No dried up sandwiches for Yasmin
LUNCH is always a surprise to Yasmin Hurkchand.
The five-year-old's lunch box is sure to be the envy of the playground when she starts prep next week, thanks to the creativity of mum Ghabeba.
The Birtinya mother-of-two takes great care in creating memorable and tasty lunches everyday for her daughter.
She cuts up bread, vegies and fruit into the shapes of some of Yasmin's favourite characters and creatures.
Mrs Hurkchand hopes to inspire other parents ahead of the first week of school next week.
"Yasmin loves them, she's crazy about it," she said.
"If I tried to give her a lunch box without a character she wouldn't be as excited about it.
"It doesn't take too much of an effort.
"It's very fast and it's a creative outlet for me."
All Mrs Hurkchand's lunch creations use healthy foods and nothing pre-packaged."
She said inspiration came from Yasmin and her love for certain characters in books and television.
"She's starting to read so I do themes in her lunch box around letters," she said.
"I think it's helping her to learn. It's very interesting to see things she loves."
Food Safety Information Council chairman Dr Michael Eyles said packed lunches were great for healthy eating, if carefully packed.
"Lunchboxes kept inside the school bag will keep cooler longer, especially if the bag is away from heat sources such as direct sunlight," he said.
To follow Mrs Hurkchand's daily creations, search for 'what's for lunch?' on Facebook.
- When preparing food, always practice scrupulous hand washing and ensure cutting boards, benches and utensils are clean and dry.
- Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
- When buying lunchboxes choose ones which are easy to clean and dry. Insulated lunchboxes are a great idea, but not if they are difficult to keep clean.
- Lunchboxes and reusable drink bottles must be thoroughly washed and dried daily. If cracked, split or crazed, replace as bugs love hidey holes.
- Make sure lunch foods are cooked properly in the first place.
- Divide cooked leftovers into small lunch-sized portions so they refrigerate or freeze quickly.
- When reheating, make sure they are steaming hot all the way through - stir or turn food as appropriate.
- Make sure lunchbox foods are always well separated from other foods in the refrigerator, particularly raw meats, chicken and fish, the juices of which will contaminate foods such as fruit and salad vegetables which won't be cooked before adding to the lunchbox.
- Use refrigerated leftovers saved for lunches within 3 days − if in doubt throw it out!
- With a staff kitchen at work, set up a roster to ensure bench tops are clean and dish cloths, sponges, brushes and tea towels are clean and replaced regularly. Wash dirty dishes in hot soapy water or put in the dishwasher.