Back to school means school lunches! In our house we have a 5 year old Food Hero (she’ll try it, but she often just doesn’t like it), whose tastes are not reliable. When I took these photos she decided she didn’t like yogurt covered raisins anymore (cause raisins are on the outs, at least for now). With her finicky ways, I’m trying to get her more involved in preparing her own school lunches in the hopes of reducing packaging waste and preventing food waste.

10% of what you pay for a product is packaging. So if you’re grabbing the individually bagged snacks you’re paying more, creating more waste, and have less actual product.  Buy in bulk to sample new things (like yogurt covered raisins) that way you can dial in something they love – at least for now – then buy a full jars worth in the bulk aisle next time. They can help the night before scooping the snacks into small reusable bags, saving you time in the morning and building up their independence.

I recently found Bumkins reusable snack bags, and they were well made, easy to clean and relatively affordable. You can also sew your own reusable snack bags or fuse plastic bags to recycle disposable products into a waterproof fabric to turn into snack bags.

It’s not a zero waste lunch. I still put in individually wrapped fruit leather, because the only way around that is to make my own, (I plan to try this soon while fruit is dropping off trees all over my neighborhood!).  And often food comes back uneaten and goes into the trash, to the dog, in the compost, or to future smoothies. (Example A: apples).

What are your zero waste school lunch tips?

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