- Aug. 15, 2014 - ST. LOUIS --
It’s back to school season, which means parents across America will begin the daily task of packing school lunches. While creating a mid-day meal that is healthy, safe and satisfying may appear to be a relatively simple task, at times, it can be a bit difficult to produce meal combinations that meet all three standards. Because keeping families healthy and happy is one of their core objectives, the health experts from NurseWise have created a list of five tips to help parents in preparing school lunches. “As a mother myself, I understand the challenge of trying to ensure my child is well-nourished and has lunches that provide the fuel and focus needed to succeed in school,” said Kim Tuck, RN, President and Chief Executive Officer of NurseWise. “As nurses and healthcare professionals, NurseWise is pleased to be able to share information with parents about the importance of food preparation, food temperatures and storage conditions – in hopes to make their day-to-day tasks a bit easier and their children’s lives healthier.” Here are NurseWise’s five lunch tips to set your children up for a successful school year: 1. It starts at home. Everyone knows that learning begins in the home, and the same applies to lunch preparation. Food preparation is a key factor in ensuring the safety of the lunches you pack for your children. Eliminate the spread of germs and illness by cleaning preparation spaces daily with warm, soapy water. Pay attention to food labels in regard to refrigeration specifications. Avoid packing foods that require heating or cooking before consumption. Be sure to pack your child’s food in clean storage containers. Don’t reuse disposable water bottles, because they can carry germs and are often made of materials that can become toxic when exposed to extreme temperatures. 2. Are you a fridge, locker or cubby kid? Is your child’s lunch kept in a refrigerated or non-refrigerated storage bin? Ask your child’s teacher before the school year begins, so you’ll know what type of lunch container to purchase. You can purchase lunch containers with built-in cool packs or sleeves that hold cold packs. These are a great option to prevent foods from reaching unsafe temperatures that can cause spoilage and illness. Ice packs are affordable, easy-to-use and nontoxic. Be certain to freeze your child’s ice pack every night, so it will stay frozen well into the day, keeping perishable food items at an appropriate temperature. 3. Fresh foods are best. Odds are your child’s food won’t be refrigerated during the day. Accordingly, you’ll want to avoid sending items with mayonnaise, cheese and other dairy products. Certain protein food items can be affected by temperature, too. Because it can be difficult to tell what temperature your child’s food will be kept and stored at, it’s best to send as many fresh food items as you can. You can never go wrong with fresh fruit and veggies because these foods can go unrefrigerated for long periods without spoiling or becoming toxic. Because kids will be kids and they’ll likely want a treat included, try to find healthier versions of items like potato chips, cookies and crackers which also maintain their integrity at room temperature. 4. Miniatures work wonders. No one wants a dry sandwich. Did you know you can purchase the same individual mayonnaise, ketchup and salad dressing packets you get from fast-food restaurants?
Simply search online for vendors who sell individual condiments packets to consumers. Keeping condiments in their safety-inspected, sealed packaging is a much safer alternative than hoping your child’s food and condiments don’t overheat. 5. Sanitize on the go. Purchase a miniature sanitizer for your child’s lunch box or bag. Many stores offer kid-themed sanitizers on rubber key chain holders that can be attached to the zipper on your child’s lunch container. Teach your children the importance of sanitizing their hands before they eat and how doing so will make them less likely to catch contagious germs and illnesses. Bonus tip! Add a cute or funny note to tell them how proud you are and how much they mean to you. A loving surprise always makes the day brighter. Here’s to good grades and good fun, and a safe, healthy and happy school year. About NurseWise NurseWise is a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation that is in the business of providing multilingual telehealth (nurse triage and health education) services. We partner with health plans, hospitals, providers, colleges and universities, and other specialty organizations to ensure all callers have access to high quality, appropriate care. Our services are designed to encourage callers to become active participants in their health care, engaging in activities that promote appropriate utilization of care resources as well as better health outcomes for individuals and their families. We have provided uninterrupted service every day since 1995. NurseWise experienced Customer Care Professionals and Registered Nurses at our Clinical Care CentersTM across the country provide Care.Right.Now. through delivery of health information, education, and advice in a culturally and linguistically sensitive manner. NurseWise has locations in Tempe, Ariz.; El Paso, Texas; Tyler, Texas; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Atlanta, Ga.; and St. Louis, Mo. For more information, please visit our website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.