10 Lunchbox Facts

Are you on the lookout for ideas to liven up your children’s lunches? Here are a few ideas.

1. No More Lunch Box

For many teens, it’s out of the question to be seen with a lunch box, even a trendy one. Let them choose their means of transportation that they can slide into their backpack. Throw in an ice pack, water bottle or frozen juice box and you’re done. And, while you’re at it, you should replace their Strawberry Shortcake or Spiderman thermos!

2. Cutting Knife

A knife with a retractable blade is useful to cut an apple, pear or cheese. Before slipping into your young student’s lunch, check the school’s policy on this subject...

3. Liven Up A Lunch Plate

It takes just a little effort to add a personal touch: a handwritten note, a coloured napkin, a homemade cookie or other little treat to help get them through the day.

4. Your Kid Makes Their Own Lunch

Consider yourself lucky! Instead of pulling out your hair to make the perfect lunch, stick a reminder on the fridge outlining the food groups to include: a source of protein (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, cheese…), vegetables, cereal products, milk and substitutes, fruits.

5. Eat Like A Bird

Explain to your child that it is better to eat perishable food BEFORE those that can be reused the next day (crackers, granola bars, cookies…

6. Yogurt Containers

At home, supervise the unsafe “recycling” of certain foods. Surprisingly, yogurt is not considered a potentially dangerous food given that it is acidic and bacteria are less likely to multiply. Bake uneaten yogurt that comes home in the lunch box in cake, muffins or dessert breads.

7. Cheese Leftovers

If the cheese is individually wrapped, use it in soup and pasta or vegetable dishes.

8. The Rest of the Leftovers?

You can’t rely on appearances, because some contaminated foods do not change colour or taste. When in doubt, throw it out! Perishable and potentially dangerous foods (mayonnaise, milk, poultry, meat, fish, eggs, cold cuts...) that have been more than 2 hours in the danger zone (between 4 and 60 °C) should be thrown out.

9. Cut Fruit and Vegetable Leftovers

Freeze them in plastic bags and turn them into a meal (soup, compote…). Only cut melon has to be thrown out... because it is not acidic enough to be protected from bacteria that can be found on the surface.

10. Smells Like Teen Spirit

Regularly wash lunch boxes by mixing 5 ml (1 tsp.) of bleach with 750 ml (3 cups) of water in a well-labelled spray bottle. You can also use undiluted white vinegar. Then leave it open to let it air dry.

Hélène Laurendeau

A nutrition and health enthusiast who loves to share: this description fits Hélène Laurendeau to a tee. She has been active for more than 25 years in the media and communications field. Nutritionist, host, columnist, author and speaker, Hélène holds a Bachelor degree in Nutrition and a Master degree in Epidemiology. She has spread her knowledge alongside Ricardo every week since 2005, as part of his daily show broadcast on ICI Radio-Canada Télé, as well as in Ricardo magazine, where she pens the Bien se nourrir (Eating Well) column.