Be Cool, Go Litter-less
I have always believed that we don’t have to become hard-core environmentalists to make a difference. In my world, it has always been about making small changes to make this Earth one shade green. Gone are the days when sales associates gave you funny looks when you brought in your own reusable shopping bag (I do remember those days!). These days being green is cool, so I’d like to encourage you to be cool when going back to school!
Litter-Less Lunch Supplies
When picking a lunchbox, there a few things to consider:
• Size matters! Make sure all the reusable containers will fit into the lunchbox. For smaller kids – ensure that the lunch bag is easy to open and that it’s not too big so it could still fit into their knapsack with books and other treasures.
• Keep it cool! Most lunch eaters will require an insulated lunch bag. Don’t be fooled though by the type of insulation. The lunch bag doesn’t have to be lined with silver lining to have insulating properties. As long as it is made from thick material, the lunch bag will do the job. For food that needs to remain cool, finding an ice pack that will last until the lunch hour is important.
• Keep it smelling fresh! Machine-washable or dishwasher-safe lunch bag is a must for younger kids. There are so many cool things happening in the lunch room that sometimes lunch containers do not get closed properly creating a messy environment.
• Stay Organized! Multi compartments lunch bags work great for kids with multiple nutrition breaks, for separating hot and cold food, or for just keeping your lunch neatly organized.
Lunch Containers – Are your kids grazers? Do they like hot meals for their lunch? Do they like a sandwich + cut up vegetables? Do they always want something different?
• If you are at the beginning of your litter-less lunch making career, invest in a few containers at the start and add once you know what works well.
• Bento style is a trend and there is a good reason why. It allows you to offer a selection of foods in a divided container. Works great for kids that don’t like carrots touching cucumbers, etc.
• A thermal food container is a must for kids that like warm food for lunch. Make sure to warm the container with hot water prior to filling it with hot food.
• Forget the plastic baggies; there are so many great reusable snack & sandwich bag options out there!
Reusable Cutlery – Plastic forks do not have to be replaced with fancy silverware. There are so many great on-the-go options that are a lot more pleasant to use when enjoying a lunch on the go. Protect your lunch bag from holes by wrapping the fork in a reusable napkin unless your reusable cutlery has a carrying case.
• Make sure to buy a bottle that’s big enough or if refilling is easy on your daily trek you may buy a smaller bottle that will be easier to carry around.
• If cold water is important to you - an insulated bottle is the way to go. It will be more costly, but might be a worthwhile investment if you (and your kids) enjoy a cold drink on a hot summer day.
• If your kids drink milk or juice on the go, make sure the container is easy to clean.
Practical tips on how to have a lunch without waste:
• Write out a list of items that are suitable for your family’s lunches. Keep ideas handy! They are so useful on those hectic mornings when there are only a few minutes to make a lunch. I always have some quick options that I use on the days when the fridge empty. Packing a healthy cereal and milk is one of them!
• Get your kids involved! Some of my friends’ kids started putting their own lunches together since kindergarten. I still love making my son’s lunch (he is going into Grade 5) but his job is to empty his lunchbox at the end of the day and wash the containers.
• Label containers! Dishwasher-safe labels can get expensive so you could always order labels with your family’s last name and use it for the whole family.
• It is important that younger kids just starting school have a chance to practice using their lunch kits at least a couple of weeks before school begins.
• Don’t nag your kids about leftovers in their lunchboxes. Encourage them to listen to their bodies. Remind them that nourishing food helps them grow strong and healthy bodies, and helps their brain work well.
About the author: Jana Campbell is the founder of FENIGO.com, a Canadian company that sells everything for a litter-less lunch. We take pride in our great customer service, competitive prices and one of the greatest selections of litter-less lunch products in Canada! Our litter-less lunch stores (online and one brick-and-mortar location) have a considerable selection of drink containers; lunch, snack and dip containers, fashionable lunch boxes and lunch bags, travel mugs, reusable cutlery and straws; cloth napkins and a lot more. We source the most innovative products on the market to make packing litter-less lunches exciting!