5 Steps to Packing a Safe Camp Lunch

Follow these five easy steps to make sure your kid's camp lunch is safe to eat, no matter how hot it is outside.

The threat of food-borne illnesses heats up along with temperatures in the summer months. You may know how to keep your food safe at barbecues and on road trips, but what about packing your kid's camp lunch? It takes a little extra preparation to pack a lunch that can withstand a few hours of high temps and direct sunlight. So we turned to Marianne Gravely, spokesperson for the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service in Washington, D.C., for the lowdown on keeping camp lunches fresh. 

Camp Lunchbox Graphic Illustration by T.M. Detwiler

Insider's Guide to Summer Camp

The Night Before

1. Put your child's insulated lunch bag in the fridge, so it starts out cold.

2. Prepare any foods that need to be kept cold (i.e. your child's sandwich) and place them in the fridge as well.

3. Freeze your child’s drink.

That Morning

4. Place the frozen drink at the bottom of the lunch bag, and then place the prepared lunch items directly on top of it.

5. Add a second cold source, like an ice pack, on top of the perishable foods. Add room-temperature foods, like snacks, to the top.

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