How to steer clear of chemicals when packing kids’ lunches

Here’s one more thing to worry about when it comes to kids’ food: According to the New York Times, one major pediatrics group is recommending families limit their use of plastic food containers.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is expressing concern over chemicals leached from packaging and plastics into food. The group based their suggestions on continued evidence that certain chemicals “may interfere with the body’s natural hormones in ways that may affect long-term growth and development.”

The guidelines recommends avoiding canned foods as well and suggests wrapping food in wax paper rather than plastic wrap.

The chemicals particularly concerning include “nitrates and nitrites, which are used as preservatives, primarily in meat products; phthalates, which are used to make plastic packaging; and bisphenols, used in the lining of metal cans for canned food products. Also of concern to the pediatricians are perfluoroalkyl chemicals, or PFCs, used in grease-proof paper and packaging, and perchlorates, an antistatic agent used in plastic packaging,” the article states.

And here are the AAP’s suggested steps for reducing kids’ exposure to chemicals:

  • Prioritize the consumption of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
  • Avoid processed meats, especially during pregnancy.
  • Avoid microwaving food or beverages—including infant formula and pumped breast milk—in plastic containers, and don’t put plastic food containers in the dishwasher.
  • Use alternatives to plastic, like glass or stainless steel, whenever possible.
  • Check the recycling code on the bottom of products and avoid plastics with recycling codes 3, 6, and 7, which may contain phthalates, styrene and bisphenols, unless they are labeled “biobased” or “greenware,” indicating they’re made from corn and do not contain bisphenols.
  • Wash hands before handling food and drinks, and wash all fruits and vegetables that aren’t peeled.

While we’re on the topic of kids and food, what are your favorite things to pack in lunches (though you might be afraid to freely share that information after reading all those recommendations above!). I get in such a sack-lunch rut with my kids taking yogurt and PB&J over and over again. So what are your favorite things to include? •

2 thoughts

  1. We do a lot of baby carrots, pickles, and apple slices for sides. The trick is just getting Jackson to EAT his lunch! He just wants to hurry to recess!

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