Sustainable Lunch Packing / by Elizabeth Ellman

Packing lunches can be a time-consuming and sometimes stressful task, especially for families with small children. We often trade our eco-conscious principles for convenience and speed. But with a few simple swaps, we could be preventing a lot of waste from ending up in the landfill and teaching our children how to care for themselves and the world around them.

Step 1 (for everyone): Say Goodbye to Waste

Goodbye: zipping snack/sandwich bags

Hello: reusable bags (like these) or beeswax food wraps (like these)

Goodbye: individually bagged/contained snacks

Hello: buying in bulk and filling reusable containers (like these)

Goodbye: juice boxes/pouches

Hello: reusable water bottles

Goodbye: plastic ware

Hello: compostable or traditional utensils

Goodbye: throwing food scraps away at work/school

Hello: bringing it home for your compost bin (don’t have one yet? register here)

Step 2 (for families): Delegate

Children as young as five can begin packing their own lunches, and many of the tasks completed will be building fine motor skills and increasing brain development with cross-body actions, like holding bread still with one hand and spreading peanut butter on it with the other. It saves time only in the short-term for parents to pack their children’s lunches. Putting in an extra ten minutes a day now will save you from ever having to pack another person’s lunch again!

So take the challenge. Teach your child to pack his or her own lunch. Pack yours at the same time and start a conversation about eating healthy and protecting the earth. This could become a beloved part of your bedtime or morning routine.