Coming from a family who has always packed a boxed lunch to school and work, I have always known that it is important to keep the food in the containers fresh before consuming. Whether it is a sandwich or leftovers from a delicious dinner, it is not only a healthier option but also more cost effective! But food poisoning bacteria can grow quickly, especially in hot weather and in the healthier foods such as salad and cold meat we pack for lunch these days.
Here is some advice to prevent bacteria from growing;
- Choose: When packing a lunch box, avoid using high-risk foods. Good options might be hard cheeses, freshly cooked meats, well-washed fruits and vegetables, canned tuna, shelf stable snacks and sandwich spreads. But something we easily forget; the box itself! Choose on that is easy to clean and dry.
- Clean: Like in any normal meal, wash your hands and the fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Lunchboxes and reusable drink bottles must be thoroughly washed and dried daily. If it is cracked or split, get rid of it.
- Cook: Cook food properly. This includes reheating!
- Chill: If possible, keep lunch in the fridge. But not everyone is that fortunate, you can replicate it by packing a frozen juice box, water bottle etc.
- Separate: Make sure the food is well separated from other foods in the refrigerator, particularly meats – the juices of which will contaminate foods which won’t be cooked before adding to the lunchbox, such as fruits.
Are there any habits that might need to be changed as you pack your lunch for next week?
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