This fall, one of my goals was to increase the ways I've gone green, starting with the kids' lunchboxes. They're on board, excited by our new items and are helping me brainstorm lunch ideas to avoid the sandwich doldrums. Here's what I've done:
1) Reusable Lunch Bag: I changed our lunchboxes over to the Lunch Box Coolers from EasyLunchboxes, which are PVC-free, Lead-Free and have an FDA-approved FEDA lining. I love the size of these insulated bag, as I can fit their food, drink, ice pack, and snacks inside. Or, when we're traveling as a family (as we've done this summer), I can get 2-3 food trays inside of one bag.
2) Reusable Containers: Last year, I used plastic baggies along with a plastic sandwich container and Thermos to pack my son's lunch. With three kids, those baggies add up (both environmentally and financially). This year, I've switched to the Divided Food Containers from EasyLunchboxes, which are BPA- and phthalate-free. They're safe for the refrigerator, microwave, freezer, and most importantly–the dishwasher. I also picked up some silicone baking cups at Michaels with a coupon, to use to divide foods in the large side of the container.
3) Stainless Steel Water Bottles: After doing some research, I think I've finally found a leakproof replacement for my kids' sippy cups. I bought these Thermos Funtainers on sale, and they have a straw instead of a regular top, so my kids are fine with them. By reusing them, I can stop buying juice- and milk-boxes, which will save money as well as reduce all that packaging from entering the environment.
4) Use Larger Product Packages: I was never a big fan of those single-sized cups of fruit, applesauce, etc.–unless they were on sale and I had a coupon, but now I can purchase very large cans and bags of our favorite foods/snacks and portion them into the Divided Food Container for single portions. By using a tiny square of plastic wrap over one of the smaller sections and securing the lid, you make a waterproof seal that keeps fruit juice from getting to the other foods. This way, I can use organic vanilla yogurt instead of that fluorescent-colored “kids” yogurt, pineapple in juice, and more.
5) Use up Dinner Leftovers: By getting a little creative and out of the sandwich rut, I've found new ways to use up leftovers of chicken, rice, and vegetables from our dinner meals. I love this gallery of lunch ideas. Simply by using a swizzle stick or toothpick, those bites of chicken and veggies become kabobs instead of leftovers! When the kids requested “Lunchables” while at the grocery store, we looked to see what was in it, then went home and came up with this version together (but with added fruits and vegetables):
By involving the kids and using a few small details (I used a small cookie cutter on the cheese), I've renewed their interest (and mine!) in packed lunches, all while saving money and helping the environment. What have you done to green your lunchbox?
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