? Remember. Packing a lunch is a fun way to teach food preparation and nutrition to a child Make sure the lunch you pack doesn t make your child sick Wash hands and food preparation areas Keep hot foods hot; cold foods cold Use leftovers wisely Keep lunch containers clean Thanks! 8

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