By Chef Centehua
Whether packing lunch for your child or yourself, reusable containers are a great way to make a difference in nutritional intake as well as the environment. It takes only a small initial investment and a little planning.
When making the transition from pre-packaged or cafeteria foods, it’s important to involve your child in the choice and purchase of a reusable lunch box that he or she likes. There are so many options available now, from cloth snack and sandwich bags to insulated soup containers, bamboo utensils and lunch sacks. Thankfully, the companies making cloth sandwich bags also make them in solid colors — perfect for teens and adults. We have information literally at our fingertips, so the transition can be a fun and creative process.
Give yourself time to collect the reusable containers you will need, making the transition stress free and fun. The containers should be BPA-, PVC- and lead- free. A green lunch is visually beautiful, and your child won’t get used to constantly having to throw away plastic containers and bags everyday. These items also make great gifts, thus encouraging your friends and family toward sustainability. (Being authentic is the best way to inspire others.)
Reusable lunch containers make a big difference when considering that the average child dumps 67 pounds of lunchbox trash a year. All those convenient pre-packaged, pre-boxed, and pre-wrapped foods and drinks create a lot of waste. Instead, buy food in bulk, which reduces packaging, saves money and allows healthier snack choices. Your child will be excited to use his or her new bags and boxes, and by keeping leftover snacks in their containers, your child can have them after school.
When my daughter started kindergarten, I packed her lunch in a basket with a cloth napkin, cloth sandwich bag, little stainless steel or Pyrex glass containers, and a stainless steel water bottle. I also did the same for mine, and noticed that making the switch from pre-packaged foods to real food sparked my creativity and made me get up a little earlier or plan the night before.
I also encourage you to fill up your containers with as many organic foods and drinks as possible, for this reinforces your support of ethical, sustainable farming practices that ensure not only your health but that of the environment. The rewards are eco-friendly, delicious lunches. My kids enjoy getting creative, filling their containers with goodies from homemade cookies, hummus, noodles with broccoli and sesame seeds, or soup and grilled cheese, to granola, fruit, celery, carrot sticks and nuts, etc… And I always pack water instead of juice. Making a
healthy lunch will encourage your kids to eat better and will inspire others. My 10- year-old enjoys eating out of her containers: naturally — that is what she is used to — so she doesn’t ask for those juice boxes or packaged cookies. I’m sure she will do the same for her kids one day.
Leading by example is the only way to really affect the next generation of consumers. My 15-year-old notices the waste produced at his high school and is making the choice to pack his own lunch in reusable bags and containers instead of giving in to vending machines and sodas. Even with the pressure of his peers who enjoy packaged snacks, he still chooses to snack on an apple and homemade baked goods; and his drink of choice is water. This has encouraged me because every effort has not been in vain. Your little ones truly are paying attention and soon will grow up to make conscious decisions to reduce their carbon footprint.
Every choice we make affects our environment and our health. Making your to- go lunch green is an easy way to eliminate plastics, reduce waste and do your part for a sustainable future. According to some estimates, more than 250 million tons of plastic are produced around the world each year and about 7 million tons of it end up in our oceans, not to mention the 12,000 – 24,000 tons that are swallowed by fish. The choice to make your lunch green is about connecting the dots and taking action by making socially responsible changes. The health of our planet depends on how much responsibility we take for ourselves and how we relate to our environment. It’s about thinking beyond our own needs and thinking globally. We can do our part to reduce waste with a little effort and creativity.
Here’s a few online sources :
http://www.laptoplunches.com/ http://www.reuseit.com/store/acme-bagsâ’¢-recycled-cotton-lunch-medium- p-968.html?osCsid=532cbd96e8608b961d7b2deaf9e52dd7
Local sources : http://obpeoplesfood.coop/ http://www.ecotopiia.com/contact-us/
Bring More Green with Your Child’s Lunch — Green Lunchbox
By Chef Centehua