Keeping Lunch Cold

Updated on September 11, 2014
J.S. asks from Los Angeles, CA
16 answers

Do ice packs in insulated lunch bags really keep food cold until lunch time? I'd like to pack cheese and yogurt but I'm worried about it going bad...any tips? Thanks!

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answers from Wausau on

In an insulated lunchbox, the blue-ice packs will still be partially frozen when they get home after school. The clear ice and novelty packs are okay, but don't last as long as the blue type.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I love my Pack It. It's a freezable bag. The whole bag is gel filled. There are snack bags, lunch bags, and bigger bags.

You can find them at Bed, Bath & Beyond and maybe TJ Maxx/Marshall's.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

It's cold enough. Not refrigerator cold, but certainly safe and edible.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Those ice packs will be fine. I'm in the cafeteria with lunch duty a lot and I see a boatload of kids who being cheese, yogurt, boiled eggs, tuna and more in an insulated bag with an ice pack.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

What kind of yogurt? If it is a cup, you could freeze it--put it in at night--and that would keep the cheese cold too. A friend of mine freezes a small amount of milk in a bottle, then in the morning finishes filling it. The milk is still cold by lunchtime and the ice is melted.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

It will be fine. Cold. I use them all the time without a problem.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

Sometimes my kids have Gogurt for lunch. I keep them in the freezer, and they are perfect for lunch.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Freeze Capri suns and put those in. They keep the lunch cold and they can drink them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Absolutely keeps them cold. I use an insulated bag and an ice pack every day. Usually sits for 5 to 6 hours before I eat lunch.

You can also freeze or partially freeze a water bottle to use as an ice pack.

You can freeze the yogurt.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My kids pack their lunches the night ahed of time, normally. They put their lunch boxes (insulated) in the refrigerator with whatever cold food they are packing. The sandwich or hot items get added in the morning. They have never complained about too hot food.


answers from Boston on

I'm glad you posted this. There was a report on the news in the last day or so about this being a huge problem - we are way too lax about it (and I'm not an alarmist!) So I'd put twice as much ice in there as you think you need, and put the most perishable items next to the ice packs. The tighter you pack things, the colder they will stay. The smallest packs will defrost the fastest so consider a larger ice pack that is roughly the size of the bottom of the lunch box, put the perishables on top of it, and then place tiny packs in between. Anything that's not going to go bad (veggie strips, chips, etc.) can be on the very top or in a separate pocket. If they keep the perishables from sliding around, put them in the main section. I think the lunch boxes that have a sleeve for the ice pack that doesn't actually touch the perishable foods is to going to be ask cold as those that actually touch the containers.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Cheese isn't going to go bad in a few hours. Yogurt isn't either.

If you have to take your lunch then pack the carrier with those blue ice packs one on each side or one on top and one on bottom.

I washed my carriers out with bleach water then turned them upside down to drain and dry overnight.



answers from Los Angeles on

We have the foil, insulated lined kind of kid lunch bags.
A mom gave me a great tip: put the whole lunch bag in the freezer!
Than in addition to that I put in a hefty freezer ice block. The blue kind
they sell now for back to school. Can, also, find them in the camping
gear area of stores. Get the big one. I put it in a big freezer ziploc baggie
to ensure it doesn't ever break or whatever? Probably no need for this
except for my neurosis. ;)
Then I take it out in the morning to pack so it stays cold longest.
All lunch non-perishables are kept in a tupperware on counter for each
child including napkin, spoon etc. (Oh & a note so I don't forget their
juice box and/or cold items. Edit: so you would do that for the cheese &
yougurt. Also, keep those items on the top shelf of fridge so you see them when you open the fridge for milk for cereal.).



answers from Anchorage on

My boys have insulated bags and then I put a small freezer pack in (we have some that are shaped like animals for fun I got at wall mart). My son loves to bring things like yogurt and cottage cheese and we have never had an issue with stuff staying chilled.



answers from Las Vegas on

I use Planet Lunch Boxes for both kids. I asked them if their food stays cold and they both said yes. They're stainless steel and well insulated. I also use one small gel ice pack. I really love these lunch boxes because you don't need to use Ziploc bags. Everything has a compartment.


answers from Washington DC on

yup. we love those blue ones. and you can also freeze their drinks and yogurt, and they're cold and ready to go at lunch time.

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