Food Safety Tips For Kids Snacking At Home Alone
As school commences again, parents should review basic food safety with their children. According to Michigan State University Extension, it’s crucial for kids to learn how to safely clean, separate and cook food products thoroughly.
Hand washing is essential – failing to do it effectively is one of the leading causes of food poisoning. Also be sure to separate raw meats from other food and surfaces and cook all meat and poultry to 165 degrees before eating it.
Keep it clean
As your children prepare afterschool snacks, it is crucial that they maintain food safety practices. This means washing hands thoroughly before touching anything that may contaminate food such as books or backpacks left lying around on kitchen counters/tables as well as cooking until foods reach a temperature which helps kill germs and prevent illness.
Stocking the pantry with nutritious food items is an effective way to increase access to and consumption of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins for children – it also serves as a chance to teach children about their benefits!
Remember that leaving perishable items such as yogurt, milk, lunchmeat and hard-cooked eggs out on your counter could lead to them spoiling and making you sick. Also keep in mind that microwavable food (e.g. cup of water or frozen pizza) could explode inside of the microwave and possibly harm itself or even you!
Additional tips for kids snacking at home alone
Foods requiring refrigeration must never be left sitting out in the “Danger Zone” of 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours. This includes pizza (even without meat topping); lunchbox leftovers like sandwiches that require refrigeration but weren’t consumed at school; unbaked cookie dough which contains raw eggs with Salmonella bacteria; bread, cheese or soft fruits or vegetables which look bad or have spots of mold growth on them.
Refrigerate a supply of healthy snacks so your child has access to them when snacking, helping prevent unhealthy choices being made out of desperation and contributing to overeating and obesity. Also make sure they have access to an extensive pantry filled with healthy snack items for anytime snacking needs.
Healthy Snacks for Kids to Make at Home Alone
Healthy snacks are a great way for children to manage hunger between meals, while also supporting overall nutrition. Snacks offer them the opportunity to try foods they may be more reluctant to eat at mealtimes such as fruit or vegetables, whole grains or low-fat dairy.
Consider keeping items like these cheese patties or frozen banana pops handy in your freezer for snacking! Or set aside a drawer or shelf in your refrigerator to store prepared veggies such as washed baby carrots and tomatoes as well as cucumber, bell peppers, cauliflower. Additionally, small containers of hummus, ranch dip, cottage cheese or even fruit & cheese kabobs make a fun, quick snack that’s easy to consume and delectable too!
Avoid these foods
Oft times, children gravitate toward “snack foods” like goldfish crackers, chips, cookies and pretzels as an easy source of nourishment between meals or at snack time alongside fruits and vegetables. While such snacks should be provided within an appropriate context, such as at meals or snack time.
Children should regularly wash their hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling food – particularly after greeting the family pet or touching its toys. Furthermore, raw vegetables and fruit should be washed thoroughly; cutting boards must also be clean. Finally, children must use clean utensils and plates when preparing snacks.
Kids should learn to microwave frozen lunchbox leftovers, fully cooked ham and other meats, eggs, and fully baked cookies until they become steaming hot, which indicates that bacteria are being destroyed at an effective level. They should also read labels carefully and use a food thermometer for accurate temperature readings.
Microwave food carefully
At home after school, kids who are starving are likely to go right into the kitchen to prepare food. Unfortunately, their unsanitary hands or unsafe containers could pose a danger for themselves and for others.
Kids should take caution when heating food in the microwave. Food stored in containers not meant to withstand this treatment may warp or melt and release harmful chemicals into their meals, including margarine tubs, whipped topping bowls and Styrofoam products.
Food preparation should include “standing times”, which some food requires after being heated to reach an ideal internal temperature. Children should avoid using plastic wrap, paper bags and foil in their microwave as these materials can allow harmful bacteria to grow more rapidly than intended.