Back to school or back to the office, many of us pack lunches for our busy days. If you are taking the step to packing yourself a healthful lunch, take it a step further with these 6 strategies to pack it in a more eco-friendly way.
This post has been sponsored by Produce for Kids. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this website running!
Produce for Kids’ Power Your Lunchbox initiative is helping families with ideas, tips, recipes, and more to help you eat more nutritious and delicious lunches – at school or the office. Since launching in 2014, Power Your Lunchbox has provided more than 1.3 million meals to families in need through Feeding America thanks to their amazing partners.
Whether you are looking for make-ahead ideas, hot lunches, non-sandwich ideas, Produce for Kids has many recipe ideas to look through.
Rethink the way you pack your lunch to help reduce environmental impact every day, all school year long. Here are some ways to pack a more eco-friendly lunch.
Start with taking inventory
Each day your child might come home with an empty lunchbox, but do you know how much of your kid’s lunches actually ends up in the trash? Surprisingly a lot. Most statistics reported about school lunches are from the food served by the cafeteria, but even those who pack lunch, that food may end up in the trash.
Have a conversation with your children to bring home anything they don’t eat during lunch. Instead of tossing it, encourage them to bring home the half-eaten muffin or the pear with only a few bites taken out of it. This way you can understand how much your child is really eating, to help pack accordingly, to pack as leftovers the next day or an after school snack and strategize with the tips below to prevent food waste, which in turn can help you save money.
Skip individually wrapped foods
This not only can cut down on food waste but can help add a little more variety to your child’s lunchbox. Scoop out a portion of yogurt vs. packing the whole container. Children like variety so having a little bit of a few items vs. just a couple of larger packed items can also provide a more balanced lunch. Packing lunch for 2 kids? Split an orange and granola bar between two lunch boxes instead of packing a whole one of each for both.
Utilize reusable sandwich bags and containers.
From bento boxes to stasher bags, and all the different kinds of plastic or glass containers in between there are plenty of ways to replace the single-use plastic baggies. For sandwiches, utilize stasher bags or Bees Wrap, reusable wrapper made from beeswax to allow you to get rid of the ziplock and saran wrap for good.
Pack a water bottle and beverages
Packing a reusable water bottle is a simple solution to reducing plastic waste. Reuseable water bottles come in all different sizes to fit into any lunchbox. Have separate bottles for juice, milk, or other beverages to pack.
Did their water bottle go to school with them but never made it home? Add a label with your child’s name and classroom teacher’s name so it will find its way home the next day.
Make things “fast food”
School lunchtime may be 30 minutes in some schools, but a lot of that time is socializing and waiting at the door to get to recess. Change the term fast food into a new meaning by helping save time in the cafeteria. Peel the clementine or cut the sandwich into bite-size pieces. Be creative and use fun shaped cookie cutters to make different bite-size shapes. This can help with packing them the right portion size for them and see how much of each item tends to come home the most often.
Many schools have started a compost program at their schools to help teach students about avoiding food waste while giving back to the soil, plus providing a medium for many environmental and science-related topics for
discovery along with opportunities for student development.
Do you compost at home? Bring the peach pits or orange peels home to compost later.
Need some more lunchbox inspiration? Follow #PowerYourLunch for creative ideas.
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