Sunday, September 14, 2008

6 Tips for Garbage-Free Lunches

Sometimes I wish I didn't have a conscience because it would make life so much easier. I could shop at Wal-Mart for everything, send the kids with Luncheables to school, and not worry a bit about the amount of plastic that would enshrine everything I bought. But, alas, not only do I pack the kids a vegan lunch, I pack a garbage-free lunch. Here are a few tips:


1. A Little Baking Goes a Long Way: take an evening and bake some mini cookies or mini muffins to send for lunch. Pictured above are the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies from Veganomicon. 1 recipe yields 48 mini cookies (bake for 8 mins) which go into the freezer and are doled out each day. At 1 cookie a day for 2 kids, these last a month (with some left for me!).

2. Pack Fruit: Fruit has its own wrapper and none of the added stuff of fruit cups.

3. Buy Reusable Containers: Laptop Lunches make a great lunchbox system with reusable containers. Forget drinking boxes and go for a stainless steel mini thermos.

4. Make Your Own: This really ties into number 1, but anytime you make your own you avoid packaging. Trying making: hummus, bread, lunch meat, pudding cups, etc.

5. Get Second Hand Cutlery: Kids always lose stuff, so don't send them with you best silverware. Pick up forks and spoons at a local thrift store.

6. Bring Home Organic Waste to Compost: Landfills don't do a great job of breaking down organic waste. Best to have the kiddies bring their banana peels home for the compost pile.

14 comments:

Anne V said...

The great thing about these tips is that they are applicable to an office worker such as myself.

Does freezing the cookies change the texture? Do you reheat them to thaw them?

Vegan Dad said...

Freezing seems to have no discernable effect on the taste or texture of these cookies (I can't speak to other cookies). I just place a frozen cookie in a container and it thaws by the time lunch hits.

Lisa -- Cravin' Veggies said...

Great tips!!

I love packing lunches for work and school. My daughter said that her friends are always amazed by what she brings for lunch. And it definitely beats the processed garbage from the cafeteria. (Not that there is a veg*n thing to be found anyway-- aside from fries.)

I bought her a laptop lunchbox this year. She absolutely loves it! It was a bit expensive, but I figured that if/when she is done using it, I will!!

be'ershevaboheme6 said...

The other great thing about making all the food yourself? No gross preservatives that seems to be in EVERYTHING pre-packaged these days...

(btw I made and LOVED your veggie turkey lunch meat)

if you have a second, feel free to check out my blog at www.bokchoybohemia.com)

vegan addict said...

Awesome tips! You are a great inspiration to your children; it's smart to have them bring home compostable items from their lunches. Here's to hoping that your children set examples for their classmates!

Mrs. Pivec said...

"Sometimes I wish I didn't have a conscience because it would make life so much easier."

I can't TELL you how many times I have thought these very same words to myself. Cooking and baking for me are more a job for me than a hobby. Don't get me wrong; I enjoy discovering and trying new recipes, but I'd rather give my free time to my true hobbies like knitting, reading, etc. This fact usually shocks both friends and family members, because I'm in the kitchen so often. I tell them, "I don't love to cook, but I do love good food and there's only one way to get it and that's by me making it!" Believe me, if I had a husband who enjoyed cooking the way you do, it would be heaven for me! (My husband is awesome in his own right though!) :) I wouldn't give up EVERY night in the kitchen, but yeah, it would be pretty great...

Back here on earth, though, I greatly appreciate your blog and others that help me keep things interesting in the kitchen. While I don't send my kids to school (we do that here at home), we've got plenty of field trips that are always needing some fun ideas. Thanks so much for yours here. :)

Michelle said...

I JUST made those same cookies this weekend! All of those tips apply to my teacher husband since he is the one who leaves the house with a lunch every day. His lunch is always a leftover from a meal that week. I especially like number 5. He is prone to losing a lot of stuff;) We use a lot of recycled jars and cutlery.

mom said...

Garbage-free lunches have come a long way...no more re-using frozen pea bags!

Virginia said...

I have yet to try those cookies, but now I must. My 3 year old son goes to preschool two days a week and I always pack his lunch (of course) because the food at school is disgusting and not a vegan thing in sight. Thanks for the ideas!

Happy Herbivore! said...

here is another tip (although its more about saving time and money than waste). On Sunday nights I cook two pots of soup and then put them in 2 cup gladware containers. I also make 10 salads in gladware and put dressing in 10 small gladware, storing them both in the fridge. Then each morning I grab one of each (soup/salad/dressing) for my husband and I plus 2 pieces of fruit and our lunches are packed in less than 5 minutes.

It not only makes my life much less stressful, its affordable! Our lunches end up costing us very little money and I am content in knowing we're eating healthy food.

Plus its always better to have a "home cooked" meal in my opinion.

maria said...

I love the garbage free lunches.
Our kids school have competitions through out the year- they actually weigh all garbage and the class with the fewest ounces win a party-wastefree type of course!!

Deb Schiff said...

Excellent! You're right - a little baking DOES go a very long way. When I want to do something special for my husband, John, I pack in his lunch some vegan peanut butter cookies I made the night before. Love your blog!

lynn said...

Ok, so this is a bit off topic to packing lunches, but today my friend and I were scratching are heads at how depressing it is to live in the ol' U.S.A. (I know you're in Canada.) We came to that tried and true conclusion that we are only two people doing what we as individuals can do. Part of which is putting good energy out into the world, letting it land where it may. Well, you're blog does that and it lands on my computer screen everyday.

A better world starts with a packed lunch!

Ashley C. said...

My mom used to bake and freeze cookies when we were young and each day of school we got a little baggie of 3 cookies...oatmeal, chocolate chip, or snickerdoodle! I loved them and my friends were always jealous!