Categories: Parent Picks
Here's some tips to make packed meals have less garbage:
· Use a reusable bag or pail.
· Avoid taking plastic straws and disposable cutlery. Buy some cheap stainless steel utensils instead. You can find these at dollar stores or places like WalMart.
· Buy snacks in bulk and send in reusable containers, instead of sending individually wrapped treats.
· Take a cloth napkin, which can be washed and reused.
· Write your (or your child's) name in permanent marker or use labels on each container. That way it will be easier to find if it gets left behind.
· Pack all parts of your meal in reusable or recyclable containers - like a drink in a can or thermos.
Make it a habit, and before you know it, you won't even be thinking about how to make your lunch waste-less. You will just be doing it! Enjoy your meal knowing you are doing your part.
The hardest part about packing food for kids is not giving into the pre-packaged, sugar-filled, well-advertised snacks and meals. These just don’t provide your children with the nutrients and well-balanced diet they need to have a full day of energy and attention-keeping skills.
Now that the traditional favourite of peanut butter and jam has been banned from most public places due to the increase in severe peanut allergies, it can be hard to come up with creative but nutritious solutions for the lunch box. Time to pull out the thinking cap and work on your creativity skills.
The first step is to talk to your kids. Find out what THEY want for lunches. Their likes, dislikes, peer-pressured snack ideas are and if they have anything which they’ve always wanted to try. Including your child in the plans might mean they actually eat the lunch they are given.
If a sandwich is boring, why not try something different, like a variety of bread substitutes. Send cream cheese in bagels, ham and lettuce in tortilla wraps, and tuna with cheese on an English muffin. I will always remember eating sandwiches made out of marbled bread and coloured bread loafs when I was little. Or try using cheese bread. Use cookie cutters or cans to cut sandwiches into unique shapes and designs.
Store-bought lunches that consist of meat, cheese and crackers can be tempting to buy, but are easily reproduced at home. This gives you control over exactly what they are eating, offering them their specific favourites while still making their meals balanced.
Remember – a lunch doesn’t HAVE to be a sandwich and crackers. Change it up a little.
Send hummus with breadsticks for dipping. Kids love to dip things. Send salad dressings for fresh veggies, and fruit dip for apple chunks.
Cube up pieces of cheese, cucumbers, bread, apples, etc for more of a finger-food style lunch.
Freeze grapes before putting them in the lunch bag. They will still be cold when it’s lunch time. If frozen still, they are a different, tasty and nutritious snack!
Yes, buying pre-packaged treats make a quick “stuff-in-the-lunch-bag” snack, but sending homemade oatmeal raisin cookies or pudding made from home will prevent added preservatives, and unnecessary garbage.
Bonus in the Bag
Add a little something extra to your child’s lunch bag.
A little note for them to read while they are enjoying their food.
A printed game – like a wordsearch or crossword puzzle.
A picture for them to look at.
Try to make lunch fun. Get your kids involved. Encourage them to help save their world with less garbage by taking responsibility for what they take in their lunches! Lisa Marie Fletcher, creator of www.inlisaskitchen.com – a site designed to offer kitchen tips, resources, recipes and more, is a Tupperware Manager in Durham Region. She can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org