Green Mom’s Best Products for a Waste-Free Lunch

pottery barn kidsOne of the first things I did when I started trying to Go Green was to pack waste-free lunches for my kids. It seemed pretty easy and, to be honest, it saved money. Five years later, I’m still aiming for a waste-free lunchroom, though I’ve been known to toss in a juice pouch or squeezable applesauce from time to time.

It’s much easier to get an adorable second grader to eat from a Thermos than to “completely humiliate” your seventh grader with a Bento Box, so I’ve made some adaptations along the way. But even if I send an individually packaged smoothie with my middle schooler from time to time, I’m hoping that the key lesson about conservation has still made its way into his consciousness.

Here are a few of my time-tested favorite products for a waste-free lunch:

Foogo Thermos—I’m embarrassed to admit this, and my youngest would be totally grossed out if she knew, but we have been using the same water bottle for five years and have passed it down twice! I bought replacement straws, but it has been working perfectly since I bought it from Target in 2009. It’s easy use, easy to wash and easy to buy new straws when needed. Just toss it in the backpack and Foogo about it!

Kidz Konserve Nesting Trio—I love, love, love these stainless steel food containers. They’re great for yogurt, fruits and veggies, crackers and more. They come in three sizes, nest for easy storage, and the lids fit tightly but are easy to get on and off. I’ve had these for several years, too!

kidz konserve

LunchBots—These stainless steel containers are my go-to on most days because the duos perfectly fit a half sandwich on one side and fruit or pretzels on the other. The paint has worn off over time, but the containers still work well for the types of lunch foods my kids prefer. On the days I’m sending leftovers or something that needs to be warmed up, I use glass containers with a plastic, snap-on lid. Otherwise, I’m grabbing the LunchBots.

lunch bots

Pottery Barn Kids—Newer to our lunch boxes, but equally fabulous, are some stainless steel containers from Pottery Barn Kids. The square shape and unique sizes work well for my oldest child (full-size sandwiches and wraps in the large one, pretzels in the rectangular one, grapes in the cube, and hummus or dip in the tiny one). The lids are easy to work with, and these seem to wash a little better than the LunchBots. I also love the reusable ice packs from PBK—they come in lots of fun shapes and colors!

pbk2

When I started packing waste-free lunches, I knew that the supplies were an investment, but I had no idea they would last this long. There have been a few items that didn’t work out, but over time we found our favorites and they have definitely paid for themselves. We’ve fallen into an easy routine of washing and reusing them every day, and the kids have learned the value of conservation. Over the years, they’ve explained to many curious classmates why they bring reusable containers too. Isn’t the elementary school lunchroom is the perfect place for that conversation to begin?

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