Germs Don’t Belong on Your Kid’s Lunch Menu!
Did you know that the number one way germs enter the body is through the mouth while eating? With that being said, we need to remind our children to wash their hands multiple times a day—placing an emphasis on hand-washing prior to consuming food in order to protect them from unwanted bacteria.
Spreading germ awareness and equipping our children with the necessary tools and hygiene habits helps promote a healthy immune system. Hand-washing becomes vitally important among school-aged children as they are in constant contact with one another on the playground, in the classroom and at the lunch table.
Below are a few action items to help you and your munchkin avoid germs, bacteria and air-borne illnesses.
Wipe Germs Away
Antibacterial wipes are also great to use on lunchboxes, as they wipe away crumbs, grime and germs! It is crucial to disinfect lunchboxes daily with wipes and thoroughly wash them out once a week to prevent buildup of germs and bacteria. Germs’ favorite breeding grounds typically consist of cool, dark and damp areas: think your child’s closed lunch box stored in a cubby hole or locker for hours. Be cognizant of the presence of germs and the need to pass this information on to your child to empower them in the fight against seasonal flus and illnesses. Encourage your child to shake out his/her food containers above the trash to help limit the storage of leftovers and crumbs inside the lunchbox.
Designate Lunch-Packing Time
Don’t multitask while packing kids’ lunches. Think about it: The last thing you should do is pick up a heaping pile of dirty laundry and handle detergent prior to spreading PB&J on your little one’s sandwich. Set time aside to concentrate on what you’re doing to guarantee proper food handling methods. Plan ahead and shop smart to successfully prepare well-balanced lunches on a daily basis. Having a variety of different nutritional options at hand guarantees your child won’t get “burnt out” by routine items and will receive the nutrients he/she needs to maintain a healthy immune system. Remember,
Instill Hand Washing Rituals into Daily Routines
Teach your child the importance of washing his/her hands prior to sitting down for lunch. By instilling a regular hygiene routine at home and on the weekends, you can be sure that your child follows this same regimen at school as well. After all, teachers aren’t herding the entire class in to the bathroom to wash their hands after recess or before lunchtime. If it’s easier for your child, pack a portable hand sanitizer that he/she can quickly pop open and utilize prior to handing lunch items. Bonus points if you can find a kid-friendly design or fun, colored antibacterial gel that your child will show off to friends; thus, passing along health and sanitation habits!
Sharing is Caring
If you know that your child likes to share and trade snack foods, make it easier and more sanitary for him/her to do so! For instance, cut your child’s sandwich into smaller square pieces or chop vegetables and fruits into wedges so food will be prepped in advance for sharing. This makes it easier for your child to share goodies without offering a bite of an apple or sandwich; thus, avoiding the exchange of saliva and germs. Similarly, if you know your child is often thirsty and races through juice boxes faster than you can buy them, be proactive and pack two juice boxes or an extra bottle of water. Equipping your child with an extra drink not only aides in hydration, but ensures they will not be asking other kids for a sip of their drink.