As we start to return to work and school, the Food Safety Information Council is encouraging families to be both food safe and save money by preparing their own lunches.
Cathy Moir, Council Chair, said that taking a lunchbox is a great way to reduce the cost of living and have a healthier and safe lunch.
‘Also, getting your kids involved in lunchbox preparation will help them learn about food safety, it can also be a lot of fun involving kids in the kitchen. Here are some useful tips to get them involved:
1. Get your kids to help buy a lunchbox, choosing ones that have room for a frozen drink or freezer block and are easy to clean and dry.
2. Before handling food always get your kids to wash their hands using soap for 20 seconds and to dry their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds. To help them understand how long 20 seconds is get them to sing ‘Happy Birthday to You’
3. Get them to help wash all fruits and vegetables under running water to remove any dirt).
4. They can have fun cooking items for their lunchboxes like healthy muffins, slices or biscuits (see recipe). Remember raw eggs and raw flour in uncooked items can cause food poisoning. It’s best not to allow your kids to lick the spoon or bowl and teach them to wash their hands after handling raw eggs and flour.
5. Batches of sandwiches without vegetables can be made in advance and frozen.
6. Make sure lunchbox foods are always kept separated from raw foods in the refrigerator, particularly raw meats, chicken and eggs in their shells.
7. Once your kids have prepared their lunch get them to keep it cool in the fridge until you are ready to leave home, then put an ice brick (or a frozen drink) in the lunch box. During hot weather you may want to consider providing safer lunchbox alternatives, such as hard or processed cheeses, a can or vacuum-packed pouch of tuna, or spreads like vegemite.
‘Finally, try this month’s recipe with food safety tips for sweet potato and corn fritters with salsa which is just the thing for lunchboxes,’ Ms Moir concluded.
The Food Safety Information Council would particularly like to thank our supporter Provisual for getting food safety information into school canteens and tuckshops and we also encourage all schools to order Provisual’s free canteen posters from here.
Lydia Buchtmann, Food Safety Information Council, 0407 626 688 or email@example.com