Schools across the country are now in session. For many parents, this means reprioritizing their time to help with homework, commute to school and extracurricular activities, and plan meals can be an adjustment.
To start the school year off right and in light of National Food Safety Month, we have put together a few helpful tips and resources that will reinforce safe food and kitchen practices no matter how time-strapped you are.
1. Cleanliness starts in the kitchen. Packing lunches, for example, before heading out the door can be difficult when time is of the essence. Though it’s tempting to clean-up for later, it’s important to sanitize the kitchen immediately following use. Also, during preparation, follow the USDA’s simple mantra:
Clean — You should even wash fruits and veggies that you will peel as bacteria can spread from the inside to the outside.
Separate — Keep meat, poultry, eggs and seafood separate from other foods.
Cook — The danger zone is between 40˚ and 140˚ Fahrenheit!
Chill — Refrigerate perishable food within two hours.
2. Prepare healthy meals in advance. Though you won’t be able to monitor if your child eats all of their vegetables during lunchtime, prepare their to-go meal–they can even help!–with foodsafety.gov’s clever six steps to packing a safe, germ-free lunch.
3. Wash hands thoroughly and frequently. Remind your children to wash their hands and include hand sanitizer or travel-size antibacterial soap in their lunch box. According to the Center for Disease Control, warm water and soap is best to combat germs, but sanitizer suffices when they’re not available.
Proper food handling is essential to keeping you and your loved ones free from foodborne illnesses. Along with this information, you can still craft tasty snacks and nutritious lunches for the whole family to enjoy. Visit our Back-To-School Healthy Lunch Box Recipes for a few ideas!