Just like you, I try to go green in every area of my family's life and my kids' school lunches are no exception. Still, there is no one size fits all green lunch solution and you really just need a few green tips to get you heading down the green living path to healthier back to school lunches for your kids and the planet and your pocket book.
You Can Save Money on Back to School Lunches
According to the results of a Lunchbox Waste Study completed by ECOlunchboxes, an average U.S. family spends about $400 extra on disposable lunchware and creates about 4,320 pieces of trash unnecessarily.
"There are multiple bottom lines," says Sandra Harris, a Lafayette, Calif. resident and Founder of ECOlunchboxes. "When we green our lunches, the environment and our pocketbooks are both winners."
Let's Learn and Save Together and Lay Off the Green Guilt if We Use a Baggie Once in a While
I am not perfect and I do have a box of baggies in my cabinet right now. The reality is, I use them sometimes. Still, I have a few tips to share that have really helped me pack greener lunches and save on the amount of disposables I buy.
Which Green Lunch Ideas Fit Your Lifestyle?
Here are my top 3 green tips that you can use the first day of school and all year long to help you pack your child a winning eco-friendly lunch.
- The Food - First and foremost it is important that you choose healthy foods for your little one's lunch. Your idea of healthy may differ from your kid's idea of healthy or even mine, but the rule around my house is, organic and non-GMO is the way to go.
- The Containers, Utensils and napkin- Let's face it, there are some foods that require a baggie but for the most part we really want to go plastic free. At our house, for food and drinks in lunches, we rely on stainless steel containers. Everyone in the family agrees that they are easy to use and eco-cred for the kids to show off at school. We also make use of organic paper bags, cloth bags from Mothering Mother and yes even glass sometimes. As far as the utensils, I have a ton of bamboo utensils and my girls just will not use them. I have some less expensive table settings I purchased just for lunches that are lead free and I try to remember to toss in a cloth napkin or a recycled paper napkin. I am still workign on giving up my paper goods but I have moved to recycled content. Nobody's perfect.
- The Lunch Bag - The lunch bag itself can be green in many ways. You want to use something that is lead free, toxic free, BPA free, PVC-free and vinyl-free. From there, look for recycled content and even organic lunch bags. There are lots of choices online and a good place to start is EcoLunchBoxes.
Check out my friend Micaela's blog carnival on Mindful Momma for more eco-friendly back to school tips!
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The Green PolkaDot Box! Backed by the Organic Consumer's Association and EnvironmentalBooty.com, you can easily buy NonGMO organic groceries, including Harvest Fresh Organic produce, at wholesale pricing online. It's like a Sam's club but focused on products for green, healthy living! You can even shop by dietary restrictions like gluten free, vegan or diabetic and it all comes right to your front door. Enjoy!