The average elementary age child creates 67 lbs. of waste each year – just from his lunchbox! It may seem like a lot, but it’s actually no surprise when you look at the amount of plastic and cardboard found in packaged meals and snacks.
By packing a more green and healthy lunch, you may find your kids doing much better at school.
Most prepackaged foods are full of sugar and artificial ingredients that can produce a sugar buzz; causing your child to get tired and drowsy towards the end of the day.
You can also save more than $250 a year when you stop buying disposable items for your child’s lunch. That extra money you save can go towards buying more organic fruits and vegetables that you may not be able to afford otherwise.
If you’re looking for ways to send your kids back to school a little greener — and a lot healthier — this year, start with their lunches…
- Reusable lunch box or bag – The days of brown bags are over. Invest in a good quality lunch box or bag that your child can use over and over again.
- Non-toxic, PVC and BPA free items – Read the labels of all products you buy for your children and make sure they are non-toxic. Lots of plastic items (like lunch boxes) contain polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and Bisphenol A (BPA). If it’s made of vinyl, it’s probably toxic.
- Cloth napkins – Don’t forget to pack a cloth napkin. You can buy some already made or make some from old t-shirts or scrap fabrics.
- Reusable forks and spoons – Skip the disposable plastic silverware and go with a non-toxic, stainless steel or bamboo set.
- Refillable drink bottles – Don’t pack juice boxes or pouches that may be filled with artificial ingredients. Not only are they not the healthiest option they create a ton of waste. Find a non-toxic steel water bottle and fill with your child’s favorite drink instead.
- Reusable food containers – Ditch the baggies! Instead use reusable containers made from steel or fabric. My favorites are the sandwich bags from Planet Wise.
- Buy in bulk – Instead of buying individually wrapped servings of fruit, vegetables, or snacks buy in bulk and wrap them in small portions. Buying in bulk with save you money and reduce the need for artificial preservatives.
- Fresh food – Skip the prepackaged snacks like crackers and cookies. Fill your child’s lunch with food that will keep them energized all day. Fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and nuts will get them the energy they need to succeed.
Let your kids come with you to the grocery store and pick out their own foods by letting them only shop the ‘healthy’ sections like the deli, produce, and dairy sections. You may be surprised to see what your kids pick out.
Some of our favorite healthy lunch foods include:
- almond butter
- carrot sticks
- homemade granola
- cherry tomatoes
- fresh salsa
- brown rice
- fruit leather
Find information about Waste-Free lunches:
Waste-Free Lunches: http://www.wastefreelunches.org/
Environmental Working Group: http://www.ewg.org/healthyhometips/packedlunchtips
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