Whether you’re headed to the office or sending the kids off to school, it’s easier than ever to take your green living values with you at lunchtime. Here are our top tips for minimizing waste, maximizing taste and keeping it real!
1. Pack It In Green. Gone are the days of the disposable, brown paper lunch bag! There are many cool reusable lunch boxes available, everything from wild colors to stainless steel to insulated choices that keep contents fresh. Lap Top Lunches’ offerings are brightly colored, BPA, lead and phthalate-free. www.laptoplunches.com To-Go Ware’s stainless steel options are sturdy and allow you to keep the sandwich safely away from the salad. www.to-goware.com.
2. Say No to Paper. Forget the paper napkin. Make it reusable cloth and make it fun. Machine washable, light-weight and cost-effective, reusable napkins are a green lunch essential. Check out options from www.reusit.com and www.thedailygreen.com, and for those with creativity, have the kids choose a fabric they like or, even better, personalize their napkin at www.sewaholic.net.
3. Bring the “Boys” Home. Reusable utensils now come in chic and eco-friendly bamboo and come with their own containers to keep them clean. The coolest options we’ve seen come from To-Go-Ware, www.to-goware.com. They’re great for that Saturday afternoon picnic too!
4. Drink it Green. Leave the juice boxes and bottled water behind and you’ll do your part to reduce the 2.7 million tons of plastic that’s used each year to make disposable water bottles. Instead, pick up a stainless steel (best for kids) or treated glass reusable bottle and fill it with your favorite drink, be it good old H2O or organic juice. Our favorite reusable bottles come from Klean Kanteen www.kleankanteen.com and Sigg www.mysigg.com.
5. Make It Organic. Choosing the best food to bring along to work or school can be as easy as shopping the organic aisle in the supermarket or visiting your local farmers’ market. Try cutting an organic apple in half and slathering the middle with organic peanut butter for a yummy, high-protein option. Organic foods are grown without chemical pesticides that have been linked to a host of health problems. Especially avoid non-organic foods that are among the “dirty dozen.” www.ewg.org/foodnews/
6. Bulk Up. Buying lunch items in disposable, single serving containers may seem convenient, but think about all that plastic you’re throwing away. Buying things like applesauce, chips and cut vegetables in larger containers is not only greener, it’s cheaper.
7. Green Your Treats. Going green in your packed lunch doesn’t mean foregoing the beloved end of meal treat. Fair-trade organic chocolates abound as do yummy, healthful treats for kids. Some of our favorites are Alter Eco Chocolates www.alterecofood.com (consider yourself warned about the addictive Dark Velvet) and Annie’s Bunny Grahams, which contain organic wheat flour, but no hydrogenated oils www.annies.com.
Enjoy! And please let us know what you like best about greening your lunch routine.