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Getting the Kids Ready for Back-to-School – Part III

The kids are finally organized and excited about starting school. You let them pick out their favorite lunch box and backpack.  Now it’s time to start thinking about what to pack them for lunch.

Good HouseKeeping recently conducted a comprehensive test of 43 lunch boxes and discovered that none of them were able to keep your child’s lunch at a safe temp and put children at risk of eating spoiled food.

“From the time your child leaves for school until midday, his/her lunch is likely unrefrigerated. And when perishables (such as cold cuts or sliced fruit) rise above fridge temperature, they remain safe to eat for only two hours.”

Even loaded with ice packs food is at risk of spoiling before lunch. But there are steps you can take to help preserve your child’s meal.

  1. Stop Serving Perishable Items – The easiest way to keep your child’s food from spoiling is to plan what will work for lunch and still be good by the time your child eats it. There are other items you can pack that are healthy and nutritious.
  2. Refrigerate Overnight or Freeze – If you prepare your child’s lunch the night before keep it in the refrigerator or freezer so it will be cold when you pack it in the morning.
  3. Include an Icepack – Adding ice packs to your child’s lunch will help keep items cold.  Freezing their water or juice will also help to keep other items at a safe temperature.

If you are looking for meal options that don’t have to be carefully chilled, check out some Good HouseKeeping‘s healthy and fun options.

  1. Whole Grain Breads – Look for breads that say they are 100% whole grain or oat and it should be the first item listed in the ingredients.
  2. Nut Butters – Nut butters are a great source of protein and can be safely packed for lunch without needing to be refrigerated.
  3. Fruit or Vegetable Juice – Look for 100% fruit and vegetable juice and limit juice to one serving  (1 cup) per day.
  4. Pasteurized Cheese – Laughing Cow Light wedges are great for smearing on whole-grain crackers and are a good source of calcium.
  5. Fruit Cups – Fruit cups are a safe alternative to chopped fruit, look for the natural or no sugar added to cut down on calories and added sugar.
  6. Lunchables – Make them at home with your child’s favorite crackers, cheese and fresh vegetables.
  7. Frozen Smoothies – Make the smoothies in advance and freeze them overnight so they are frozen solid and ready to pack. They will be nice and slushy and ready to drink by lunchtime.

What are your favorite things to pack for lunch?

If you need some extra help getting ready for the new school year, join us on Facebook and download our Back-to-School Guide & Printable Checklist!

Also, check out the Kids Stuff section of our website.

Related Posts:

Getting the Kids Ready for Back-to-School, Part I
Getting the Kids Ready for Back-to-School, Part II

Source: Good Housekeeping
Image Source: Flickr member fd licensed under Creative Commons)

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