Did you know it is currently estimated that 6% of children are affected by food allergies?
It’s back to school time again and we know that this period can generate a certain excitement for kids and parents alike. However, along with packing school supplies, you’ll also be packing school lunches for your children.
While there are food safety tips that you should follow to avoid food poisoning, it’s also important to remember allergy awareness when you are packing lunches.
Although many foods can cause allergic reactions, the majority of reactions are caused by peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, soy, seafood, wheat, eggs, milk, sulphites and mustard.
Symptoms may include mild skin irritations and hives, to breathing difficulties and loss of consciousness. The most severe reaction, called anaphylaxis, can be fatal.
Because of the potential seriousness of allergic reactions, many schools have policies in place to stop students from bringing certain items in their lunches. It’s very important for you to follow the school’s food allergen policy closely, even if your child does not have allergies. You should also remind your child that it is risky to exchange or share food.
It is important to keep cold food cold and hot food hot, so that your food never reaches the temperature danger zone where bacteria can grow quickly and cause food poisoning.
To keep food cold, place an ice pack in the lunch bag to keep the food inside cold. You can also freeze an orange, small bottled water or yogurt snack and pack it in the lunch bag or box. Not only will this help keep the lunch cold, but by lunchtime the frozen treat will have melted, giving your child a cold, refreshing water or snack to enjoy with their lunch.
If you plan on including fruits and vegetables, remember to wash them thoroughly under fresh, cool, running water, even if they will be peeled.
For more tips on food safety, click here.
Do you lack inspiration for preparing lunches or healthy snacks? Visit the recipes page of Canada’s Food Guide. New healthy and delicious recipes are added regularly!