It’s been a long haul, but after 8 plus years our kids are finally on semi auto-pilot in the morning. There are still a few pieces of our morning routine where guidance is needed, but our three boys make a good effort to independently get their “jobs” done.
One of those morning jobs is packing their own lunch for school. This is by far the most time consuming task in the morning. I’ve tried coaxing them into packing it at night, but it just doesn’t work. So morning it is.
It’s not pretty in our kitchen when the lunch packing begins. It truly looks like a tornado came through and tossed food all over the counters and floor. But it’s worth it. Through making their own lunch they are beginning to understand what a green and healthy lunch looks like.
Children’s lunches create more than 3.5 billion pounds of garbage each year, which amounts to a crazy 18,760 pounds of trash annually from an average sized elementary school. That’s a lot of waste.
Every since my kids have been in school we have focused on making their lunches as waste free as possible.We have a few reusable lunch bags -each child has their own assigned color. When buying their lunch bags I wanted to be sure that their food wouldn’t come in contact with any unsafe materials or chemicals. Their reusable lunch bagsare:
If you pull apart a typical lunch box you will find a sandwich in a plastic baggie, all sorts of individually wrapped snacks, possibly some fruit and a drink container. Once lunch is over the wrappers from each of these items makes its way into the garbage can.
Making a lunch box zero-waste through the use of reusable products will minimize the amount of garbage kids create through their school lunch.
Here are some of my favorite eco-friendly reusable lunch box products. I also make sure to pack a reusable napkin, which occasionally gets tossed and doesn’t make it home.
What’s in our green and healthy lunch bag?
I wish I could say our lunches are creative and exciting, but they’re really not. My kids tend to be creatures of habit and really don’t like to mix it up much. There are a few staples that end up in their lunches on a daily basis.
- Fresh, organic fruit. My oldest likes watermelon and my youngest likes oranges, bananas and clementines.
- Cut up, unpeeled carrots.
- Healthy snacks.
- A roasted turkey sandwich on an organic, whole wheat wrap.
- The occasional treat (sometimes not so green and healthy).
- Water in a stainless steel, reusable water bottle. Klean Kanteen
is my reusable bottle of choice.
Green lunch bag tips
- Make healthy choices when it comes to snacks and treats.
- Don’t buy individually packaged snacks i.e. fruit cups, single serving cookies, chips and crackers. There is a lot of wasted packaging and the cost per item is much more expensive than buying in bulk.
- We try to buy organic when we can. Remember Organic doesn’t always mean healthy. There are organic foods out there that that are processed, contain lots of sugar and are unhealthy. Reading food labels is a must. Also, be wary of long lists of ingredients that you don’t recognize.
- Be prepared to lose a few items. I try to label everything with a sharpie. Until your children are used to their new green lunch box, there will be a few reusables that don’t make it home.
What goes in your green and healthy lunch bag?
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[Photo used under Creative Commons from avilasal/Flickr]