Back to School in 2020

As we approach (or begin) the 2020 school year it’s important to consider your family’s food and nutrition habits.

Packing Lunch To Go

  • Buy items that require no assembly such as string cheese, apples, yogurt tubes, or carrot sticks
  • Involve your child in menu planning
  • See if there’s any meals or snacks that could double for both your lunch and their lunch
  • Be sure to ask what meals or snacks are provided by the school or childcare facility and if anything is altered due to COVID

No refrigerator options
  • Proteins: tuna/chicken/salmon packs
  • Single serve hummus packs, roasted chickpeas or broad beans, nut butters, nuts
  • Carbohydrates: popcorn, whole grain crackers, whole grain/high fiber pitas and wraps
  • Fruits and vegetables: apples/oranges/bananas/ clementine
  • Baked fruit and veggie chips
  • Meal replacement protein bar
  • peanut butter & jelly

Prepping Lunches for at Home Virtual Students

Keep quick and easy in mind even though you are home
  • Even if you aren’t heading out, planning a lunch menu & snacks is still useful
  • Have proteins or leftovers prepped and ready for quick lunches
  • If your child is doing virtual learning, plan menus for them and if age appropriate encourage them to prepare their lunch or snacks
  • Keep healthy grab n go snacks in eyesight for an afternoon hunger attack

Think on a food group level for lunches 
  • Main dishes – make a big batch and portion out for multiple lunches 
  • Grain bowl
  • Salad with protein
  • Peanut butter on whole grain bread with fruit
  • Soups or chili
  • Sides – fruit, veggies & dip, yogurt, granola bar or trail mix etc.

Back to School Food Safety

  • Keep food cold (below 40 °F) – utilize ice packs or a freezable lunch box
  • Danger zone is between 40 °F and 140 °F 
  • Wash cutting boards, utensils, and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item
  • Don’t cross contaminate – cut meats/poultry on separate clean cutting boards, and cut fruits/vegetables on a different cutting board
  • For hot lunches, reheat in the microwave to 165 °F
  • Visit the USDA and CDC websites for more information on Food Safety
Resources & Inspiration

Produce For Kids is a wonderful resource that includes recipe ideas, lunchbox inspiration, and kid-friendly ways to improve your family’s health.

Kids Eat Right from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a plethora of informative articles and recipes to make with the whole family!