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.