Back to School: Packing a Litter-less Lunch

Posted on August 30, 2015

It's that time of year...back to school! Did you know that a student's lunch waste can add up to over 30 kgs/school year? That can add up to thousands of kgs per school each year.

While stocking up on school supplies, we'd encourage you to also buy some supplies for your child's lunchbox, too, With all kinds of great, dishwasher safe, affordable re-usable options now available, there's no need for disposable anything! Buy a re-usable set of 5 (don't forget the cutlery) and use these great tips to help you pack a healthy lunch that will actually save you money and provide even the pickiest eaters with something yummy and nutritious in their tummies:

1. Get the kids involved from an early age: Sure it may be faster to pack lunches yourself, but taking some time on the weekend in prep for the next week can help your children take ownership of what goes into their lunch (making it more likely that they'll eat what's packed!) and allows for great quality time with your kids, measuring, pouring, and making good food choices.

2. Avoid single-serve containers and pouches: Buy a big jar of apple sauce or yogurt and get your kids to help pour into small re-usable containers on the weekend for the next week. The same can be done with dry goods like crackers, nuts, etc. And buying in bulk will help save money, too!

3. Use leftovers: Who says lunch has to be boring old sandwiches and a banana? If you have leftovers from a dinner that your kids loved, and it can be eaten cold or at room temperature, pack them in your re-usable lunch containers the night before while you are putting those leftovers away. And you're all ready for the next morning!

4. Cut up fruit for the week: If your child is anything like mine, an apple gets boring fast. Since we eat with our eyes, selecting fruits that your children love (fruits in season will taste best) and cutting them into easy bite size chunks will make it more likely that they'll eat them. Keep portions reasonable - you know how much your child can eat - and avoid putting other sweet things in their lunch pack so that fruit is the dessert. Some fruits do better packed ahead - blueberrles, melons, and oranges - while some can only be packed a day or two ahead - raspberries, strawberries, etc.

5. Cheese and crackers: Avoid the pre-packaged, pre-made "cheese snacks". Buying a block of cheese, cutting into bite size portions and having your kids help pack them on the weekend, will save money and avoids preservative laden alternatives. Also, make sure to avoid putting crackers in the same container as they can get soggy from the cheese.

6. Edible veggies: You know best what your child will eat. Cutting up bulk veggies into "snack sizes" that stay crisp, retain their flavour, and that your kids enjoy is important - carrots, celery and sugar snap peas are great options and ensure they are small enough for little hands and little mouths to eat. Avoid those pre-portioned packs you see in the grocery store. They are usually pretty flavourless (have you tried them?) and can be expensive.

7. Set a great example: By packing your own workplace litter-less lunch, you're setting an amazing example for your children and practicing what you preach. And you'll be saving money by packing your own lunch, too! Check out or the kitchn for some inspiration to nourish yourself with something quick and delicious.

Employing just a 2 or 3 of these tips will help reduce a lot of waste from going into our landfills, help your child enjoy a nutritious lunch they will actually eat and save a bit of money for your family, too. Got tips of your own to share? Please tweet and facebook us!