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 nutrients. – 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 cafeterias. – 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 seconds. – 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 www.inspection.gc.ca. References • Dietitians of Canada. (2005). Step Right Up to Healthy Eating: Thanks for the Great Lunch. Fact sheet. www.dietitians.ca/eatwell • Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Lunch to Go! Food Safety Tips. Fact sheet. www.inspection.gc.ca Adapted from Anneke Vink, 2007.
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