For many parents, the mention of rubbish free lunches can seem like just another thing to add to the stress of the ‘Back to School” experience. Clare Bear has got you covered (pun intended) and is here to help you out with some advice to make the whole rubbish free lunch easier and cheaper in the long run, and of course, better for our planet which is quite literally choking on our waste right now.
- Rethink the plastic
I get it, plastic seems like a cheaper option and it is easy to find, you can’t walk in to a shop at this time of year without literally tripping over a plastic food or drink container. I would be doing you a disservice, if I didn’t mention that those little plastic numbers are going to be around on this earth for quite a long time, and while they will still exist somewhere on our planet for another couple of thousand years at least, they are also likely to not be as useful; those little plastic hinges just don’t see to make it through the first term without breaking, let alone the school year, so if you do the maths, you are probably likely to buy a few of them throughout this school year, making them not as cheap as they might appear.
Then there is of course the whole BPA free thing, long story short, some scientific boffins studied this plastic and realised it messes with hormones, and we all know that hormones aren’t things that you want to mess with! So then we got BPA free plastic, but what does that mean? They replace one type of plastic that we know interferes with the way our body works and replace it with another type of plastic, the concern remains that the plastic that replaces BPA may not have been studied as much and we just don’t know if it is better or worse than BPA, A Scientific American article stated that some of the replacement plastic may mess with our hormones more than BPA. ARGHH!!, I know, so if this is something that concerns you, it might just be better to avoid plastic where you can.
My advice for what it is worth is to spend the extra money (I found Ebay to be the best value for money) and get a metal food container to transport lunches in, the bento style ones help reduce packaging waste further and the metal clips are more resilient and easy for little fingers to open.
- Forget the juice.
Forget the “poppers” and sugar filled drinks, either in their individual containers or in a plastic drink bottle (see point 1). Go for a metal drink container and fill it with water.
For those kids that seem resistant to drinking water, try adding some frozen fruit, like strawberries or orange segments to the water which will keep it cool and infuse the water with flavour. Again, I appreciate that this may seem like the more expensive option, but over the year it will be much cheaper than buying individual drinks and well you know … sugar!
- Nature’s has it’s own packaging.
Mother nature has got some things sorted out when it comes to rubbish free lunches. Vegetables, raw vegetables make a great addition to the lunch box; cherry tomatoes (I know, technically a fruit), celery, carrots, cucumber, broccoli, beans, sprouts, peas in the pod and capsicum.
Fruit; The possibilities here are endless, for the youngsters that haven’t quite mastered the peeling or prefer their fruit cut up, a Clare Bear Food Wrap will keep it all together and prevent browning.
The great thing about fruit and vegetables apart from being nutritional super stars are that they have their own packaging and any waste can go straight into the green bin or to feed the worm farm or the chooks; speaking of chooks, a hard boiled egg comes in it’s own biodegradable packaging and is a nutritional powerhouse; omega 3, vitamin D (if you don’t use cage eggs), and complete protein, they have it all!
You can make your own treats to send to school for a mere fraction of what it costs to buy them, if the kids have managed to work out how to use a smart phone or a remote control they can probably mix together the ingredients to make a batch of muffins or a slice, under your supervision while you are putting dinner together and are in the kitchen anyway.
Just like kids are more likely to eat vegetables they have grown themselves, they are also more likely to eat treats they have made themselves. Bargain Mums have a heap of great simple recipes, and is my go to when it is treat making time.
When it comes to packaging them you can use a compartment of your lunchbox or a Clare Bear Reusable Food Wrap folded into an origami style snack container, there are video instructions available here, this is an activity that kids love to do and is great for developing their fine motor skills.
Of course, there are always those times where baking treats for lunch boxes is just totally out of the question, don’t despair … in these circumstances buy big and pack small. Buy the larger packs of sweet or savoury biscuits and package them up in the individual serves using a Clare Bear Reusable Food Wrap folded along the edges to make a bag. If you do the maths, you’ll see those individually packaged snacks are much more expensive than the bigger versions as well as creating much more waste.
- It’s a Wrap
When it comes to sandwiches, rolls, wraps etc, a Clare Bear Reusable Food Wrap is all you need to banish plastic wrap from your lunch box.
Clare Bear Food Wraps are handmade in North East Victoria by infusing 100% cotton with a blend of beeswax from local bee keepers, sustainably sourced pine resin and fair trade organic coconut oil.
In between uses they can be washed in cool-to-warm water with a little mild soap, dried and stored ready for their next use. Clare Bear Food Wraps last around twelve months depending on how often they use them. Once they have finished their useful life you can recoat them yourself using Clare Bear Wax Resin Mix or dispose of them in the compost or green waste bin.
Just for a sandwich alone is around 50cm of plastic wrap, multiply that by five days a week, ten weeks in a term, four terms a year. That is 100m of cling wrap every year just by wrapping a sandwich. That works about to be around $10.00 and a large Clare Bear Reusable Food Wrap is $15.00 so for $5.00 more you can keep those plastic nasties away from your family and reduce your plastic waste (and the use of non-renewable resources to manufacture it in the first place) healthy family, healthy planet!
Some of my customers have asked about ‘sandwich pockets’; in order to make my product more sustainable, I like them to have as many uses as possible and a sandwich pocket can be somewhat limiting. Kids can fold their own sandwich pockets, this develops their hand eye coordination and fine motor skills and is also a lot of fun, all they need to do is watch this short video. Also, during the weekend and school holidays you can use the large wrap for other things.
Clare Bear Food Wraps are available for sale at Albury Wodonga Farmers Market at Hovell Tree Park and also online at www.clarebearfoodwraps.com. For the month of January, you can purchase the “Lunch Pack” of 1 large and 2 medium wraps in a fabric of your choice for only $25.00, a saving of $10. Use the large to wrap your sandwich, wrap or roll and the mediums for fruit, cheese or other snacks. Just use the code "back2school" at the checkout. We also have free delivery for orders over $50.00