Foods at risk of being contaminated due to heat include meat and smallgoods, milk and dairy products, egg and fish.
Foods at risk of being contaminated due to heat include meat and smallgoods, milk and dairy products, egg and fish. Thinkstock

How a warm lunch box could affect your children's health

GLADSTONE parents are asked to keep their children's lunch boxes cool this year to avoid potential food poisoning.

Foods at risk of being contaminated due to heat include meat and smallgoods, milk and dairy products, egg and fish.

Heart Foundation Queensland nutrition manager Maria Packard said keeping food cool would also make it more appetising.

"If the food gets too warm there is a risk of it being contaminated by the time it is eaten, so it's really important to do what we can to keep it cool," Ms Packard said.

"Besides, we all know that children can be pretty fussy eaters and they will be much more tempted to eat something cool on a hot day than a warm, smelly sandwich.

"Children really need to keep their nutrition up at school, so giving them a lunch box that is healthy and appetising will boost their energy levels."

The Heart Foundation suggests parents invest in an insulated or freezable lunch box, use ice bricks around food, use containers to separate food inside, freezing water bottles overnight so they can double as an ice brick, and putting lunchbox food in the fridge the night before to keep it cool before being packed.

Ms Packard said these actions would keep food fresh and safe to eat.

"A healthy lunch will fuel them up to play and learn for the rest of the day," she said.

This week in the Gladstone region, maximum temperatures will be around 31-32C.