By Hannah Schenker
Are your kids lunchboxes a little lacklustre? Have you let convenience get the better of you with ready-to-eat packaged “food”? Are you worried about the amount of waste coming out of your kitchen and your child’s lunchbox? Ready to make some changes? Here are 6 simple ways to make a more sustainable lunchbox that is better for your child’s health and that of the planet.
Choose the container
Reusing plastic containers is something many of us do, rather than throwing them all away. But do you know what’s in those plastics? Look for a good, food-safe BPA-free lunchbox. A reusable lunchbox that your child can safely eat directly from, rather than needing pre-packaged or wrapped foods. Bubbalooz have a large range of both lunchboxes and insulated lunch bags that your child can happily eat from without worrying about the chemicals leaching from the plastics and into their sensitive wee bodies. Aside from reducing the chemical load on your child, you will also be creating less waste, as you can pop foods directly into the food containers.
If you’re going to wrap, wrap wisely
These days there are great ways to wrap your food items without the need for plastic or foil wraps. Beeswax wraps are ideal for those things that you just want to tuck in nicely – you just warm the wraps in your hands until they are malleable, wrap the food item and later on just rinse or wash with water and reuse.
The food itself
Time is precious, we know, but pre-packaged convenience foods are generally highly processed which of course comes with its own environmental and health impacts. Organic, unprocessed, seasonal, locally-grown and fresh lunchbox foods are what you really want your child to be eating – and simple can be the best option. A water bottle instead of a juice box, make a quick homemade sandwich instead of using processed meat and cheese packs, and of course fresh cut fruit for easy snacks. There is so much out there on the internet on simple, healthy lunch ideas for kids, so just spend a little time researching and preparing – then its super quick and easy on the day.
Get friendly with your local greengrocer or make a regular thing out of visiting the market to stock up on healthy fruits and vegetables. Where possible, choose organic – especially when it comes to the “dirty dozen” – the worst offenders in terms of pesticide residues.
Get the kids involved
No doubt your children already eat healthily, but if you’re struggling to get them into this more simple way of eating, it may take a little time to introduce it. A great way to get them into eating a wide variety of foods is to involve them in the process. Invite them to help choose what fruits and vegetables to try, involve them in the food-making processes when you can, and offer them plenty of options to choose from.
If your child’s school doesn’t have its own composting system and you do, encourage your kids to bring home whatever they haven’t eaten so you can compost it. A compost doesn’t have to be a huge deal and is something you can do even with a small outdoor space, regardless of whether you plan to use it in your garden. You can teach your child about food waste in the process!
What are your children’s fave healthy lunchbox foods? Share in the comments below to inspire other parents!
Hannah Schenker is a freelance writer, editor and regular contributor to The Natural Parent Magazine. She lives with a touch of magic in Golden Bay, New Zealand.