Flip is ready for school… he just needs some help figuring out how to pack a safe lunch!

It’s been years since I packed a school lunch for anyone.

Back when I was a kid, my brother and I had these nifty metal lunch boxes decorated with TV and cartoon themes. They also happened to work great as sleds when the roads near our school turned icy in winter. However, after time, these classic pails became covered in dents and rust and their insides smelled like stale milk. I’m pretty sure that food safety was at a minimum (although they’re now considered collector items!).

When my son was little, I went a bit overboard and got him this bulky insulated lunch pail the size of a small suitcase, complete with ice packs. However, all he ever wanted was peanut butter and honey sandwiches – so that made the big thing kind of unnecessary.

Flip, frustratingly enough, is finicky. He doesn’t like peanut butter and insists on ‘brown bagging’ it with something small and easy to carry (he is on the petite size). So, with safety on my mind,  I needed to do some quick research! Luckily, FIRST tweeted a great link for sack lunch safety tips.

Here are some of the basics I learned:

1.  Freeze everything you can, including drinks, yogurt and soft cheeses
2.  Pack the lunch the night before so that everything inside the lunch gets cold
3.  Use ice packs and an insulated bag if the lunch will be kept at room temperature (there are a wide assortment of cool looking insulated bags out there!)
4.  Use nonperishable items like peanut butter sandwiches (except for Flip), whole fruit and vegetables (like cherry tomatoes, grapes, carrots and apples).

Let me know what’s in your sack lunch… and be food safe (while I go deal with a fussy robot…)

– Heidi Buck