Lunch box ideas – that are eco friendly.

There are many small actions that we can effect on a daily basis that will have a big impact on the planet’s sustainability. All it takes is a moment of mindfulness in choosing the right options. We all want convenience, but it is time to look at the bigger picture and realise that we have to change our ways and acknowledge the fact that each of us is responsible for the damage we are doing to the planet with the mass consumption of plastic.
Here are some tips to make your kids’ lunch preparation more Eco-friendly.

1. Re-usable beeswax food wraps
These are made from a coated fabric, most commonly cotton and infused with food-grade beeswax, rosin and coconut or jojoba oil. They are the best alternative to aluminium foil and cling film – which are chemically based. Children will love them as they come in super cute prints. The food wraps are ideal for almost any food item as they are flexible and easy to shape around bread, fruit, biscuits, etc. If proper care is taken, they can last up to 12 months.

2. Bento boxes
Bento boxes are becoming extremely popular and for good reason. They are made of 100% biodegradable material, such as wheat straw or rice husk and without any chemical additives. They are leak-proof, air-tight and can go in the dishwasher and microwave. The best thing about them are the compartments. Some have up to 5 different compartments, perfect for kids who like variety in their lunch. You can combine sandwiches, fruit and snacks in the same container.

3. Zipper bags
If you cannot do without a bag, the best alternative to plastic or paper bags are the innovative silicone zipper bags, highly durable and endure all kind of temperatures without melting, cracking or degrading. Silicone is derived from natural material and therefore is non-toxic. They are also microwave and dishwasher safe. Silicone is not biodegradable but they are re-usable over the long term and can be recycled at the proper facility.

4. Insulated food jars
To keep food warm for your kid’s lunch, try an insulated food jar. They are like small thermoses, compact, light-weight and keep food warm for 5-7 hours. You can find insulated food jars with your child’s favourite cartoon character or other cool designs.

5. Bamboo cutlery
Re-use your cutlery and save waste! Bamboo is one of the most sustainable organic materials as it is a fast-growing grass, requires no fertiliser and self-regenerates from its own roots without the need of being re-planted. Moreover, bamboo cutlery is safer in the hands of kids and can be easily washed and re-used over a long period of time.

6. Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Most of that which is good for the planet is also good for the body. The chemicals of plastic seep through water bottles quickly, therefore we have to discard and replace plastic bottles frequently, generating a lot of useless trash that will take hundreds of years to decompose. Stainless steel does not have any BPA and can serve a life-time.

7. Fresh is best
Resist the temptation to buy pre-packed food items, such as muesli bars, cheese sticks, biscuits, etc, as these are generally always wrapped in plastic. Switch to fresh fruit, and home-made cookies. You would not only stop contributing to waste pollution but you are also giving your children healthier options.
There are many positive outcomes that you would be contributing to just by not sending plastics and excess packaging to school with your child every day. You are reducing waste going to landfill, you are sending an indirect message to manufacturers who use plastic by choosing not to buy from them; and you are protecting marine life and the entire eco-system of our planet.

The best way to instill the concept of sustainability in our children is by giving the good example and their school lunch packaging is the perfect occasion to do so. After all, our efforts for a healthier planet is for their own benefit. Our actions today will determine the future of our kids tomorrow.

Monique Chambers
Monique Chambers

Monique started indulge in 2011 and has since created Indulge Me GIFT and Indulge Me FOOD and volume 1 of The Artists Directory - Malta. A marketing professional by trade, Monique's passion is to promote local talent and Malta in general. Free time is her biggest indulgence, when she can tinker in her craft room or the kitchen, or be selfish with a book, the sofa and good glass of wine (of course, wearing something beautiful and with freshly coiffed hair!)