Food safety: how to pack a hot lunch

An insulated food container (like a Thermos) keeps food and drinks hot or cold. Choosing one with a wide mouth is easier to fill, eat from and clean.

Using an insulated container is a great way to send leftovers or other hot foods for school lunch. Follow these steps to keep food warm until recess or lunch.

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Check out our warming lunch ideas for some suggestion on what to pack!

This is general advice, check the instructions for your insulated container to be sure you are using it correctly.

1. Wash your hands with warm soapy water.

a person washing their hands with soap in a sink with running water
2. Start with a clean container.

an image of a clean insulated food container on a bench
3. Pour boiling water in the container.

4. Put the lid on and wait for 10 minutes.

an image of a clean insulated food container filled with boiling water and the lid being placed on
5. Heat the food until steaming hot in a microwave (in a microwave-safe container) or on the stove top.

food being placed in the microwave for heating
6. Tip the water out of the container.

an image of a clean insulated food container having the boiling water tipped out in a sink
7. Put the hot food into the container and put the lid on straight away.
an image of hot food being put into the clean insulated food container
8. After school throw away any leftovers.

an image of food leftovers from the insulated food container being tipped into the bin
9. Wash the container in hot soapy water and air dry.

an image of the insulated food container being washed in a sink of hot soapy water