Pack Lunch – Making Time

Back To School Pack Lunch
It’s that time of the year again were we are all busy buying new school uniforms, school shoes, stationary and finding that dreaded smelly P.E kit at the bottom of their school bags. (that could only be my teenage sons habit, not putting P.E kit in the washing basket at the end of the July term)
As all of us are very aware that the food our children eat at lunch time during the school day will depend on how well they perform during the afternoon lessons.  But like many parents I have never really realised how many secret ingredients that are not healthy for my children go into what I thought was a healthy pack lunch I was making for them.
Here are my 8 essentials in packing a healthy pack lunch with Zero Waste
Packed lunch:  Parents giving children unhealthy packed lunches research finds.
Photo taken From The Telegraph
1) Pack Lunch Box – Start with a good pack lunch box that can hold everything your child is going to eat, BPA-free and easy to clean.
Smart Planet EC-34 Large 3-Compartment Eco Silicone Collapsible Lunch Box,
Smart Planet have created a fun lunch box made from silicone and biodegradable Eco Plastic. This pack lunch box has been  made to hold anything from a sandwich to last night’s leftovers and even soup. Then when not in use Simply compress it to 1/3 of the size so that it is easy to carry and store. (There are many more eco friendly pack lunch boxes out their on the market)
Shopping List
2) Make a list – I go through my cupboards and fridge to see what can be used for they pack lunch, like left over pasta from the night before or the organic raisins I have left over from my baking. I place a list of these things on my fridge to remind myself when I am writing out my shopping list.  (On this list I may also also put any ingredients I have that can make some delicious treats for their pack lunch and what it is I am going to make) This makes writing my shopping list so much easier and reduces the food waste in our home.
Vegetables are a healthy source of fiber and potassium.
3) Plan ahead as much as you can  – Chopping vegetables to go into their lunch box can be done at the beginning  of the week. I chop enough carrots (as that’s the only vegetable my children will eat raw)  on Sunday evening and place them into my glass Kilner jar and then store the jar in my fridge. (Although half way through the week I do end up cutting up some more because I end up raiding the carrot jar for my own lunch) Also pack as much as you can the night before. I find this saves on a some of the stress in the morning while trying to get the children ready for school.
4) Sandwiches are are pretty straight forward and easy to make with ham and cheese bought from my local deli or chicken left over from the roast the night before. I don’t wrap our sandwiches in cling film as cling film can not recycled so I use brown paper bags which than can be composted after they have been used or if I have run out of brown paper bags I use either tinfoil that can be recycled or re-usable plastic pots.
5) Left Over Food – At least once a week I make a pasta dish for our evening meal and there is always some of our it left over. (I can never seem to judge how much pasta to cook) But instead of placing this left over pasta in the fridge and forgetting that it there and then end up throwing the left overs  in the rubbish, I dish the left over pasta in to two re-usable containers and add them to the children’s pack lunch box for the following day instead of giving them sandwiches.  Re-using left overs for pack lunch can also be done with other meals too, like rice dishes, sausages etc….. This a great way to reduce the food waste in our house and also fill my children up with a healthy meal at lunch time.
6) Yogurt and Fruit Puree –  I have found over time, buying individual small pots of yogurt or the kids tubes of yogurt my children end up not eating it all and I end up with having lots of small yogurt pots in my recycling bin. (The tubes you can not put in the recycling bin so they end up in normal rubbish adding to land fill.)  Also one of my children is not overly keen on eating fruit unless the fruit is mixed with something else. The solution to these two problems I have found is making my own fruit puree, which can me made in large batches and then frozen in pots in the right quantity that is needed for each dessert. (Just take the pots you need out of the freezer the night before so they are all defrosted by the following morning.)  To solve the yogurt problem I buy large tubs of natural yogurt and spoon the amount that each child will eat on top of the fruit puree. I then pop these into their pack lunch and in one dessert they have their yogurt and fruit.  Buying big tubs of yogurt saves you money because the yogurt goes further but also reduces the amount of plastic waste going into my recycling bin. For some great recipes on making your own puree please visit http://www.healthyfoodforliving.com/diy-fruit-on-the-bottom-yogurt-cups
7) Cake – There is always cake or biscuits in our house because I have a terrible sweet tooth. Although it is really convenient to buy cake and biscuits from your local supermarket they are packet with loads of sugars which are not good for children.(or adults).  Baking your own is a much better, healthy alternative and contrary to popular belief that baking takes up a lot of time, I bake large batches of cakes and biscuits in advance and then separate the batch up into re-usable zip bags and freeze,  so I always have cake to hand.  At Roxanas Home Baking website she has loads of different easy cake bars and biscuit recipes that are great to put into my children s pack lunch.

Image Taken From http://www.inhabitots.com
8) Refillable Drinks Bottles – Not only does a refillable drinks bottle save me loads of money as  buying lots of individual drinks that already have juice made up in them are extremely costly.  They also reducing the amount of plastic we are using and I can monitor what sugar levels are  in the drink my children take to school.  The drink I fill these bottles up with varies on what we have in the house so on some days they may have watered down fresh fruit juice or on other days they may just contain water.
What tips do you use to make sure your child has a healthy zero waste pack lunch box?

 

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