Every time I pack my kids’ lunches, I feel like I’m poisoning the planet. Ugh, the plastic baggies; it depresses me how many I use.
Until recently, that is.
Last month I asked babble readers for advice on packing in a more eco-friendly way. I got such good suggestions – not just snack containers, but lunch boxes, BPA-free plastic bentos, and reusable sandwich bags.
The obvious dividend of this was that I feel much less guilty about The Pack in general. The not-so-obvious dividend? I’ve found myself a new system: I spread out my containers on the counter before I clean up dinner, then find it’s easy to just scrape stranded veggies or chicken pieces into my army of sturdy containers (never possible with amorphous bags). So it saves the planet and it saves me time.
Here are my favorites:
Everything has a home with these plastic bento boxes (no phthalates, BPA, or lead) that fit into a little “laptop bag.” Each box is marked with an icon (fruit, sandwich, etc) and there is even a tiny box which I used for their ginger dip (a.k.a ginger dressing.) Though the kids weren’t thrilled by the simple design (“Where’d my Hello Kitty go?”), I found myself using it for all kinds of things beyond schooldays – road trips, picnics, etc.. ($39)
Kids Konserve makes a lot of great earth-friendly lunch products, but I grew particularly attached to these nesting tins. I found them to be perfect receptacles for leftover salads and stews as well as fresh fruit and carrot sticks. The best part: kids can store one inside the other when they’re finished. ($26)
Reusable Sandwich Wraps and Cozies
Just having these spread out on the counter waiting for me made me feel better about things. There are a ton of companies out there making these – but I liked the ones that are aware those that kids like things to be fun.
The best value and super easy to clean. (Set of 5, $25)
My girls liked this one because of its easy-to-seal Velcro – and because it was pink. ($10 for one)
Handcrafted from beeswax, cotton, and hemp blend. ($20 for one)
Kids can choose from (among others) rockets, stripes, mermaids. ($5.50 for one)
As one reader pointed out, it’s amazing how much you can fit into these efficiently compartmentalized (and BPA-free) plastic containers. Nothing ever leaks or spills out of its assigned space. And best of all, it’s super easy for the kids to open and snap shut. ($5)
I have bought a lot of bento boxes in my short life as a mother, and I’ve also had to replace a lot of them. These lunchbots feel similar in size and shape to bentos, but are durable and compact, with one divider in the middle. I know it’s the last one I’ll ever have to buy :until my kid leaves it in the lunchroom. ($17)