School lunches are one aspect we can effortlessly address to become more conscious of plastics in our homes.
There are times when life interferes, and you are compelled to take the easy way out. Say, sending off your little ones with pepperoni pizza or a bag of Cheetos. But it also feels amazing when you get an opportunity to lessen the negative effects of the times we backslide by packing healthy, eco-friendly foods.
Interestingly, zero-waste lunches are rather simple if you have the right resources.
Here are some effective zero-waste lunch ideas that are great for the kids and the planet!
- Use seasonal fruits and veggies
Produce grown organically are free from harmful chemicals and toxins, making it more nutritive and tastier than commercial foods. The Dirty Dozen list is a great reference to know exactly where to start with packing healthier lunches. A crucial aspect that goes hand in hand with packing nutritious meals is a quantity check. Preparing the ideal portion and the way your child likes it will make sure they consume it all, resulting in not just gaining dietary benefits but also preventing food waste.
- Avoid processed foods
Committing to delicious homemade school lunch every day can be challenging, especially for working parents. This makes processed or pre-packaged meals an easier option. But as role models who actively work to keep the family and children healthy, making a conscious effort to avoid junk food habits comes as a non-negotiable priority. Junk food do not compare to the nutritious fruits and vegetables that come from seasonal foods. They contain an excess of unnecessary ingredients which can put childrens' health at risk. Every child has the right to healthy food that promotes their growth, development, and wellbeing, and that should matter the most.
- Go for homemade treats
Baking treats for your children is significantly less expensive than purchasing them from supermarket shelves. A helpful tip is to consider baking in large quantities and freezing them to save time and effort, and of course, prevent waste.
- Use reusable cutleries
Single-use plastic cutlery is unsafe and contributes to pollution. The healthier, safer option would be reusable utensils made of bamboo or stainless steel forks and spoons. These sustainable cutleries are durable, easy to clean, and safer for the environment and health. It can also help save money because you can get by with existing household cutleries over buying disposable items.
- Use eco-friendly bags to carry lunch
Sustainable bags simplify the eco-friendly school lunch transition. They are terrific replacements for plastic bags and also the ideal size for packing school lunches. Terra Thread's spacious tote bags and backpacks can accommodate lunch boxes, cutleries, water bottles, and other belongings. It is the ultimate upgrade from brown paper bags for packing school lunches to school.
- Reusable cloth napkins
A set of classic cloth napkins catches the eyes, thanks to the exquisite touches of embroideries and minimalist elegance. Instead of purchasing dozens of single-use napkins, which only go to the trash and pile up in landfills, using reusable fabric napkins or tea towels for school lunches would be the best zero-waste option. What may stand out, even more, are the eco-friendly ones made of sustainable materials like organic cotton. Free of chemicals and harsh dyes, they have superior quality and versatility. Organic cotton napkins and towels also make wonderful party favors. You won't only be encouraging sustainability, but others can also take them to school as a disposable napkin alternative, spreading wider the chain of zero waste lunch efforts.
- Get the kids involved
Getting children on board with eco-friendly lunch preparation is necessary. Let them know about the plan and invite them to take part. To make it fun, let kids choose their utensils, water bottles, and colorful reusable bags and napkins. Take them to farmer's markets to shop for organic fruits they can take to school. Keep track of the wholesome foods you prepare for them and keep in mind what is and isn't working. This will help in leaning towards what they truly like and prevent leftovers. By involving the kids in your initiative, it can enhance the likelihood that your children bring home their reusable lunch items and even encourage their friends to pack greener lunches by sharing about their actions.
Studies show that Americans throw away 130 billion meals or nearly 108 billion pounds of food in a single year. Meanwhile, food waste from schools accounts for about 530,000 tonnes annually, resulting in the release of 1.9 million metric tonnes of MTCO2e, a loss of 1.7 billion dollars, and 20.9 billion gallons of water. It is obvious small changes like switching the recipes of kids' lunch to more environmentally friendly options can significantly reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. Hopefully, this blog inspires and helps you in the transition to eco-friendly school lunch practices.