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What's the best way to pack a school lunch when it won't be refrigerated? 

Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro

An ice pack in a school lunch alone is not enough to keep foods at a safe temperature, according to a recent study by University of Texas researchers. Your best bet is to pack shelf-stable foods like fruits and vegetables, peanut butter sandwiches, individually packaged puddings/applesauce/canned fruit, individually canned tuna and chicken (or other canned meats), and milk in aseptic boxes.

But for the sake of nutrition and diversity, you'll probably also want to pack perishable items. When you do, use a soft insulated tote with at least one frozen gel pack.

For more lunchbox tips, see Editors' Favorite Lunchbox Ideas and Pack a Lunch with a Healthy Punch.