It's getting to be that time of year. Back to school. Back to a schedule, back to school buses, homework, and packing lunches. While most of us are concerned about how healthy our children's lunches are, what about how safe they are. We're talking about food safety for the school year?

You may feel that you'll just have them buy their lunch, but that can get expensive. Packing your kids lunches can also help you control what they are eating, giving them a better shot at a well-balanced diet. But, depending on your child's lunch schedule they may not eat what you packed for three to four hours after arriving at school. That may be too long for some foods to remain safe to eat.

Here's a few tips as we head into the school year.

1. Use an insulated lunch bag along with something to help keep foods cool, such as an ice pack etc. These come in all different shapes and sizes, so it's pretty easy to find one that not only fits the lunch bag but in your child's favorite color as well. The idea is to keep the temperature of the foods such as meat, cheeses, eggs, yogurt, etc to around 40 degrees to be safe to eat.

2. You can pack hot soups, but you'll need to use a thermos type container. One thing that can help is to pour boiling water into it first and let stand for about 15 minutes, according to the USDA, this will help keep the soup hot until it's time for lunch.

3. Include some type of hand wipes so that your kids can clean their hands before and after they eat. This will help cut down on spreading germs at school and at your house.

4. The USDA also recommends that you remind your children to discard any leftover foods. Lets keep food poisoning at bay this school year.

Here's to a happy and healthy school year.

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