Keep your lunch cool: the specialty of lunch boxes.
As parents prepare children for back to school, lunch boxes are often at the top of the shopping list.
Lunch boxes can fit easily into backpacks and help protect soft foods like bananas and peaches during busy commutes and chaotic school days.
Yet it can be difficult to keep food at safe temperatures when kids are always on the go. Food safety specialists recommend using insulated lunch boxes to help keep food fresh and protect children from foodborne illness . Perishable lunch foods (foods that need to be refrigerated) such as cold cuts and cheese, milk and yogurt should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours , or more than one hour if the temperature of the air is above 32°C.
What materials are used in insulated lunch boxes?
Insulated lunch boxes usually contain an inner layer made of a metallic material in heavy duty steel as the stainless steel which is hard to break . The inner layer of the insulated box is usually made of a water-resistant material – an aluminum layer with a silicone gasket is common and helps keep food cool and dry .
Although soft-sided lunch boxes or insulated bags are often best for keeping food cold , packing at least two cold sources, such as gel packs or ice, can help.
Lunch boxes can also be made from wood , glass and metal. While these materials are also strong and durable , if they don't have interior insulation, adding an ice or gel pack to keep food cool will help keep food safe to eat . Reusable gel packs are often made of materials like hydroxyethyl cellulose (a plant-based thickening agent), sodium polyacrylate (a type of salt), or vinyl-coated silica gel that won't contaminate food if washed. packaging breaks.
Don't have an insulated lunch box?
Although brown paper bags and plastic grocery bags aren't ideal for keeping food fresh, experts suggest using a frozen juice box as a freezer wrap, which will serve as a block of ice.
Make sure hands are clean before preparing meals and that children know to wash their hands thoroughly before lunch or snack time. If soap and water aren't readily available, consider adding wet wipes or hand sanitizer gels to the lunch box.
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