Send Kids Back to School with a Green Lunch

Send Kids Back to School with a Green Lunch

Posted by Valerie McTavish on Sep 17, 2012 | Green Living

No, we’re not talking about sending kids back to school with last year’s mouldy leftovers still inside. This school year, make lunches more than a nutritious boost for kids – make them a boost for the environment too. 

Forget the plastic lunchboxes filled with cellophane parcels and juice boxes. Kids can now tote environmentally friendly lunches that give them their midday nutrition without any waste. 

30% of the Canadian waste stream is packaging. The first step in a green and waste-free lunch is to expel all of those cute little individually packaged food items. But, you don’t want to send your kids off to school with giant bags of carrots or tubs of yogurt. Prepare yourself with a selection of individual size containers that are the right size for each item. 

One of the best options for shipping food to school and having it arrive in an edible state is with a compartmentalized lunch kit. There are a plethora of these on the market but to increase the green value of that lunch kit, go with one made of stainless steel. 

Stainless steel options include bento boxes (one large box with compartments) or a series of boxes that stack together and resemble a traditional Indian Tiffin tin. Both are available with a strong seal to ensure that all of the various items stay where they should (despite vigorously swung and dropped bags). And the gold star for these containers is that they are BPA, lead and phthalate free. 

The stainless steel lunch containers tend to keep foods somewhat chilled if they are put in cold. However, if you’re packing food that easily spoils, or adding a hot addition to lunch, look for a stainless steel thermos in just the right size for your child’s appetite. Small stainless steel bottles are also a great way to pack a drink. Filling your own beverage container allows you to control the sugar a bit more than drink boxes because you can water down pure organic juice or add a little bit of almond, rice, coconut or soy milk for some extra-curricular nutrition. 

If lunch means a sandwich to you, check out the Food Kozy from Kids Konserve – it’s a reusable sandwich wrap that doubles as a place mat and can be washed each night and reused. And, they’re also BPA, lead and phthalate free. How smart is that? 

Creating your own lunch instead of relying on pre-packaged foods can make the meal itself greener. Swap out cracker and peanut butter packs for a few organic, whole grain crackers with organic almond butter. Or, change that mini-bag of chips for a handful of homemade kale chips from your local farmers’ market. 

By choosing local and organic lunch items all packed in a waste-free way, you’ll be earning bonus marks with the environment and your family’s health.