As summer draws to a close, the days become shorter and we return to our hectic school-year schedules. Parents throughout South Florida have begun the annual juggling act of homework, soccer practice, piano lessons and getting meals on the table.
Fortunately, The Pickled Beet provides 100 percent customized meals to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Our clients come home to a fridge stocked with fully prepared meals ready for them to heat and eat.
While you and your kids are running around town, here’s The Pickled Beet’s top food safety tips:
Stay Out Of The Danger Zone
1. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Harmful bacteria love the “Danger Zone” of temperatures between 40° and 140° F. So, perishable food transported without an ice source won’t stay safe long. And here’s a trick for helping hot foods stay hot longer: Fill the insulated container with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, empty it, and then put in the chili, soup, or whatever.
2. Transport your meals in an insulated bag.
3. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling food and instruct your kids to do so right before eating. Make sure the water’s warm, use enough soap to make it lather, and make sure you scrub for at least 20 seconds.
4. Sending along food for your littlest ones? Remember that the immune system isn’t fully developed in children under five, so be extra vigilant regarding hand washing and cross-contamination during food prep.
5. “Mommy, this yogurt is spicy!”—Trust your nose and eyes, and teach your kids to do the same. If something smells funny or isn’t the right color, take a pass.
Keeping Guard Against Gluten
Unfortunately, if your child has a gluten allergy or celiac disease, you’re only halfway to food safety after following the tips above.
In addition to avoiding gluten in the lunches and snacks you provide, keep in mind these tips:
● Meet with your child’s teachers and explain the limits of his/her allergy.
● Make a plan with the teachers and your child for steps to be taken in the event of exposure to gluten.
● Ask your child’s teacher if you could store a few gluten-free brownies or cupcakes in a school freezer for those unexpected times another parent sends in treats so your child isn’t left out.
● Watch out for classroom projects involving flour or Play-Doh. If the school can provide a heads up, you might consider providing a gluten-free substitute for the entire class.
Back To School Offer
You can make your life (and your family’s) a whole lot easier by having TPB prepare your meals. We know it’s hard to switch from lazy days at the beach to the jam-packed school year schedule, so we want to help you out. If you start a new service by 9/15, your first meal is on us! Just go to ThePickledBeet.com or call 305-388-3536 to get started.
Chef Liz is the Executive Chef and Owner of The Pickled Beet, a personal chef service that custom designs menus and prepares fresh, wholesome, and balanced meals catered to its clients’ specific needs. She has extensive experience designing menu plans for several health issues, including diabetes, heart-related, cancer, autoimmune disorders, and extreme food allergies. Check out some of our chef-crafted meals on Instagram @thepickledbeetchef or on Facebook.