I’ve already spoken about going paperless in the kitchen so today I want to talk about making our children’s lunches waste-free. Stephen started kindy this year and while it is only 2 half days a week, we still have to provide a packed lunch. Thinking back to my own childhood, and looking at my niece’s and nephews’ lunches, a packed lunch can be an environmental disaster, what with cling wrapped sandwiches, juice boxes and excess packaging. The answer is to use reusable packaging. The Japanese and the Indians have been serving packed lunches like this for hundreds of years with their bento boxes (Japanese) and Tiffins (Indian), and now there are wonderful and easy ways to incorporate these ideas into your own children’s lunches.
These are western-style bento boxes created by two mums who wanted a way to pack nutritious and eco-friendly lunches for their children. The lunch box includes a number of inner containers (lidded and non-lidded) that can be arranged in numerous combinations depending on what you want to include. The pic above is yesterday’s lunch for Stephen. In there I put some homemade rice salad, homemade mango pudding, apple slices and blueberries. Everything is dishwasher safe, so cleaning is a breeze. Some people have said they have problems losing the little lids, but after three weeks at kindy, we haven’t had that problem yet. $40 (also includes drink bottle and insulated carry case)
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These sets are great for older children and are especially perfect for the winter months since the set contains a watertight container for soup, a sealed container for rice or pasta and two other containers for salad or snacks. The outer case in insulated and will keep the two containers of hot things warm, and the other two containers cool. I have one of these and used it all the time when I used to take lunch to work, and this will definitely be making a comeback when Stephen is older. Also check out this wonderful flickr group for some amazing ideas. $45 from Amazon.
Apart from these wonderful sets, there are lots of other ways to make your children’s lunches waste free. A quick google search will reveal dozens of free tutorials for reusable lunch totes, sandwich wraps and snack bags. If you don’t have the time (or inclination!) to make your own, etsy also has a huge selection of handmade ones. Also look at what containers you can repurpose into lunch packaging – Tupperware and Rubbermaid containers make wonderful reusable lunch packaging.