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safe back to school lunches
For some, school has already started. For others, this next week will mark the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. If you’re like many parents, that means back to packing daily lunches to keep your kids healthy. So why not chat about some delicious nutrition for back to school! I cannot imagine sending kids to school where all the nasty processed food is served. Has to make a parent proud to know they are sending a meal that is good for their health and environmentally responsible. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has these suggestions on how to pack a safe back to school lunch.
Stockpile healthy recipes that work. Before you can think about what to put in the lunchbox, why not consult the experts? Collect a bunch of healthy, kid-popular ideas that you can rely on for those busy weekday mornings. When healthy ideas and ingredients are on hand, they’re far more likely to land in the lunchbox! We often turn to these resources:
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children, by Ann Cooper (aka The Renegade Lunch Lady) and Lisa M. Holmes. This gem includes great recipes as well as solid information on kids’ nutritional needs and suggestions (from personal experience) for improving school lunch programs.
The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet: Full of recipes to suit every age and stage, Laura Fuentes shows you how simple and easy it is to prepare food that’ll be the envy of the lunch table. The 200+ adorable and inspiring recipes in this book are just as much a joy to make as they are to eat! There are even entire lunchbox meals that are gluten-, soy-, and/or nut-free.
Reduce lunchtime waste. School lunches can generate lots of garbage, like any out-of-the-home meal. Go easier on the local landfill by sending lunch and snacks in reusable packaging and skip single-serve items. Some simple steps to limit your waste:
- Find non-toxic, reusable containers, like stainless steel lunch boxes. If you choose plastic containers, pick them carefully (plastics marked with a #1, 2, 4 or 5 don’t contain BPA and may be better options. Check out the EWG’s plastics tips) and wash them by hand — the dishwasher’s extreme heat can cause chemicals to leach. Try to avoid soft-sided plastic lunchboxes.
- Send tableware from home.
- Skip the straws — or go reusable if you must.
- Just say no to juice boxes.
- Get inspired and learn more at Waste Free Lunches.org.
Here are a couple waste reducing suggestions to get you back to school or work: