School is here and school lunches are definitely a thing. One thing I have decided to focus on this year is packing a greener lunchbox. Sure, I’m going to add school lunch meals to my Pinterest board, too. But this year I’m trying to pack less plastic. Both my two kids and I take our lunch the majority of the school year. If I can reduce our plastic use with a few easy swaps, I feel like I’m doing pretty good.
Here are five easy things I’m doing and purchasing in order to challenge myself to have a greener school lunchbox this year with less plastic and waste going into our landfills.
- Utensils—I try to use reusable cutlery when possible. But, honestly, it just isn’t always going to happen at my house. I found a reusable utensil set that I can use for myself at Target. It’s plastic-free. Yay! Amazon also sells wooden disposable utensils that have good reviews. I mainly use these for my kiddos since they tend to throw away so many of my “reusable” items.
- Sandwich bags—I’ve used way too many plastic bags in the past. Yes, I also use a good ole BPA-free sandwich box. But, alas, these don’t always come home/get washed/etc. So I have always just quickly grabbed a plastic sandwich bag/snack bag. But I found reusable silicone bags on Amazon that I can use! Love these! And for those days when I KNOW everything will be thrown away (field trips, picnics, etc.) I found Lunchskins brand paper sandwich bags at my local H-E-B for $5.14 for 50 bags. Yes!
- Water bottles—My kids know I am going to give them water 90% of the time, but I have often thrown in a juice box or plastic one-use water bottle. Juice and water can both go in reusable water bottles. I am not a water bottle snob, as my kids have lost so many that I’m not investing too much in this. As long as it’s leak-proof and BPA-free, it’s a Go.
- Individually packaged snacks—Yes, it is sooo easy to send kids to school with those little individual packages of applesauce, fruit cups, and everything else. But that plastic adds up!! Fresh fruit is better for you and more economical. I like to buy large containers of yogurt and put some into individual, reusable containers for my kids. I also have silicone yogurt freezer rolls that I use. I try to buy large bags of snacks and put them into smaller containers so that my kids can still have snack mix, crackers, etc., without creating more trash and plastic waste. I tend to run to Costco for these bulk items. If I do this more often than not, I’ll be so proud of my family.
- Cook/bake/create my own—I have been trying new recipes this summer. Okay, some of them are just on my Pinterest board. But instead of buying a box of granola bars or trail mix, I can make no-bake energy balls or bake a batch of muffins. Even my kids can create their own trail mix from cereal, dried fruit, and nuts. Okay, some chocolate chips and M&M’s will probably be thrown in the mix. But, honestly, it still would be healthier than other stuff I’ve thrown in those lunchboxes. I’m no Betty Crocker, but I figure I can bake two dozen muffins once a month. Am I right? I sure hope so!
Yes, the main thing is time for me. I know I might fail sometimes, but I also know that if I have a plan in place it will be harder to revert back to my old ways. Also, if I get my kids involved and tell them what my plan is, my kiddos will hold me to it! They will tell me when I am falling down on the job. It always works when I tell them I’m dieting! Love those kids! But I also want them to help make their own lunches. Even if we do this 50% more this year, I’ll be happy. We’ll still be adding a lot less plastic to our landfills. I challenge all school lunch makers to try to be a little more green in packing their family’s lunchboxes this year.
Have your own ideas or thoughts on creating a greener lunchbox for your kids or yourself? Let me know in the comments!