How to Pack a Green and Healthy School Lunch

It always amazes me how fast summer ends. Kids are heading back to school next week in parts of the country and there are some great things you can get to “green” your kids lunches:

Lunch box. Old Navy actually has some awesome metal lunchboxes, my daughter has a Hello Kitty “Go Green” one. Do not use a plastic one but a metal one or one made of recycled materials (follow the link for some cool bags).

Drinks: Do not waste money and resources by purchasing juice or milk boxes. Think of the packaging: Plastic straws, the plastic they wrap it in and the actual container. You can save money and control what they drink by putting your kids drinks in a reusable water bottle. For those of you who read my blog regularly you probably feel like this is a broken record but it makes a HUGE difference. This is one of the best things you can do for the environment. Klean Kanteen is king at our house we have a few in different colors!!! Be sure to pick stainless steel bottles not alumium (many alumium bottles have a thin plastic coating inside the bottle)

Utensils: Pack utensils for them. I carry a set around with me in my purse and it really helps me be green on the go. It is just as easy to put them into the dishwasher at night with the dinner dishes, their food containers, and their reusable water bottle.

Napkins: Pack a cloth napkin. Some kids may not go for this one… but see how they feel about it. Being green is in right now so they might be game for it. If you are crafty make them cool ones that their friends will be jealous of here is a great tutorial from The Purl Bee!

Containers: Do not put food in plastic anything (bags, containers…etc.). Find a reusable container to put these items in. I prefer the glass (check with your school to see if they have a “no glass” rule) and stainless steel containers. I use Lunchbots because even the tops are stainless steel and they last forever. Feel like you cannot part from the plastic bag? Go on Etsy and search for reusable lunch bags, there are so many amazing people there making cute bags for kids. If you eliminate plastic bags for an entire school year you have saved 180+ plastic baggies from the landfill and our ocean.

Food: I highly recommend The Lunch Box: Loaded with Fun, Healthy Meals to Go. It is a great book with tons of great recipes. I really love this book! The recipe for banana bread is perfect and they have so many other great ideas. I recently let my daughter flip through it and pick things out. The pictures are perfect.

Note: My Mom never did this but I am sure I will do it when my kids are old enough to read or at least appreciate my doodles! Paint the inside top of the lunch box with chalkboard paint and doodle something everyday, it does not always have to be lovey dovey it can be funny like a joke, random fact or some silly short story about when you were in school!

My most important recommendation is to buy a double set for each kid if you can. Sometimes your dishwasher just is not full at night or you forget. The fastest way to stop being green is to be lazy, it is commitment, so to meet yourself halfway if you get two of what you need and you will not have trouble sticking to it. Honestly you will save a ton of money in the long run.

Buy them organic and locally grown food. Even if it is just for a few weeks try to get to the farmers market before they go away for the winter and get some locally grown food.

Avoid prepackaged food. If you are going to give your kids pre-made food like Oreos buy the larger container and put an individual Oreo in a reusable bag. Beside the obvious packaging issues for the environment, think of your kids health.

My usual Lunchable rant: Really read the label of a Lunchable… it is a disgrace and we wonder why kids have health problems… Sorry I have VERY strong opinions about Lunchables you can easily make a healthier lunchable with a stainless steel lunch bot or bento box anyway!

Photo’s courtesy of Daily Voice, Kleen Kanteen,, Go Lightly, Design Sponge, and Amazon.

Follow me on twitter @greenforu or Like me on Facebook Green4u blog


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