Throughout my Elementary School, Middle School, and High School days, I rarely forgot to pack a lunch. Sure, my school’s cafeteria always provided options, but I’ve realized over time that my mother was quite revolutionary when it came to encouraging her children to make healthy choices.
While I have since traded my time swinging on the monkey bars before lunch to diligently working at the office, I still cook and bring my own food everyday, but not just because I miss my mom (and yes, I do miss her quite a lot), but because it is the most sustainable option. Here are some ideas for packing a sustainable school lunch for your back-to-schoolers.
4 Good Reasons to Pack a Healthy, Sustainable School Lunch
1. Packing a Lunch is Green
By eating already prepared foods and using reusable containers as often as possible, you are decreasing the amount of waste. Every year, millions of tons of plastic is used in packaging snacks and foods. Why not be part of that solution to the problem? While some snacks do conveniently come in to-go packs, do what you can within your means.
2. Packing a Lunch is Cheaper
Now instead of paying your child’s school to provide them with a hot lunch, you are cutting down the food bill by using what you have at home. Saving money will allow you to put those funds into other aspects of you life, like taking a vacation.
3. Packing a Lunch is Empowering
By going grocery shopping and planning lunches every week, it promotes the power of knowing what your child is eating. No more wondering what’s in that mystery meat! You will know you’ve provided the best possible meal.
4. Packing a Lunch is bonding
Making time to prepare food with your family promotes a sense of ownership and pride in the food that is eaten. It promotes a sense of love and community. It also encourages healthy eating habits at home which sets the tone for healthy eating throughout a child’s life.
5 Tips for Tasty Snacks to Pack
2. Pack foods that are grab-and-go! Think about packing foods that don’t necessarily require utensils. Maybe a healthy sandwich, foods that dip into hummus or guacamole well? What about some berries or rolled up cheeses and deli meats?
3. Include a treat! Don’t forget to splurge every once in awhile on a fun treat. My mom used to sneak in a cookie (or greek pastry) when I wasn’t looking. It was always a fun surprise to find a goodie.
5. Look for what’s in season! In the late summer, there are plenty of peaches and blueberries, but in the fall, you can use sweet potatoes to make homemade fries.
Two great snack companies:
For Gluten-free treats, try Dr. Lucy’s! These treats are addicting and are the perfect little sweet goodie to sneak in any kid’s (or adult’s lunch). I honestly would have never guessed that they were gluten -free since the majority of my experience with gluten-free cookies ends in a pretty ‘crummy’ experience. These cookies reminded me of ones my grandmother used to make. I was pleasantly surprised.
For All Natural Snack, Check out Funley’s Delicious Wholly Granolly Clusters. They are light, tasty and a satisfyingly crunchy addition thing to pack in any kid’s lunch.
Check out Bon Appetit for some yummy recipe ideas! Their pictures are mouth-watering.