School Day Tips: Packing a “Green” Lunch

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Eco-friendly school lunches

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If you’ve been packing a school lunch for your children for any period of time, you know that there is a lot of waste involved in the process. Plastic bags, juice boxes and napkins get used, thrown away and then carted off to the landfill.

Even if your child’s school has a great recycling program, it is impossible to guarantee that your little one will take the time to sort through their trash and put it in the right place. Therefore, it is important to be as eco-friendly as possible when packing their food.

The following simple tips do not cost a lot of money to implement but can make a big difference for your budget and the earth.


Purchase Reusable Bags

One of the best ways to cut down on lunch waste is by eliminating the use of plastic bags. As an alternative, investigate your options when it comes to reusable sandwich bags. A simple online search should yield a number of possibilities, most of which are BPA and phthalate free. In addition, these bags can generally be thrown into the dishwasher, making clean-up a breeze.

Reusable lunch bags have a number of benefits over their disposable counterparts. For one, they are better for the environment, as they can be reused multiple times before eventually being recycled. They are also more durable, meaning that they are less likely to rip or tear, and can better protect your food from being squished.


Stay Away from Prepackaged Snacks

stick to healthier food options fo your kids

Let’s face it, pre-packaged snacks are an easy and convenient option for your child’s lunch box.

As any parent knows, packing a healthy and tasty school lunch can be a challenge. With so many demands on our time, it’s tempting to reach for the pre-packaged options at the grocery store. However, there are good reasons to avoid these packaged lunches.

For one, they are expensive, and they generate a lot of waste.

Studies have also shown that they often contain unhealthy levels of sugar, sodium, and fat. In addition, many pre-packaged lunches are lacking in essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. And because these lunches are typically high in calories, they can contribute to childhood obesity.

Avoid them whenever possible and instead pack your child’s fruit, vegetables and chips in containers that can be used over and over again. Look for products that don’t have PVC, lead, or BPA, however.


Invest in a Stainless Steel Bottle

Like prepackaged snacks, juice boxes are convenient and costly. Instead of buying them, purchase a large jug of water or juice for your refrigerator, and fill up a stainless steel bottle for your child to take to school each day.

Find a product that you can wash in the dishwasher, however, or commit yourself to cleaning the bottle as soon as possible each day. Particularly if you store juice in it, the bottle will be very attractive to ants and other pests if it isn’t cleaned out properly.


Watch the What you Pack

healthy school lunch

As a parent, consider healthier and more eco-friendly food options for your kids’ school lunch. Some healthier food options include fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. These foods provide the nutrients that kids need to grow and thrive.

Eco-friendly food options include those that are locally grown, organic, or sustainable. Local food is often fresher and has fewer emissions from transportation while organic food is grown without the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides. 

Sustainable food is produced in a way that does not damage the environment or deplete natural resources.

These options are better for the environment because they have a smaller carbon footprint. They also tend to be more nutritious than processed foods. Ultimately, parents should choose the best food option for their child based on their individual needs and preferences.


Talk with your Child

Before implementing the changes mentioned above, sit down with your little one and show them what their lunch will look like from now on. Point out which items need to be repacked when they are finished eating so they don’t inadvertently throw something out.

When it comes to packing a “green” lunch, little changes can make a big difference. While you don’t have to do everything listed above all at once, choose one tip that you are comfortable with and try it out. From there, continue making small tweaks to the process until you are as eco-friendly as possible!

Key Takeaways

Packing eco-friendly and nutritious school lunches for kids is a great way to promote healthy eating habits and teach them about sustainability. Here are five simple tips to help you achieve that:

  1. Use Reusable Containers and Utensils:
    Opt for reusable lunch containers, snack bags, and utensils instead of single-use plastic items. Invest in durable lunch boxes and stainless steel or BPA-free plastic containers to minimize waste. This reduces the amount of plastic waste generated from disposable packaging.
  2. Include a Variety of Nutritious Foods:
    Create a balanced lunch that includes a variety of food groups: whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Consider items like whole grain sandwiches, wraps, or pasta salads, along with fresh fruits and cut-up vegetables. Including a mix of food groups ensures your child gets the nutrients they need for energy and growth.
  3. Choose Locally Sourced and Organic Foods:
    Whenever possible, choose locally sourced and organic ingredients. These choices support local farmers and reduce the carbon footprint associated with transporting food long distances. Organic foods also tend to have fewer pesticides and additives.
  4. Limit Processed Foods and Sugary Snacks:
    Minimize the inclusion of highly processed snacks, sugary treats, and sugary drinks in your child’s lunch. Instead, focus on whole foods and snacks like yogurt, homemade granola bars, trail mix, or sliced fruits. This helps to provide sustained energy and prevents sugar crashes.
  5. Involve Your Child in Meal Planning:
    Engage your child in the process of planning their lunches. When kids have a say in what they eat, they’re more likely to enjoy their meals and finish them. Ask for their input on what fruits, vegetables, and snacks they like. This can also be a valuable opportunity to teach them about nutrition and making balanced choices.

Bonus Tip:

  1. Reduce Food Waste:
    Pack portions that are appropriate for your child’s appetite to avoid excess food waste. If possible, pack leftovers from dinner as part of their lunch the next day. Encourage your child to bring back any uneaten food so you can gauge their preferences and adjust accordingly.

Remember that making gradual changes towards a more eco-friendly and nutritious lunch routine can have a positive impact on both your child’s health and the environment.

  • Greener Ideal Staff

    Greener Ideal helps you live your life in more sustainable ways with green living tips and commentary on the latest environment news. We want to protect the planet and reduce our collective carbon footprint.

2 thoughts on “School Day Tips: Packing a “Green” Lunch”

  1. I remember taking a paper bag and wax paper packed sandwich lunch in either a ‘Lost In Space’ steel lunch box or a pocket of a bookbag to school and buying a milk carton and a banana, apple, or orange from vending machines in the lunch room for a dime or nickel. What ever happened to those good times?

  2. Great tips! Not so long ago, a new school year began, and for many schoolchildren, these tips will come in handy. Usually on the forums they give advice on the use of services with which you can pay for assignment This is also very important, because it helps to stay motivated if students have difficult curriculums. But you gave tips that will help make the school more convenient and interesting for students.


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