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									Baggin’ It!
Safety tips for packed lunches
 Tips for Great Lunches
• Create a nutritionally balanced lunch.
  – Aim for at least one food from each of the four
    food groups of Canada’s Food Guide.
• Do it yourself.
  – Pre-packaged items are usually expensive and
    high in calories, fat, and sodium and low in
  – Create your own nutritious lunch with whole
    grain crackers, raw vegetables, fresh fruit, and
    fat-free yogurt.
Tips for Great Lunches (continued)
• Follow the rules.
  – Check to see if your organization is peanut or
    allergen free. If it is, do not pack nuts or peanut
    butter products.
• Practise safe food handling.
  – Keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold.
  – Use insulated containers and cold packs.
Tips for Great Lunches (continued)
• Advocate for healthy food choices in your
  workplace vending machines and/or
  – Request more foods found in Eating Well with
    Canada’s Food Guide.
  – Request healthier cooking methods such as
    baking, broiling, and grilling.
• Eat well when you go out.
  – Seek out restaurants that offer a variety of
    healthy alternatives.
  – Pay attention to portion sizes.
Three Quick and Easy Steps to
Making Safe Lunches
1. Get off to a CLEAN start.
  – Wash your hands! This is one of the most
    effective ways to prevent the spread of food-
    borne illness.
  – Wash your hands with soap for at least 20
  – Sanitize your counter tops, lunch box, and
    utensils. Use a bleach, vinegar, tea tree oil, or
    disinfectant spray and rinse with lots of water.
 Three Quick and Easy Steps to
 Making Safe Lunches (continued)
• 2. Keep cold food cool.
  – Perishable foods like meat, poultry, seafood,
    eggs, mayonnaise, dairy products, and all
    leftovers must stay cold to stay safe.
  – Use freezer packs to keep your food at or
    below 4°C. Consume foods within 4 hours;
    after 4 hours they are no longer safe to eat.
  – Frozen juice boxes packed between food can
    do double duty as extra freezer packs.
  – Invest in an insulated lunch box and keep it out
    of direct sunlight and away from radiators or
    other heat sources.
Three Quick and Easy Steps to
Making Safe Lunches (continued)
3. Keep hot food hot.
  – Hot food like soup, chili, and stew must stay
    hot (at or above 60°C).
  – Use insulated containers and keep them closed
    until lunch or supper time (store for no longer
    than 4 hours).
  – If possible, take food cold and heat in the
    microwave when you get to work.
  – Preheat your insulated container with boiling
    water and let it stand before adding food.
Don’t Forget!
• Don’t forget to wash all fruits and
  vegetables before eating them.
• For more information on food safety,
  contact the Canadian Food Inspection
  Agency (CFIA) at
• Dietitians of Canada. (2005). Step Right Up
  to Healthy Eating: Thanks for the Great
  Lunch. Fact sheet.
• Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Lunch
  to Go! Food Safety Tips. Fact sheet.

Adapted from Anneke Vink, 2007.

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